A couple months ago, the WSL announced a partnership with Airbnb that would "bring unique and local surf Experiences to travelers across the globe, marking the first time the WSL has entered the experiential travel and leisure market."
If this is your first day on planet earth and are not familiar with Airbnb, the platform allows you to rent rooms, apartments or houses from regular people. It also allows you to sign up for "Experiences"--activities like walking tours, bike rides, and yes, even surf lessons, also organized by locals. According to the WSL's press release, surfing is apparently one of the most popular "experiences" on the platform, and now, thanks to the partnership, there are over 75 different wave-riding-related activities you can sign up for all around the world.
Sure there are a bunch of your standard learn-to-surf options. But, interestingly enough, there are actually legit pros and shapers you can take surf or shaping lessons from. Did you know you can hone your cuttie with former-'CTer Brett Simpson? Yes, apparently that's a thing.
Will you go from soft-topper to 'QS warrior after your WSL/Airbnb "experience"? Probably not. Do they provide you with a moderately-high-thread-count towel, like many Airbnbs, for after your session? Also doubtful. Find out what does come with each "experience" with a notable surfer in our roundup below:
Technique Critique with Brett Simpson
Want tips from a former ‘CTer and U.S. Open champ? Want to see what the Hurley Surf Club is all about? Then check out Simpo’s Airbnb page. Gotta be 10 years and older to be coached by Simpo, though.
Where: Huntington Beach
What you'll do (according to the listing): "Meet at Hurley's marquee store in Pacific City mall. Check out the vast selection of Away Co boards on site to book. Find the right length board for your size and skill level.
We will assess the conditions and get a overview [sic] of all the local breaks in HB. Learn insider tips about the best Huntington Beach has to offer.
We’ll surf for 1 hour with in-water coaching. I’ll talk to you about techniques to help progress your surfing such as wave choice, positioning, and tips on maneuvers. After surfing, we’ll have a post-session coaching at Hurley Pac City. This includes footage analysis. You’ll leave ready to take your surfing to the next level!"
Duration: 2 hours
Improve your Cuttie with Oliver Kurtz
Barrel-chasing freesurfer Oliver Kurtz grew up along the Florida coastline, but now resides in LA (when he’s not chasing swells all around the world). A plus side to Kurtz’ lectures is that he supplies boards if needed, wetties, towels and even snacks. What a guy.
Where: Santa Monica
What you’ll do (according to the listing): “Meet me in the heart of California surf culture in Santa Monica. We'll assess the ocean conditions early morning over fresh coffee at DogTown Coffee and make a decision of where to surf!
We'll then head out to find the best waves the area has to offer while meeting the needs of your ability (LA has waves to suit beginners & challenge lifelong experts). While we surf I’ll be giving tips and techniques to help improve. Sometimes a small, simple tweak can improve your surfing drastically, so I’ll help with this!
While we surf, I’ll be shooting Video & photo highlights from the day, so you can share the adventure with your friends and family. When we’re surfed out, we’ll head back home on the famous Pacific Coast Highway and you can enjoy the view.”
Duration: 3.5 hours
With a big-wave surfer on the roster, you might be thinking this lesson involves guns and oversized outer reefs. But Skudin’s offering classes in foilboarding rather than conquering avalanches of water. He supplies the board and the foil, so if you find yourself on the East Coast and want to try out the newest craze, Skudin’s page is calling your name.
Where? Long Beach, New York
What you’ll do (according to the listing): “I’m an adventurer! I love all things ocean and this experience is all about learning new ocean activities or exploring and searching for the best waves in NY. This session is fully customizable to the conditions of the day. Foil, Surf, SUP or more! Open to requested weekdays as well. Believe it or not NY has some amazing wave options if you want to chase it!
I have all the right toys we need – all types of surfboards – foil-board, wetsuits, and a jetski if needed! We’ll meet up in the morning and assess the day’s conditions, and either chase swell to surf or suit up, and head out for a learn to foilboard session. It’s usually best to get towed behind a ski to learn at first so I’ll walk you through how to do this properly. You’ll learn techniques to help stand up in no time. If conditions tell us to just go find good surf, we can do that too!
New York is my home and the ocean is our playground!”
Duration: 3 hours
Shred Cape Town with Matt Bromley
Matt Bromley’s a big-wave surfer from South Africa (you may have seen the hellman throw himself over supersized ledges in his series “Risky Ripples”). Bromdog’s lessons are on the more affordable side and take place in and around Cape Town.
