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Kids learn to surf on the Sunshine Coast with ex-pro

When it comes to beach sports, none are more recognisable than surfing. Who hasn’t watched a bronzed Aussie run towards the waves and paddle out into the ocean? Or watched as they spot the perfect wave and start paddling wildly in an attempt to catch it and ride it back to shore?

It seems every kid heading to the beach these days wants to learn to surf. The Sunshine Coast is the perfect place if you have a grommet keen on learning how to carve it up. But, with so many beaches and just as many operators offering learn-to-surf sessions, where do you go?

Grant Thomas is an ex-professional surfer and director at Maroochy Surf School. He prides himself on being a real surfer teaching real surfing. In his hey-day, he reached number seven worldwide. However, he knows it takes time and practice to become good at the sport.

“We can teach anyone to surf, from four to 84 !” Mr Thomas says.

He says Maroochy Surf School runs sessions for kids and has programs for groms and teens.

“We also run adult and women only programs. We try to cater for everyone,” he says.

Mr Thomas’s approach to surfing is simple. He gives you the knowledge to reach your surfing dreams.

What is SurfGroms?

“Woolworths SurfGroms is a nationally accredited learn-to-surf program for five- to 12-year olds,” Mr Thomas says.

“It is a great introduction to surfing for kids. They play games like Tag and there are short drills with footballs and soccer balls; there’s beach education and, of course, kids learn to surf! It’s fun and action packed.”

He says lessons are designed purposefully to create a positive and supportive learning environment. To give every child their best chance of success, the SurfGroms program is divided into two age categories (MiniGroms for kids aged five to eight; SuperGroms for those aged nine to 12) and five distinct skill levels.

“Younger surfers and paddlers are often still developing fundamental movements, such as balance, agility and coordination,” Mr Thomas says.

He says older kids are more advanced both physically and mentally, so they require a different approach when learning new skills.

Mr Thomas says the Maroochy Surf School is the number one SurfGroms delivery centre in Australia.

“Our programs are well recognised, and we are proud to be the biggest and best one on the coast!” he says.

Taking advantage of the beautiful Sunshine Coast beaches

The Maroochy Surf School has a great demographic. It operates between Maroochydoore and Mooloolaba.

“This gives us the versatility to get the kids surfing in the best conditions possible every time,” Grant Thomas says.

“We always try and get the kids the best wave. We send emails and messages the evening before the kids are all booked in and to let them know which of those two locations we’ll be operating at the next day. There are very few surf schools on the coast that are able to have options with regards to their location on any given day.”

The surf school runs daily classes and beginners are given the ability to maintain strength and stamina on the board. If your child is more intermediate, they can improve on those skills.

Helping kids catch their first wave

Grant Thomas says there’s nothing like helping a child catch his or her first wave.

“I’ve surfed all around the world professionally, and I know that feeling myself,” he says.

“All the instructors get a lot of enjoyment seeing that look on a child’s face [when they catch their first wave]. It feels just as good for me as the coach as it does for the child,” Mr Thomas says.

“It’s why I always want my team striving to get the kids the best wave they can!”

Nervous about surfing?

With more than a decade of experience behind him, Grant Thomas feels qualified to give some advice to kids who want to learn to surf, but are nervous about diving in.

“For any kids that might be a little bit nervy about it, I try and take the attention away from just the pure fact of surfing and make it a fun experience — whether it’s in or out of the water,” he says.

He says once you paddle out for the first time and then master the art of standing up, you’re hooked.

“There’s nothing like the feeling of riding your first wave,” Mr Thomas says.

“You never know unless you try. There’s a reason there’s so many surfers around the world—because it’s so much fun!”

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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