Philosophically and holistically oriented surf lessons and coaching in New York City, LA, San Francisco, and Costa Rica



The Conatus approach is focused on wave judgment and developing a relationship to the ocean, so these lessons look a lot different from those given at a typical surf school. At no point in the lesson will you be "pushed" into a wave. Instead, we’ll focus on reading weather conditions, timing, getting comfortable in the water, building strength, and mastering form. My goal is to equip you with the skills you need to catch your own waves, so you can develop a self-sustaining surfing practice.

NY lessons (Rockaway and Long Beach and sometimes northern NJ) are scheduled on Wednesdays due to the ever-shifting ocean forecasts. We also run small club trips to Rhode Island, Cape Cod, and Long Island. CA lessons in LA and SF are also liable to change location depending on ocean conditions. Same goes for Costa Rica lessons and retreats. 



Private Lesson: Brush up your skills or learn to surf the right way with the Conatus approach to ocean knowledge, paddling, board control, and surfing etiquette basics. This approach mimics the way that young kids learn to surf in a well established local beach or surfing community and is nothing like the group lessons available from other schools and institutions. You will receive one-on-one attention from a vetted CSC instructor. We will adjust the approach based upon your apparent strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and fears. The lesson begins as soon as we shake hands. All equipment will be provided and determined beforehand through a short email consultation. The first part of the lesson is dedicated to setting up your surfing vocabulary and to make sure that you have the right words for the things that you see and feel while out in the water. Then we will head out and practice paddling and board control. The last thirty minutes of the lesson are spent learning to master the white waters (mastery not guaranteed), which is where you'll want to practice your 'glide-up' when you go and surf on your own. 1.5 hrs. Weekday: $250. Weekend: $275.

Semi-Private Lesson: Same setup as the above, but tailored to 2-3 people. All equipment is included and determined beforehand. 1.5 hrs. Weekday: $175 per person. Weekend: $200 per person. 

Advanced Beginner/Intermediate Consultation: If you are an advanced beginner or intermediate surfer you have been giving surfing a go for at least 1 year, own your own equipment, and desire to integrate surfing into your overall lifestyle. Maybe you've plateaued? Consistently find yourself at a crowded peak and unable to catch waves? Only catch closeouts? Keep pearling? A consultation is a great idea if you want to take your surfing practice to the next level. We go surf for one hour with light coaching in the water. We will determine your strengths and weaknesses. Afterwards we will give you a prescription for better surfing tailored to your own goals and strengths. Please note that if you have surfed less than 10 times, do not have your own equipment, and do not know how to catch your own waves then a beginner lesson might be more up your alley. 1 hr. Weekday: $150. Weekend: $200. 


3 Lesson Basics Package: As with the private and semi-private lessons, this package is designed for either beginning or intermediate surfers. For beginners the three lessons look like: Session 1: Conatus approach to ocean, paddle, wave reading, and whitewater riding basics. Session 2: more ocean and surfing basics and white water mastery. Session 3: in the water guidance. Going down the line. Style pointers. Video if you've advanced significantly. For intermediates, we will take a more coaching style approach to each session, and will focus more on technique, style, and wave judgment. In between lessons we provide text and email support and prescriptions for developing a solid surfing practice. 4.5 hrs. Weekday: $650.  

5 Lesson Basics Plus Package: We believe that learning to surf is just as hard, if not harder, than learning a martial art. For this reason, multiple lessons are necessary at various stages in your learning process. A 5 lesson package will put you on the path to a self sustaining surf practice. The aim here is to take the lessons in as short amount of time as possible — ideally under 6 weeks. This gets the surfing vocabulary and muscle memory firmly in place. Session 1: Conatus approach to ocean, paddle, wave reading, and whitewater riding basics. Session 2: more ocean and surfing basics and whitewater mastery. Sessions 3-5: coaching on wave judgment, glide ups, and reading lineups. Video of last two sessions. Prescription for exercises to do in between lessons. Text and email support between lessons. 7.5 hrs Weekday: $1000. 

