Narragansett Surf and Skate Shop
Tricia Pan, owner of Narragansett Surf and Skate Shop, has two words to describe the fall surfing experience: “Top notch.” Her shop teaches both surfing and stand-up paddle boarding (or SUP, as she calls it) at Narragansett Town Beach year-round: “If [you’re] the adventurous type, [we’d] be happy to take you out for a surf in February!” she says. Lessons can be held one-on-one or in groups, and must be scheduled beforehand. Tricia invites anyone who wants to learn “safety, how to paddle, how to stand and most importantly how to get the most fun out of the sport.”
Peter Pan Surfing Academy
Peter Pan is a legend of the Rhode Island surfing scene, having amassed hundreds of awards in regional surfing competitions over the years and designed nine boards for various manufacturers. Today, his daughter runs Narragansett Surf and Skate (see above), while he offers his own surfing and paddle board lessons at different locations around the bay. One particularly scenic haunt is Narrow River in Narragansett - the flat waters and sandy bottom make for wonderful beginner paddle boarding. Like father like daughter: lessons go year-round and must be scheduled beforehand.
Diamondblue Surf Shop
Block Island might be a favorite tourist spot during the summer, but it’s not too late to take one last trip to our little island getaway. Diamondblue Surf Shop is just up the street from the ferry dock. There they extol the virtues of Block Island’s unique marine geography, free of dangerous currents and great for people looking to learn how to surf. The beaches are also more laid-back than, say, Scarborough or Narragansett, especially during the fall. In fact, it’s so nice out on the island that Diamondblue’s lessons run through Columbus Day.
Rhody Surf in Newport started as a surf school and has been offering paddle boarding and surfing lessons since 2011. The business now sells sports gear as well, but owner Bobby Drought maintains that “the focus has always been providing a fun outlet for someone who wants to learn how to paddle and how to surf.” Through October, surfing lessons take place at Second Beach in Middletown, whose south-facing shore creates excellent beginner waves – not too big, not too small, as Bobby explains. Meanwhile, paddle boarding happens in the shelter of Newport Harbor, where the view of the Newport Bridge rising over the marina creates a beautiful backdrop.
Paddle Surf RI
The calm, shallow waters of the Pawcatuck River in Westerly provide a great environment for paddle boarding, and Misquamicut State Beach, just down the road, is one of the best beginner surfing venues in Rhode Island. Paddle Surf RI takes full advantage of both locations, offering stand-up paddle boarding on the river and surfing lessons on the beach throughout the year. They even teach “paddle surfing,” where participants learn how to manipulate a surfboard and a paddle at the same time.
FloorTime in Middletown began as a dance studio, but for the past few years they’ve also offered Surfset classes: think a cross between a balance board and yoga. This exercise is a great way to get the health benefits of surfing – namely a great cardio workout and increased flexibility – without poking a toe in the water. FloorTime holds classes for all skill levels at their space in Middletown, but they also set up at different locations including The Break Hotel in Narragansett, Battery Park in Newport, and URI’s South Kingstown campus.