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Meet Chris Kurtz of Paddle Surf Malibu in Malibu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Kurtz.

Chris, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
While surfing alone in Malibu on a November day I happened to look up to see a large Stand up paddler approaching. As he came closer I quickly recognized him as Laird Hamilton (of big wave surfing fame) He was on a stand up paddle board. He said “Aloha” and we began chatting. He began to tell me all about stand up paddling and all of its benefits and advantages to normal surfing. He asked if I had ever tried it, I replied “no, but I wanted to” he then promptly said, “Well, You ARE going to try it today!” and threw me his paddle and said exchange boards with him. I didn’t know what I was doing as he paddled for a wave on my board he yelled back, “Speed is your friend”….

I went home and thought to myself…”If the best guy in the world (in my opinion) is super amped about stand up paddling, there must be something to it”….So I decided to sell all of my regular surfboards and commit to stand up paddling…

Having been a scholarship Swimmer at the University of Tennessee and an Ocean Lifeguard for the City of Del Mar (San Diego area) I decided to teach & share with others what has given me so much joy since that day when I met Laird Hamilton…

I started Paddle Surf Malibu in the Spring of 2014 and have been going strong since…

I guess you could say that chance encounter meeting Laird changed my life!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I started out by building the website and gathering up old used stand-up paddle boards and paddles to start the business. I partnered with Groupon, Living Social and Travelzoo to get my name out, but quickly realized those companies take half of the cost of the lessons. However as soon as I launched my site, business boomed. I was able to afford new equipment and could hardly handle the demand. I no longer run promotions with those companies, but occasionally run specials through my social media or website.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the PADDLE SURF MALIBU story. Tell us more about the business.
Paddle Surf Malibu is the premium Stand Up Paddle lesson company. We pride ourselves on customer service and satisfaction. What differentiates us is our amazing photos & videos that we give our customers, the top-of-the-line Laird Hamilton signature Boards we use and our focus on smaller groups to give our customers a safe and amazing experience.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Ironically, growing up as a surfer, I’ve always wanted there to be lots of waves, but, with my stand up paddle lesson business, it’s better to teach in a “waveless” environment. We’ve been fortunate for several calm water days since we started (as seen on our IG @paddlesurfmalibu) We also have been very fortunate to see Dolphins and Seals and even Whales on many occasions.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Paddle Surf Malibu
  • Website:
  • Phone: 805-338-6567
  • Email:
  • Instagram:
  • Facebook: @paddlesurfingmalibu

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