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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:22 pm 
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I searched for a topic like this last summer and didn't really find one, so I thought I would add my review(s) in case anyone else has kids who are interested in learning to surf. My almost 11 year-old daughter has been DYING to learn to surf. Last year, she did one of the half-day surf camps at Ripley's Aquarium and was really, really disappointed with it (for the record, she did a couple other camps there that she loved). The surfing camp had so many kids and so few instructors and boards, that each kid only got to try getting up 2 or 3 times. Quite a bummer from what is billed as a 3 hour surf camp.

Anyway, we made a bit of a last-minute decision to come down to the beach this past weekend (we own in Barefoot Resort and live in central NC so it's pretty easy for us to come down when the mood hits). I just did a google search looking for surfing lessons and/or camps and came up with Kokopelli Surf Camps http://kokopellisurfcamp.com/home.html Their website listed weekend camps along with 3-day weekday camps, but when I called on Friday they said they didn't have a weekend camp this weekend. I spoke with the owner Brandon, and was able to set up 2 private 1.5 hour lessons for my daughter - one on Saturday morning and one on Sunday morning. We were SO pleased with these lessons! Brandon spent the first 15-20 minutes showing her how to paddle, how to stand up on the board, how to wax the board - and also some warm-up stretching exercises - and then they were off into the water. On her second try, my daughter stood up and rode a wave most of the way in! Of course, there were plenty of ups and downs after that, but overall she LOVED it and picked it up really well. Brandon has a great knack for picking good waves and getting her started at exactly the right time to catch the wave.

As a mom, of course safety is always a concern. My daughter is a strong swimmer, but she is definitely on the small side for her age (height and weight) so it's still pretty easy for her to get pummeled by the waves. Brandon was by her side every moment that she wasn't actually riding a wave. When she would catch a wave & ride in, he would watch exactly where she ended and body surf in to her on the next wave. This allowed him to be back by her side in seconds! He had her paddle out on the board a few times so that she actually learned how to do it, but most of the time, he helped her and the board get back out through the breakers. If you've ever "helped"/pulled/dragged your kids through the waves, you know that this is a LOT of work! It certainly was a lot of extra work for Brandon, but so considerate because this allowed my daughter to save up her energy for actually surfing the waves, not just paddling out to them. She was able to ride more waves than I can count but was still really tired by the end of the lesson.

Overall, I would highly recommend Kokopelli. We plan to try to send our daughter to one of the 3-day camps in August and would definitely do more private lessons too.

I hope these reviews help if anyone else is looking for surfing lessons.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:24 pm 
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This is really great information for parents with teens wanting to learn to surf...my kiddos are all grown but I know they would have loved to do this! It sounds like you hit upon a good group running this learning experience... thanks for sharing this...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Thanks, NCMom! I don't think we've ever had a review like this before. Now I'm wating to hear about the camp! :cool:

Brandon sounds like every mother's dream teacher for surfing. I'm so happy to hear it worked out well. He certainly know what he's doing.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:13 am 
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Just in case anyone has been waiting for a review of the surfing camp, I wanted to give a quick update and let you know why it's not here. Unfortunately, my daughter damaged some ligaments in her left thumb and wrist after a gymnastics fall - so that kept her out of activities all summer (and still continues). But she plans to be at the surf camp at least once next summer and I'll try to come back to this thread and review it then.

- Nancy


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:36 pm 
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I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's damaged ligaments! Thanks for letting us know, and I hope she will be back to doing all her activities soon.

We'll look forward to hearing from you when get back to the beach!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Thanks Patrish! The ligaments are an annoyance, but I'm always thankful to have a generally healthy kid...

- Nancy


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:41 pm 
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So I'm back with the long-delayed review of the actual surf camp. First, a few more kudos to Brandon and the private lessons too. Last week, some friends came down with us. They have a 12 year-old daughter (basically the same age as my daughter) and a 9 year-old daughter. We set up 2 private lessons for the girls with Brandon and another of his surfers, Atticus. Once again, the girls were in great hands and had SO much fun! All of them were able to get up and ride many, many waves. We loved the smiles on our girls faces & on Brandon and Atticus to see how proud they were to see our girls do so well. It was great. The other two girls are already asking when they can come back & do more surfing!

Anyway, moving on to the 3-day camp. My daughter decided she wanted to do the 3 day camp this week. The camp is Weds - Fri from 9am-noon near the Cherry Grove pier and is primarily run by Brandon's brother Wyatt (although Brandon helps out when he doesn't have other lessons going). Today was a washout due to torrential rain this morning and some lightning in the area. But Wyatt was able to work with everyone to get them scheduled for an extra makeup day so, as the surfers like to say "it's all good." This week there were only 4 kids in the camp, so they had two instructors there - Wyatt and Christian. Again, my daughter really enjoyed this as much as the lessons. I think the camp focused a bit more on skills to move them toward being able to surf on their own. The instructors still kept a very watchful eye and helped them a lot, but they did let them do more of getting themselves into position and such. Probably the biggest stride my daughter made this week is developing the skill to steer the surf board, at least a little bit. Note to people swimming in the ocean in a surfing area: if you see kids who can barely manage to stand up and keep their balance, you might want to think about taking a step or two to move out of their way! They can't steer! :icon_smile: At the end of camp, the kids all get a Kokopelli t-shirt, a couple stickers and a cute certificate stating that they are now "Kokopelli certified."

I would definitely recommend the camp just as much as the lessons. I will let you know, though, that it is really strenuous activity. Three hours of surfing, several days in a row is a LOT. I wouldn't plan a whole afternoon full of other activities following camp. My daughter came home & fell asleep on the couch each afternoon (which she NEVER does).

Kokopelli now has little surf shacks set up at the Avista Resort (oceanfront near Main St in N.Myrtle) and near the Prince Resort/Cherry Grove pier so you could stop by and speak to them in person if you have any questions. I noticed that they are also doing lessons for that Stand-up Paddle Boarding, but I don't know anything more about that.

-Nancy


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:28 pm 
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Nancy, thank you so much for sharing this detailed information. It sounds like a fantastic program!

Quote Nancy:
"My daughter came home & fell asleep on the couch each afternoon (which she NEVER does)."

LOL! I think this says a lot about your daughter's dedication as well as her desire and determination to succeed with the program. And kudos to you for helping to make this happen! This is the sort of thing it takes to get young people outside and away from their computer/cell phone, iPad, etc.

It also shows how determination and goal-setting lead the way to successful careers as young people become adults entering the workforce.

Give yourself a pat on the back, and keep on encouraging your daughter as she learns to set goals and map her future!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:32 am 
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Patrish,

Thank you so much for the kind words! The guys at various times did call my daughter "fearless" and "a warrior" so I guess she was working it pretty hard! It's funny that you said that about pulling the kids away from the technology too. One of my neighbors at Barefoot said almost the same thing when we were chatting the other day. Their grand kids come down to visit but still want to spend most of their time inside on the tablets/phones/video games, etc. Give my kid the choice of the beach/ocean and almost anything else and she'd choose the beach every time!

- Nancy


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:13 am 
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Nancy thank you so much for posting this!! I didn't even know it existed! My son (in his 20's) is all ready for the private lessons at the end of Aug. He is so psyched!!! Thanks so much again! It's always great to try new adventures and this will be perfect for him!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:58 pm 
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Hi Emmy,

That's great! I hope you'll come back to this thread and let me know how he likes it.

- Nancy


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