Learn to Surf in Miami with SoBe Surf (4 stars)

Based in Cocoa Beach and Miami, SoBe Surf is your South Florida destination to learn to surf, stand-up paddle (SUP), or rent boards. You can even take a stand-up paddle tour where you may see dolphins, manatees, and more, at Biscayne Bay. It’s easy and fun for anyone to do, and they are able to teach lessons near the shore, in an easy-to-stand just 3 feet of water, almost every day of the warm Miami year. Surf lessons take 90 minutes and they provide all the equipment.

I tried a private surf lesson with Adam in Miami. He was friendly and very helpful. He didn’t make me feel like I needed to be macho, and I appreciated having a very soft board, because I had bruised both my big toes with a harder board at my first surf lesson in Los Angeles.

Stand-up paddling

The technique that Adam taught me was to essentially hop up in one fluid motion, but I’m too large to draw my giant legs up from under me that way. So we reverted to what I had learned in Los Angeles, when I did twice stand on a board for a half-second or so, which was more of a kneel, prep, and stand motion. Unfortunately this didn’t work for me either.

I don’t mind a difficult experience since I am far from athletic and so tall that I topple easily. But it was disappointing that I never even got kneel on the board. Adam and I jointly decided to give up pretty quickly after I banged my toe again. 

Just like how riding a bicycle is more stable when you have speed, it’s easier to stand on a surfboard when you are going quickly. The day I visited SoBe Surf in Miami, it was raining and the waves were minimal for surfing. As a result, I just couldn’t get up enough speed to get going.

At least, that’s what I’m assuming happened. Adam didn’t really talk theory with me. I found in Los Angeles that Michael, my instructor, could explain more eloquently exactly what I was doing wrong. Adam, at least in my situation, did not seem to have that kind of eagle eye and analysis. I think I would have left completely satisfied if I had known what went wrong. On the SoBe Surf website, they do claim that they can handle minimal surf days. Instead it felt like we struggled, got nowhere, and then I gave up and Adam agreed perhaps too quickly. It was probably the end of my time.

Stand-up paddle tours

Adam was wonderfully encouraging, and his positive energy kept us out there in the rain. I do believe that SoBe Surf has a great service, and was happy to have tried it. But only 4 stars, an act of faith that I should not too heavily count my own experience, and that other SoBe Surf lessons perhaps on better days, are far more successful.

See sobesurf.com.