10 Lesson Mentorship Package: The 10 lesson package follows the logic of the 5 lesson package, and extends it, with a significant price discount on each lesson. Since we will be guiding your practice for a large amount of time, this package significantly features video analysis. Video analysis is the key to correcting bad habits before they become insurmountable. It also gives you the confidence of seeing that you actually are improving and helps with wave knowledge, judgment, and lineup savvy. This is the surest way to get you on a lifelong path to proficient surfing. Please note that the 10 lesson package is for serious beginners and intermediates only. You must have already taken a 3 or 5 lesson package to qualify for this rate. 15 hrs. Weekday: $1800. 

Kids Mentoring/Coaching: Conatus Surf Club is not a surf school nor is it a camp, but we are interested in mentoring young surfers. We place an emphasis on impeccable etiquette (how to share waves) and on developing a smooth and graceful style. We are capable of grooming kids for competition or simply to become respectful and proficient lifelong surfers. If you are interested in this or something like this for your kids please contact us and we can set up a custom rate for your kids.

Excursions: CSC will be running a few surfing excursions to Long Island, New Jersey, and other undisclosed places along the Eastern seaboard this summer and fall. These will be released in blog posts and private emails. Stay tuned!  

Retreats and Mini Retreats: We have been experimenting with intensive 4-day mini retreats to destinations like Barbados and LA. Due to the success of these retreats we will be offering many more in the months to come! We also run 10 day retreats at Rancho Diandrew in SW Costa Rica every January and March. Please see our Retreats page for dates, itineraries, and booking. 

The Fine Print

****Punctuality/Missed Lessons: We prefer that you are either early or on time, but understand that some things occur that are sudden and out of our control. A 15 minute grace period is awarded at the start of each lesson, but after 15 minutes, the lesson will effectively start and we will complete the remaining 2 hours after you arrive. We need at least 24 hours notice if you need to cancel. A complete no show counts as a lesson. 

*****Expiration: Lessons expire 6 months after purchase date. We encourage that you complete packages as quickly as your schedule allows. The frequency of coaching will help you improve more rapidly. Many people want to go on their own for expanded periods of time between lessons and it is not advisable. You catch more waves when you surf with us so you get to work on more things in one two hour surf than you would alone. We also urge you to paddle, breathe, and turn correctly throughout the session, enhancing your body's muscle memory. We make every effort to put you in our schedule when you purchase a package and will follow up with emails and texts if you seem to be putting surfing at a lower priority. 

******Honesty: Please be honest with your ability level! It is not shameful to admit that you've been trying surfing for years and still cannot catch a wave. Please also note that if you have taken a lesson with another school and stood up on a wave that you were pushed into, that does not mean that you "know how to stand up". If you cannot do it on your own then you need to learn how. So please be as honest as you can -- that will make the experience better for all! 

*Equipment: Surf level dependent. For complete beginners, we provide or help you acquire all necessary equipment, though if you own wetsuits or boards, we encourage you to bring what you’re used to using. We always use fiberglass surfboards (not the foam ones) because we believe that the foam boards are less stable and actually harder to surf. Surfing is dangerous no matter what board you’re riding, so we focus on board safety and learning to handle your equipment with confidence from the first lesson.

**Locations and weather: We usually  teach at Long Beach or Rockaway Beach, though we sometimes offer special events at other locations. Check the blog for updates and promotions. Once your lesson is reserved, you’ll receive a confirmation 48 hours prior to your scheduled time--we’re almost always good to go, but occasionally the ocean and weather patterns have other things in mind. Your safety and comfort is our highest priority.

***Scheduling: We do scheduling for the weekends on Wednesdays and schedules for the weekdays three days out. Three days is the magic number for having a relatively confident idea about how wind, swell, and tide will interact at our local breaks. We always choose locations for optimal conditions and minor crowds. Location is liable to change 24-48 hours before the lesson if conditions shift radically. We are hyper vigilant with communication if this should be the case and will make sure that you keep your spot if you are on the schedule for that day. 


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