Surf Lesson FAQs

Lesson Times & Types

Our Open Group Lesson size varies.  We maintain a ratio of at least 1 instructor for every 4 students booked.  We can book up to 20 students on any Open Group Lesson.  In addition, we always have an extra instructor in the water taking photos & assisting.  The instructors work together & all students will have lots of opportunities to catch waves.

The private lesson allows for more one on one attention from the instructor, more assistance paddling out, the opportunity to catch more waves, and for those working on progressing their skills, the opportunity to surf further out than the group lesson.

We do not. We are open 365 days a year.  The only day of the year that we may be closed is on the day of the Honolulu Marathon which typically takes place on a Sunday within the first two weeks of December.

Yes, we surf every day, rain or shine. Conditions here in Waikiki are almost always good to get in the water and ride some waves! Surfing in the rain is safe and fun! If, on the rare occasion there is a reason for us to cancel due to the conditions, we will inform you at the earliest convenience and either reschedule or cancel at a full refund.

2-hour lessons are available at 9 am, 12 pm & 3 pm daily, 365 days a year.

We are open rain or shine.

1-hour lessons are available during our low seasons.

Phone lines are open from 8 am & 6 pm every day Hawaii Standard Time.

We operate at the beach location from approximately 8:30am to 5:30pm daily around our scheduled lessons and during that time we can also help to provide rentals.

*There are times we may not be available at the beach at the beginning or end of our work day, if we do not have a morning or afternoon lesson scheduled or our last lesson ends early.  For the most up to date daily hours of beach operation call our office to confirm. 808-599-SURF(7873)


Our regular surfing location is in front of Barefoot Beach Cafe by Queen’s Surf Beach, across from Kapiolani Park, in between the Honolulu Zoo & the Aquarium.  The surf spot is called Publics.  We are able to teach all levels at this location.  If a more experienced student desires to surf elsewhere, this can possibly be arranged ahead of time for an added fee dependending on our schedule and conditions.

To find us look for our Surf School Bus™ vehicles and our Black Mercedes Sprinter van parked streetside.


Our location for rentals is streetside behind the Barefoot Beach Cafe by the park area known as Queen’s Surf Beach. There you will find our black Mercedes Sprinter van. Our beach staff will be happy to assist you.

For all rentals we require a credit card for security deposit which must be arranged with our office.  Our rental hours are from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm daily*.  All rentals are first come, first serve. If you would like to rent a short board or a performance long board, please call the office ahead of time to arrange.

*Hours may vary daily. We reccomend calling the office to confirm that we are available for rentals; 808-599-7873(SURF).

Our shop, the Ohana Surf Center, is located within the Waikiki Beach Marriott at 2552 Kalakaua Avenue. This is where our customers meet for their lessons. We then shuttle them in our Surf School Bus™ vehicles to our surfing location at Queens Surf Beach, which is a short distance away.

Our mailing address is: 140 Prospect St. Honolulu, HI 96813.


Our boards are included in the cost of the lesson. After your lesson, our boards are available to rent. We reserve our lesson boards for lessons so the rental board will likely be different than the lesson board. Our rentals are on a first come, first serve basis.

We are available for rentals daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm, however there are days that we may open a little later or close a little earlier at the beach location due to our scheduled lessons. If you are interested in renting on another day, we advise calling our office at 808-599-7873(SURF) before coming down to ensure we are available to rent you a board.

For surf boards, we have NSP hard tops ranging from 6’8 to 11ft, 12ft Southpoint & Blue Planet boards, plus we have Channel Island short boards, fun boards, and performance longboards.  For stand up paddle boards we have 10’0, 10’2 & 11ft NSP’s & 10’6 & 11’0 Blue Planet boards.  For body boards we have Triads in various sizes & BullyBoards.  Our 11’0 & 12’0 boards are reserved for our lessons.  Our 6’0 to 10’0 boards are available for rentals and lessons.  We have a 8’0 & 9’0 foam surfboards available for the novice surfer to rent. If you are looking for a specific board to rent, please give our office a call to confirm availability; 808-599-7873(SURF).

Yes, you may bring your own equipment.  There is no discount for bringing your own equipment.  Often we recommend using our equipment since one of our boards may be better suited to what you are working on and/or the conditions, however we will discuss the options with you.

If you would like to bring your surfboard along and are taking advantage of our courtesy shuttle, please inform us at least 24-hours in advance so we can make arrangements to accomodate your equipment in the shuttle.

Which lesson type is right for me?

No, we can teach all ages from 2 to 99!  We require that children under 13 are on a private lesson one-on-one or with at least one parent or guardian on a family lesson.  If the students are young children, around 6 years old and younger, they will often need to be on the board with the instructor (what we call a tandem lesson), and this will be a private lesson. If the students are around 70 or older and feel they need the extra attention, a private lesson is reccomended.

Yes, it is okay. Our instructors are accustomed to working with non-english speakers. We use visual aids to help explain surfing.

