Surf Camp is a day camp for kids and teens aged 9 to 15. Since camp started in 2002, we've introduced thousands of kids to the art of wave riding from our pristine location on Scarborough Beach.
In addition to learning to surf from some of Maine's most experienced instructors, "Surf Campers" will explore the local marine environment, learn about our oceans, and make new friends in the process. Meanwhile, we're enjoying the Maine summer in the best possible way: outdoors and on the beach!
Campers arrive at Scarborough Beach State Park at 9AM. After getting a wetsuit and surfboard from our gear trailer, we head down to our camp at the beach. This camp is where we will spend the rest of the day. Our tents provide shelter from the weather and give the campers a place to hang out when they aren’t in the water. We also have snacks, water coolers, and gear boxes at our beach camp.
When we first arrive at camp, one of our instructors leads everyone through the morning meeting, which varies each day and includes surf etiquette and technique, daily overviews, and short lessons about ocean conservation and our local beach environment.
We normally suit up (put our wetsuits on) at around 9:30, and from there, hit the water! For the next two hours camp is broken into groups of three to four where each camper gets significant one-on-one instruction. The ‘morning session’ can be one of the most beautiful times at the beach, with clear water, light winds, and glassy waves.
At 11:30 we are all hungry for lunch: it’s time to head back to camp to eat and trade stories from the morning! After lunch, we normally make time to play a beach game: capture the flag and volleyball are popular, but there’s also lots of time to swim, boogie board, explore the beach, or just hang out and read a book.
Refreshed from lunch, we head back out for one more afternoon surf session, usually about an hour to an hour and a half. By this time in the day, the tides have changed from what they were in the morning session and it’s like surfing an entirely different beach: a great opportunity to continue developing our water skills!
By the time 3PM roles around, it’s safe to say we are all exhausted, but in the best possible way: we are ‘surf tired!’ Which is to say we can’t wait to get back in the water the next day!
Surfing is a dynamic activity that changes quickly and often. Tides, wind, currents and other factors all determine how the surf will be, so our surf sessions follow accordingly. Some days we surf a little less and spend extra time on other beach activities, and some days -- when the waves are “on” -- we might spend nearly the whole day on our surfboards. Our number one goal is to ensure everyone is safe and having a great time -- there’s no such thing as being ‘bored’ at Surf Camp.
By Thursday, after three full days of surfing, everyone is pretty tired. We usually take the afternoon session ‘off’ from surfing to give everybody some time to recover for the full day of surfing on Friday. Instead, we will often go on a beach walk on Thursday afternoon. Walking both North and South on Scarborough Beach offers a fun experience.
In one direction, we access “the lagoon” where campers can swim and snorkel on clear days. In the other direction, the “Cliff Walk” takes us around the point of Prouts Neck, allowing time for a swim at a pristine beach halfway through the walk.
We can't help it, but sometimes we have bad weather and can't stay at the beach. We only leave the beach if the weather is unsafe: for example, if there are thunderstorms, extreme winds, or unseasonably low temperatures.
On those rare occasions, perhaps five to seven days out of the entire summer, we will retreat to our "rain day location" at Sprague Hall, about 5 miles up the road from the beach. It's a good time to relax and take a break, watch a surf movie, play board games, or challenge someone to a ping-pong match. If we're stuck inside all day, we'll often take a field trip to a local surf shop.
Surf Camp prides itself on being a ‘human powered’ organization in the truest sense. Many of our employees carpool or ride bikes to work, and while we are at the beach, we are totally ‘off grid.’ We always strive to leave the beach cleaner than we left it.
Even though our environmental impact has been minimal since Surf Camp started, in recent years we’ve taken a more proactive role in giving back to the beach and ocean environment that provides so much to us.
Once a week, we give a short talk to our campers about the ocean environment and environmental responsibility, and follow with a major beach cleanup. Two groups head in opposite directions and compete to get the most trash picked up and into garbage bags. Back at camp when we put all the bags together, it is always amazing how much we’ve managed to pick up, and how much cleaner the beach is for it. Last year, we removed several hundred pounds of garbage from the beach. At Surf Camp, campers will learn the necessary environmental ethic that surfing requires while helping to keep the Maine coast beautiful. We also encourage good health by providing nutritious snacks and fresh fruit everyday during lunch.
Tuition for Surf Camp is $459.00 per camper per session. Surf Camp tuition covers all regular activities, including surfboard and wetsuit use, beach admission, drinks, snacks, and any field trips (e.g., due to bad weather). Surf Camp does not provide lunch.
There is a snack bar at Scarborough Beach and children may bring spending money for use at the snack bar.
Giving someone the chance to learn to surf is a gift that will pay dividends in health and happiness for a lifetime. We are now selling gift certificates for both all of our surfing programs -- the perfect gift for adventurous souls young and old!