Tomorrow is International Surfing Day. And while you might already have plans to ride your favorite waves, why not celebrate all year long with a club membership?
Surf clubs, in all their many guises, can provide a great way to meet fellow surfers, engage in the local community, provide stiff competition or even get your life back on track.
The Outrigger Canoe Club, Honolulu, HawaiiThe Outrigger Canoe Club is a private club founded in 1908 on the beach at Waikiki, but moved to its current Diamond Head location in 1964.
Initially it was started to provide dressing room facilities, "so men and boys could ride upright on the crest of waves," but has since expanded its beach sport amenities from just surfing to canoeing and more. It’s also the club where beach volleyball was invited. Along with sports there are social activities, historical programs, bars and restaurants.
But it’s century old mission remains the same: "[To be] a place where man may commune with sun and sand and sea, where good fellowship and aloha prevail and where the sports of old Hawaii shall always have a home."
Oh and the world’s most spectacular sunsets come free with membership.
Wahine Kai, Huntington Beach, CaliforniaWomen have often been excluded from the male-dominated surf lineup but luckily many women surf clubs have been set up to encourage girl surfing.
Wahine Kai, which is Hawaiian for “Women of the Sea” is one such club based out of Huntington Beach.
Their simple purpose is "to have fun surfing together as women while creating a supportive, non-judgmental environment."
Whether you are shortboarder, longboarder or boogie boarder, members can improve their technique with the help of other members and specialized clinics. And if you don't live near Huntington? No problem. The club has a charter system where you can start your own club.
The WindanSea Surf Club, San Diego, CaliforniaHome to one of the most famous surf breaks in the U.S., WindanSea Beach has one of the most colorful surf clubs, The WindanSea Surf Club.
Formed back in 1962, the club had some of surfing's biggest names as members. It also has international versions all over the world. Both the break and the club however had a reputation as being intimidating, and, in the ’60s, members were called "the heaviest surf crew ever.”
But the modern incarnation is no longer the same beast. The club now promotes “excellence in our ocean and community, preserving and respecting WindanSea's past, protecting ocean and coastal environments, fostering a positive image of surfers locally and globally through charity and competition, and supporting our youth for a brighter future."
Shaka Surf Club, Calabasas, California
Founding members Rey and Rose Carungcong have been facilitating surf groups since 1997, and officially opened Shaka Surf Club in 2006.
As well as being a qualified surf instructor, Rey has an educational and clinical background in psychology, behavior and music therapy and believes that surfing can be a truly therapeutic and transformative experience.
"The majority of our participants in recovery (both teens and adults) have never tried surfing before," he says, "but after their experience with Shaka Surf Club, they leave with a passion for surfing.”
The club has an accredited Surf Program which is designed for all abilities, and have specialized adaptive skills programs offered year round.
Almost every beach has a local surf club that offer both a competitive and social network to get involved in the local community.
Usually run by volunteers, they provide a fast track way to meet the locals who live and surf there.
Surf lineups can be tricky, but if you have been flipping burgers with half of the guys in the lineups, you will have a much better chance to catch a wave. The Coalition of Surf Clubs has a good list of clubs around the country.
Operation Surf, San Luis Obispo, California
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Less of a club and more of a vehicle of change, Operation Surf formed when Navy Corpsman Derek McGinnis, who had lost his leg serving in Iraq, met Janis Roznowski of Operation Comfort, an organization dedicated to helping our wounded soldiers heal.
McGinness was a keen surfer determined to surf again and when Operation Comfort made that happen, they hit on the idea to use surfing as a means for an epic life-changing adventure for wounded active duty military heroes.
Since then the week long camps have become a unique and successful form of recreational rehab for the vets, exposing them to the healing power of the ocean through adaptive surfing taught by world-class instructors.
Rockaway Beach Surf Club, Rockaway Beach, New YorkRockaway Beach Surf Club is a cultural event space, restaurant and bar devoted to promoting the love of surfing, conserving the environment and supporting its local neighborhood.
By supporting the community's artists, writers, musicians and all lovers of surf and beach, Rockaway aims to inspire the community and its residents. The club was at the forefront of the clean up operation after Hurricane Sandy and offers a unique New York take on beach culture.
It also not a bad place to hang if you are visiting the peninsula.
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