We have instructors who speak Japanese, Korean and Spanish and many of our instructors know surf instruction basics in multiple languages including Japanese, Spanish, Korean, and Sign Language. Our safety presentation and waivers are also available in Japanese, Chines, Korean, and Spanish.

Yes, we would love to take you surfing! We specialize in getting everyone out into the water regardless of age or ability. If the disability requires extra attention, you will need a private one-on-one lesson. If the disability makes it difficult to walk to the pick up location we can also arrange a special pick up.

Yes, we can certainly take you surfing. To keep everyone safe and having fun, we require that non-swimmers take a one-on-one private lesson. To join our other lesson types, students must be able to swim comfortably in the ocean without assistance or a lifejacket. We do have lifejackets available that non-swimmers may wear for their comfort during the lesson.

Yes, children under 13 can certainly take a surfing lesson. We require that they take either a private lesson (one-on-one) or a Family Lesson with at least one parent or guardian joining them in the water. Our Family Lesson was designed as a more affordable option for families with young children while still maintaining the highest level of safety. In order to join a Family Lesson, children must feel comfortable enough to paddle and their manage own surfboard. If you feel your child will need to be on the surfboard with the instructor (aka tandem surf lesson) then please sign them up for a private lesson. Often children 2-6 years old feel most comfortable doing a tandem lesson for the first time.

For safety reasons, only students 13 years and older may join our Open Group Lesson.

Cancellation Policy

If you are going to be late for the lesson or the pick up, please call us at 808-599-7873(SURF) as soon as possible. We can start your lesson late and if we are picking you up we can send our courtesy shuttle back to get you after the other pick ups.

Customers will receive a full refund with 48 hours notice of cancellation. No-shows and decreases in the number of students within the 48-hour cancellation period will be charged the full price.

Large group bookings of 9 or more may be informed of a 72-hour cancellation policy.

Rescheduling between 48 and 4 hours before your lesson will be subject to a rescheduling fee. Rescheduled lessons are no longer eligible for refunds once rescheduled.

Cancelations or reschedules are not allowed within 4-hours of the lesson start time.

You must contact us by phone to cancel or inquire about rescheduling.

Yes.  You may contact us by phone to inquire about rescheduling. If your desired time is available online, you may also reschedule via your confirmation email.

Rescheduling between 48* and 4 hours before your lesson will be subject to a 20% rescheduling fee (must call by 6 pm the night before for any next day 9 am lesson times). Rescheduled lessons are no longer eligible for refunds once rescheduled.

*For large parties of 9 or more, we will adjust to 72 to 4 hours.

Courtesy shuttle

Yes, we can pick your teenage children up and take them to and from the lesson unaccompanied. A parent or guardian will need to sign the waiver form ahead of time online or at the van when we pick the children up.

Children 12 & younger should be accompanied by a guardian. Guardians do not need to go in the water or stay on the beach, but must be there at the beginning and the end of the lesson.

Each party may request up to 2 additional riders (those not participating in a lesson) to ride in our courtesy shuttle. If there is space in the shuttle, we are happy to bring those additional riders in our shuttle. The exception is for minors 12 years old or younger; we require and guarantee one parent or guardian to ride along in the shuttle.

All of our pick ups are in Waikiki and not very far from where we surf.  If more than 2 people who are not participating in the lesson would like to come to the beach to hang out and watch the lesson, it is a walkable distance or a reasonable taxi fare.

Our courtesy shuttle picks up from 4 locations within Waikiki.  If there is a special need and a request is made to be picked up directly from your hotel or another location within Waikiki, it may be possible to do so with at least 24 hour notice (for example someone in the party struggles to walk).  If your request is within 24 hours please call our reservations line, and we will check if our schedule will allow for it.

Our courtesy shuttle picks up from 4 locations in Waikiki (the Ilikai Hotel, the Romer Waikiki at the Ambassador, Don Ho Lane Van Depot, and Hyatt Regency Hotel). These locations are within a few blocks of most hotels in Waikiki. We keep our pick ups limited to these locations to keep things running as smoothly and timely as possible.

Booking your lesson

We have multi-session package discounts available for 2 or more lessons. If you prepay for 2 or more lessons, the price per lesson is discounted.

Preparing for your lesson

Gratuity is at your discretion and is never expected, but is accepted and always appreciated. A standard tip is 15-20% of the lesson price.

Sharks are not a concern. We understand the fear, but it is highly improbable to see a shark, let alone be attacked by one. Statistically speaking, you are more likely to be struck by lightning twice or hit on the head by a coconut than you are to be attacked by a shark. The area we take our students surfing is over reef where an adult human can stand with their head and shoulders above water. These shallow waters are not where sharks tend to be found or even like to swim as they prefer to stay further out in deeper waters.  Sharks will also not attack a human intentionally as we are not a food source that they are interested in.

Check out One Ocean Diving. They offer tours on island to swim with sharks in open waters. Part of their mission is to try to help change people’s opinions on sharks.  Their website may provide you some new and interesting information about sharks.

