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Meet Lucas Coleman of Calibunga Surf lessons

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lucas Coleman.

Lucas, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
From the time I was a toddler my parents told me I had to do two things. I had to learn an instrument and I had to play a sport. For my ninth birthday, my parents put me in a surf camp with the YMCA in San Diego, where I grew up. I haven’t stopped surfing since. 20 years later, after a bit of world traveling and trying to chase the best waves that I could (Fiji, Australia, Mexico, US) I wound up in Los Angeles. I realized that I didn’t enjoy competing as much as I enjoyed teaching others to surf.

If you know me or even if you’ve only met me for 2 minutes, you would notice that I am extremely social and love waterspouts. Especially surfing. The perfect job for me was to teach surfing to locals who want to improve their skills and to visitors looking for a new experience. I spent about 7 years teaching for other Los Angeles based schools. In this time I perfected the art of teaching. I realized that the method I was using didn’t fit the generic tourism based (one size fits all) lesson plan that the schools I was working under required and that I had a lot more to offer the world of surfing and our clients.

That’s when I began to develop Calibunga. I saw an opportunity to create not only the perfect first wave experience taught in an accessible way but a way to turn those experiences into a community that everyone can share.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Every lesson is a new experience because no two people are the same. At Calibunga we on a daily bases teach age groups from 4 to as old as (on one occasion) 82. People from different backgrounds and cultures. Sometimes it can be very challenging. We have on occasion people sign up purely because they want to face a fear of the water.

Caching and supporting a person with a petrifying fear of the ocean isn’t easy. Its a test of patience, positivity, but the important thing about our staff is that were up for the challenge. It’s also a test of learning what that particular person wants to gain out of the lesson. (A fond memory, training, fitness workout, a meditative connection with the water). That’s a test for listening to your clients.

Another hurdle worth mentioning is that it is a physical taxing job. It requires us to have the stamina to last 6 hours in the water ready for anything. If we are working with someone who doesn’t have the strongest swimming skills we have to do a lot of the paddling for them. That takes strength and can be hard on our bodies if our posture isn’t right.

Calibunga Surf lessons – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We provide the best and most accessible surf lessons In LA County. If you want a friendly surfing instructor who is going to stay by your side the entire lesson caching you with a multitude of little tips that all amount to a great session… that’s what we do. It’s surfing that fits your unique body type, endurance level, and goals. I’ve worked for a few other schools around here and I haven’t found anyone else that necessarily offers that.

Another thing I should mention is that this is FUN. Its so much fun being out there with us. We are your biggest cheerleaders and moral support group out there so if you want to give this a try AND feel encouraged while you do this then you should come to Calibunga.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I had an old man sign up with us. He called ahead and told us that he wanted to surf but wasn’t sure if he was allowed to sign up because he had just turned 82 years old. We talked more specifically if he thought he was up for it.

I took the lesson and suggested we do a few waves on a very mellow beach on a day when the tide was rolling in pretty gentle. We surfed and talked. He was a nice guy. Toward the end I had to ask him- Why did you wait till you were in your 80’s? (for the record he didn’t look 82, he was in great shape) He told me that since he was a little boy he would run down to the beach and watch the surfers. He always wanted to try but you know how things go. Life happens, days turn into months, months to years, and years to history.

He recently got some bad news. He was terminal. No pain but it was all going to be over and very soon. He never let go of that dream he had as a little boy wanting to ride one of those waves so he came to us. Halfway through our lesson he stood up on a wave and rode. After the wave ended he said “Well, I did what I came here to do” or something to that effect. He was sort of looking into his mind’s eye when he said it.

I think that’s what I most proud of. It was just a surfing lesson, but it made him feel complete and ready. Apologies because that’s probably a much darker story than you were hoping for but that’s probably my most complete moment in my career so far.


  • 1 person lesson $100
  • 2 person lessons $190
  • 3 person lesson $280
  • 4 person lesson $370

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1 Comment

  1. Anne Railsback

    September 20, 2018 at 20:51

    Hi Calibunga Surf Lessons-

    I work for the Pier Corporation, we’re located above the Carousel building. Received a piece of mail for you.

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