Where? Cape Town
What you’ll do (according to the listing): “We will head out to surf the best conditions Cape Town has to offer on the day, at a surf break most appropriate to your skill level.
I’ll give you a brief coaching session on the most important things to work on and then we will paddle out for some fun. I’ll be surfing with you and helping you to work on things like better paddling, technique and ocean awareness.”
Duration: 2 hours
Longboarding Lessons with Karina Abras
If you find yourself in Brazil and would like to work on your longboarding technique, check out Karina Abras’ Airbnb page. Abras is a three-time Brazilian Longboard Champ and has a lot of experience in surf coaching.
Where? Florianópolis, Brazil
What you’ll do (according to the site): “Florianopolis is the home to some of the best surf in Brazil! This is why there are so many great surfing professionals that grow up here. There is a wide variety of waves in the region and we’ll have you surfing during the best conditions.
We'll meet at the shop Easy Surf located at Joaquina Beach. My goal is to teach groms, young competitors, and intermediate surfers to improve their athletic performance by providing instant video feedback and analysis. This is how the good surfers become better! We'll have theory lessons covering every aspect of surfing including swell forecasting, board design, etiquette and judging.”
Duration: 2 hours
Lessons with Chris Moore (Carissa’s Dad)
Okay, so Chris Moore isn’t exactly a pro surfer–but he did father one and has spent the past 20 years coaching Carissa and her sister. If he’s had any influence on Carissa’s technique, he probably knows what he’s doing.
Where? Honolulu, Hawaii
What you’ll do (according to the listing): “My surf experience will cater to clients on several different levels, from beginner to advanced. I will match your surfing ability level to a surfing location that is right you, whilst keeping in mind a safe and professional experience. We will start out by talking about the break and a good place to sit in the line up. During your hour surf I will swim out to the break and give you tips while watching your waves. I’d also share stories/experiences that relate to Carissa’s surfing wherever we’re at on the island.”
Duration: 1.5 hours
Learn to Surf with Damien Fahrenfort & Luke Stedman
This experience is more for the person just getting their feet in the wax. Both Fahrenfort and Stedman are LA transplants and ex-competitive surfers (Fahrenfort spent some time on the ‘QS and Stedman had a 7-year run on Tour before starting a clothing brand).
Where? Marina del Rey
What you’ll do (according to the listing): “Our main goal is to get you up and riding on as many waves as possible! But first, we need to show you a few tricks like getting into a wetsuit or waxing your board. First, we'll get suited up and then head to the beach for a quick fifteen minute warm up, consisting of some pop-up techniques, mobility stretches and a quick guide to navigating the waves and lineup. Once we're in the water we'll make sure you're on the best waves or pushing you into them, we'll teach you how to paddle and stand up with ease. Come and join us for an unforgettable Los Angeles experience on one of California's iconic beaches. What separates this experience from others is the ability to learn from professional surfers. We’ll share with you tips and tricks of the pros to make surfing fun and easy.”
Duration: 1.5 Hours Total
Shape a Board with Scott Crump
Okay, so this one isn’t a surf lesson from a professional surfer (obviously), but if you’ve got the whole surf thing squared away and are interested in hacking into some foam, check out this offering from former pro and now surfboard shaper in Lennox Head, Scott Crump.
Where? Lennox Head, Australia
What you’ll do (according to the listing): “This is a personalized private surfboard shaping Experience! Within 5 days, you'll have and be able to ride your own personally shaped custom board! Upon booking, I will contact you to discuss your requirements for shaping your personal dream board. We will talk about skill levels and volume requirements. I will then design a rough cut pre shape and have it waiting for you at our shaping studio. We will also design a custom logo for your board, making it truly unique!”
“On the day of the Experience, we will meet at my house overlooking the ocean and some great waves. We’ll enjoy a beverage and talk shop – shaping, CAD design, boards, and surf. From here, we’ll head to our shaping studio in Evans Head. We will go over all of the tools and techniques needed to shape the board and oversee the process from start to finish, ensuring a beautiful functional surfboard shaped by you. Then we will put on a basic color spray if you would like and take it next door to our glasser and discuss glassing and fin needs for the board. Once complete, we will go for a surf and head back. 3-5 days later we will deliver or ship your custom board to you, a ready-to-ride personally shaped surf craft!”
Duration: 5 hours