Yes, you can still surf, however you might get a little seasick during the lesson. We recommend taking a remedy ahead of time that your doctor recommends for you.

We do not have mounts on our boards, however you are welcome to bring your own mount and put it on the board to use during your lesson or rental. Afterwards we will remove it from the board. All personal GoPros are mounted and taken in the water at your own risk and can fall off if not properly attached. We are not responsible for loss or damage of your GoPro.

During each lesson, we have a photographer in the water taking photo and video footage on a GoPro. This footage is available for purchase before or after your lesson.

Anything you take in the water is at your own risk. We do not recommend it, but if you do decide to bring a camera with you, you will want to ensure that it can float and attach to you in some way that doesn’t interfere with the ability to paddle. A secure zipper pocket may work if you do not have another method.

During each lesson, we have a photographer in the water taking photo and video footage on a GoPro. This footage is available for purchase before or after your lesson.

We understand that the reef can be intimidating and knowing the layout of a surfing area including its reefs and channels can be the difference between fun and fear.

There are pros and cons to each surf break and counterintuitively, the reef, despite the intimidation factor, is one of the reasons that makes where we surf so safe. Unlike sandy beach breaks where the waves have a lot of downward pressure that can cause compression injuries, our reef breaks produce gentle waves that have very little downward pressure. Because of this, we don’t experience the more serious types of injuries that occur at beach breaks. The unique set up and reef breaks create the easy, long, gentle, rolling waves that the south shore of Oahu is famous for and that are perfect for learning and teaching surfing.
Our instructors are carefully trained to manage them and to maximize the safe and fun aspects and minimize the fearful ones. The ocean, the reefs, and the surf should be respected and so we teach safe surfing practices, from the proper warm up, to safe paddling, all the way to the proper and safe way to end the ride even if that includes falling. We pride ourselves on taking extra measures to keep our students as safe as possible so they can be as successful as possible.

Yes you certainly can, you will want to wear a tampon or a cup. And don’t worry, you will not attract sharks.

You are certainly able to wear contact lenses. There is a chance you may lose your contact lenses in the water, but as long as you keep your eyes closed underwater it is not a huge risk.

We do not recommend wearing prescription glasses as they can easily be lost.

You may wear prescription goggles. If you cannot see well without your glasses it is okay, you can still take the lesson. We are even able to teach blind students.

We can take bookings more than a year in advance! It is best to call at least 24 hours in advance, and the sooner, the better. We want to help you get the date and time that works best for you!

Of course there is a higher probability of lessons not being available if you are booking last minute, but we are often able to take same day bookings. To ensure we have space for you, we typically need a few hours notice.

During our high traffic season* we recommend making your bookings much further in advance since we more frequently fill up ahead of time.

*High traffic season dates = June 15th to August 31st / Thanksgiving week / December 15th to January 5th / Spring Break weeks between middle of March to end of April.

Please arrive wearing swimwear and bringing a towel, sunscreen and water. We are able to store your items safely so you may bring other items you may need: wallet, phone, camera, change of clothes, etc. You may want to bring along extra money for photos or gratuity. If you are being picked up and need to bring larger items, please inform us ahead of time so we can let you know if we are able to accommodate.

We provide a long sleeve surf shirt and protective reef shoes to wear during the lesson, the equipment provided and an instructor will be with you for the entirety of the lesson time. We also have life jackets available, but they are not required or recommended unless necessary. We provide wetsuit rentals for a fee. Tax, photos, and gratuity are not included.

During your lesson

Yes! We take photos & videos during each lesson. Often the water photographer is one of our instructors and provides an added service of providing wave coaching and post-wave coaching and assistance, and they help to keep the lesson organized. We have photo packages available for purchase before & after the lesson. Footage purchased prior to the lesson start time includes a prepaid discount. We take footage of all of our students whether they prepay for the footage or not. We do not share your photos with other parties.

It is possible, but very rare to encounter jellyfish & even more rare to see sharks.  Even on the cyclical days of the month that jellyfish are more likely be more present (the 8th, 9th & 10th days after a full moon), it is still very rare to find one in the area where we surf.  Jellyfish stings may be uncomfortable, but are by no means something that requires medical attention unless you have an allergy.  If you are at all concerned about jellyfish, we recommend wearing pants such as yoga or work out pants to help protect your skin.  Our long sleeve surf shirts provide protection for the upper body.

Occasionally, you may encounter bees drowning in the ocean. If you are allergic to bees, please inform us ahead of time.

You may also see sea turtles, seals, and other small fish in the surf area. If you’re lucky, you’ll see dolphins further out or whales jumping on the horizon during the winter season.

> Lessons

surfboard_txt_    paddleboard_txt    bodyboard_txt


> Watch Video


> Forms


We offer free pick-up in our Surf School Bus vehicles from Waikiki!



Click to read more about Ohana Surf Project Blogs, News and Updates!