These days there are many surfing schools strewn up and down the coast of California and just about everyplace else that has any sort of wave to ride.

I always say that if there is a wave and a beach, the two things you are sure to find would be Boogie boards and surf schools.  Boogie boards have been around for well over 50 years now, thank you Tom Morey.  But actual surf schools were not all that common even 30 years ago.

Let me give very short re-cap on that.

In Hawaii, the beach boys at Waikiki were teaching people to surf as far back as anybody can remember. That’s a given. Here in California, there were a couple of schools that popped up in the 1960s when surfing had its big growth spurt.  Mickey Munoz had one going at Doheny and, if I remember correctly, at the Huntington Beach cliffs. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, I offered lessons myself in San Clemente on Saturday mornings, when I wasn’t traveling for some sort of surf competition.

Anytime I think of a surf school the name Paskowitz comes to the forefront of my mind.  Doctor Dorian Paskowitz and his family ran a surf school and camp at San Onofre for years and years. That was the premier place to go for decades. I love those guys.

In the mid 1990s, other than Paskowitz, there weren’t a lot of other actual schools available.  This next part is in answer to the question of how I got involved in the surf school and surf camp business back in 1996.

First off, it wasn’t my idea.  I was teaching tennis in Fountain Valley, writing this column for the Register, and managing the Windansea surf shop in Huntington Beach. During that period, I did an appearance on a “sports talk” television show that was produced by a guy named Rick Walker.  Not long after that, I had Rick’s daughter, Kelsey, in one of my tennis classes.

One night Rick came to pick her up and asked me why I was teaching tennis and not surfing.  My answer was there were no surf schools to teach at, so how could I make a living doing that?

Maybe a week or so later, Rick came into the surf shop and asked me if I would be interested in doing a Corky Carroll Surf School.  I told him if he put it all together and made it legal then I would be down for it.  My thought was this was just talk and when he found out how much red tape and effort it would take to put something like that together he would fizzle out and this would never happen.

Wrong. A couple months later, Rick shows up back at the shop and tells me that he has all the permits, a location, a fleet of boards, instructors lined up and an opening date that June.

Wow, I was in shock that he actually had pulled all that together.

Our first summer running it together was low key and only showed a tiny profit, but Rick was really gung-ho and was sure that this was going to be a thriving deal with a little time and a lotta effort.  At that point, he took over running everything. I developed the teaching methods and would be there for the introductions and opening talks to the new students on Monday mornings along with doing private lessons. Rick did everything else with a tremendous amount of effort and energy put into it.

Within a few years it grew and really started to happen. This included a second school/camp in Costa Rica.

Today it’s still going strong and is being run by Rick’s kids.  Collin is in Costa Rica and Kelsey and her husband in Huntington Beach.  I have been sending videos to Collin for work with certain students and stop in at Huntington Beach from time to time.

Rick retired and has been writing books about early California that are excellent.

I am really proud and stoked that going into its 29th summer the CCSS is still going strong and offering a first class surfing experience.  Thank you Rick Walker, it never would have happened without you.

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