I Tested the Hurley Surf Club

My beard is bigger but Rob’s eyes melt the soul. Photo: Hurley

Middle Trestles, uniquely positioned not between Lower and Upper Trestles, is a pretty bad wave. Especially today.

While the pros wowed on seamless walls no more than 200 yards to the northwest, Middles was chock-full of flailing eight-year olds and Neco Padaratz. But today was my trial run of the Hurley Surf Camp, so I surfed two-foot, choppy, mushy closeouts. These were the conditions in which I was supposed to impress Rob Machado.

Outfitted with a 0.5 mm Hurley compression top and Phantom boardshorts, I Seabassed my way across the rocks and leapt towards the pathetic swells. What followed was an hour of my usual corndogging — several bogs and few successful connections — but not a bad session overall. On the absolute best section that I encountered, I was forced to concede my theoretical 900-degree spinning aerial to some little towhead who was more than content to go straight and smile at me. Smile at me! The audacity.

I approached the shore feeling good about the fact that I had not entirely kooked it. That would have been embarrassing. Then I Seabassed it on the rocks again.

All five of the surfers in the session (myself, another industry rep, two groms and a 20-something chica) sat down in front of a big screen with Rob Machado and professional coach Adam Dufner on the flanks. Adam rolled the tape via his souped-up iPad, and the learning began.

Every wave, every turn was slowed down and scrutinized. Adam and Rob did an exemplary job of offsetting criticism with compliments. For every, “You need to bend more here,” there was a, “Perfect hand-positioning there!” Everybody got something productive out of their session, from the kid who needs to widen his stance to the girl who needs to lay harder into her bottom turn. Turns out I need to follow through with my back arm to stay over my board more. This is something I will pay attention to the next time I paddle out.

If I want to throw big spray like Mick, I’ll have to continue the rotation of my right shoulder and also be significantly better at surfing in general. Photo: Hurley.

I can see how this service would be useful, or at the very least fun, for any ordinary surfer. The coaches seem most able to assist those in the intermediate level of surfing, as their teaching is not designed for total newbies nor the world’s best. If you’re still a little skeptical, I understand, but at the end of the day this is a free service that could easily improve your surfing, so why not? After all, you should never turn anything thats free.

Except drugs. And sometimes candy.