The first time I came across Locals Surf School was during the summer of 2012 (back when they had a white tent).  Lost as I was during this first visit to Rockaway Beach, Locals co-owner Mike K. was kind enough to direct me to my first surf lesson with another school along the same shore.  I was struck by the fun and friendly vibe from that chance meeting that I kept Locals in mind for future lessons.

For many, the novelty of surfing within the boundaries of NYC is just that...an item to check off the bucket list.  However for those who have fallen in love with the sport and are looking to progress further, Locals is the school to take you there.  They have a very unique hands-on teaching approach for intermediate/advanced students which other Rockaway surf schools seem to lack.

Co-owner Mike R., who has a keen eye for technical detail, asked what my short and long term goals were with surfing.  This simple question caught me off guard as no other instructor from any other school has asked me this...I've never even thought about it myself!  After expressing my recent challenges of transitioning from a 9' longboard to a smaller board, Mike fashioned a set of fun water drills (which I originally thought were silly), but they were so effective that after only a day session, I was quite comfortable with the new board!!  

The more lessons I took with Locals, the more I appreciated their passion for surfing and for teaching.  Most of my lessons have been with both Mike R. and Josh S. who are just phenomenal both on and off shore.  They are able to read their students well and adapt their teaching style to fit a student's learning needs.  I am the type of student whose hand needs to be held and requires constant validation.  I recall at one point I was afraid of paddling for a larger set of waves for fear of being caught inside, however Josh S. kindly deconstructed the wave verbally, and offered to paddle alongside me until I was able to pop up into the wave at which point he then pulled back.  Since he was intimately in the wave with me, he was able to provide detailed feedback of how I performed, where most other instructors only see you from a distance.  From Josh I learned the most important virtue in surfing...patience.

Mike R., on the other hand, challenges me physically and mentally.  From physical water drills (think of wax-on wax-off Miyagi style) to critical observation drills of the wind, the water, and surroundings.  He will not lecture at you, but make you think critically which is extremely important as I do have to learn to rely on myself while out in the water.  He's also taught me the most important lesson in the water - not to forget to have fun!  One learns best while having fun

Mike K. and Mike R. have built something special in Locals Surf School.  Not only do they have a strong arsenal of instructors and an outstanding school, but they have created a fun and supportive community around them.  

Come to Rockaway this summer, take a lesson and have a drink with the boys!

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AuthorLocals Surf School