Not included

Santa Cruz with Bud Freitas

"Santa Cruz is home to some of the best waves in all of the country and can be a great place to learn to surf. I grew up here and spent my whole life exploring the endless waves up and down the coast. The waves here helped me train to compete with the best surfers in the world and after competing I decided I wanted to give back and share my love for the ocean and create the Santa Cruz Surf School. Book a coaching session with us and we will show the best that Santa Cruz has to offer!"

The surf

Peak swell
Variable swell

The waves in Northern California are colder and much more powerful than the rest of the state. However, you can find some of the best waves in the whole country within a few minutes drive from the center of town. But, be prepared to really work for it when the winter swells come around. Bring (or rent) a warm wetsuit along with booties and a hood if you’re sensitive to the cold.

Always show respect for the ocean, and other surfers, and know your limits. The town of Santa Cruz faces south and is sheltered from North winds and so the surf can be good all day. With a warmer microclimate than the surrounding region, it’s a famous spot for surfers in Northern California.

Autumn through spring is the most consistent time of the year, with big swells hammering the coastline and creating powerful surf. Spring is often hazy with lots of wind but sunny and dry, just like summer. South swells tend to have long lulls in between sets so patience is key.

The adventure

Santa Cruz has a big surfing culture. In this city, in 1885, the Hawaiian princes went surfing for the first time ever in the United States. It was also here that Jack O'Neill invented the neoprene suits, specially for surfing.

Take some time to visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and have a walk 800 meters above the water on the iconic pier. You will also find an amusement park and have the opportunity of riding a roller coaster by the ocean.

There are 14 state parks and lots of beaches in the area, a full plate for nature lovers and for those looking for dynamic and diverse days. You can visit the coastal forest sequoias in a steam train, watch whales during their migration period by the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary, go on hikes, and much more.

Gastronomy & wine

Santa Cruz has rich, sandy soil and the perfect weather conditions that make for one of California's most distinctive regions for food and wine production. This is one of the oldest's wine-producing regions in the country and a visit to one of the local wineries is worth it. There is a great range of restaurant options in Santa Cruz, from local cafe shops to great restaurants.

Getting there
Fly into Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). From there, it's a 35-minute drive.
Fly into Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). From there, it's a 35-minute drive.

Surf School Santa Cruz

Leading trips since 2010
Bud Freitas
Owner & Surf Coach
Bud Freitas

Bud Freitas grew up surfing in Santa Cruz County and enjoys instructing new surfers at Surf School Santa Cruz on his home “surf.” Bud spent every waking hour of his young life surfing and exploring the coast of Santa Cruz, and has 25+ years of experience in the water surfing his butt off. He is ready to help you surf like a pro after your Santa Cruz surf!

The Surf School Santa Cruz

Surf School Santa Cruz is the best-rated surf school on the West Coast! We accept students of all ages and skill levels and guarantee a quality, safe, and fun experience for those wanting to learn to surf in California. Our surf school was created out of our passion for surfing and our desire to share it with the world. We believe that surfing is not just a sport but a life therapy. We ardently advocate that the only thing better than a great day of surfing is feeling someone else’s passion or helping them improve skill sets that work in the ocean and carry over to day-to-day life.

Our instructors are professionals who tailor each lesson to the students, so no matter your ability, you are encouraged and supported in the most personalized way possible. The cumulative years of surfing and teaching experience we have under our belts allow us to provide you with the best surf lessons in all of Santa Cruz — perhaps the best surf lessons in all of California!

Pleasure Point has always been our home base, and it offers an unparalleled learning environment. We are excited to also offer surf lessons at Cowell’s Beach. An additional location increases our versatility and gives both our instructors and students more options to improve the overall learning experience. Join our pros at our favorite beaches in Santa Cruz for an unforgettable surf lesson in Monterey Bay, CA! Whether it has been your lifelong dream to learn to surf in California, you want to improve your existing skills, or you’d like to push yourself to try your hand at an exciting sport for the first time, Surf School Santa Cruz can help achieve your goals.

Languages: English
Response rate: 100%
Response time: Within 0 hours

4.95 · 1 review

United States of America
Casual surfer, Sep 2022
Absolutely amazing, the instructor was amazing and super professional. Highly recommend and it was definitely some of the most fun I have ever ha... show more
Absolutely amazing, the instructor was amazing and super professional. Highly recommend and it was definitely some of the most fun I have ever had.

Choose your dates

This surf coaching is open to all ages and is focused on bringing... more
From $260 / day
For dates and accommodations not listed, or if you want to book further out


What's included?
Private surf coaching.
What's not included?
Flights, airport transfers, transportation, meals, accommodation, travel insurance, and other activities.
What's the cancellation policy?
Cancel and get a full refund within 48 hours of purchase, or at least 30 days before the trip starts.