We thought you might want to learn to surf while you’re here, so we booked some lessons for ourselves. You know, so we could give you the straight scoop.
(Can you blame us?)
People from Pensacola know the best source for all things surf can be found at Innerlight Surf Shop, established in 1969 by Yancy Spencer, a local legend who sadly lost his life all too young in 2011.
A memorial in his image stands tall holding a surfboard at Casino Beach.
The Innerlight Surf Lesson site is at the eastern end of the island. Before you hit the water, there are about 10 minutes of basic training on dry land. They set you up with a light board that is easy to carry onto the beach.
Our instructor, Ben, teaches children as young as six to surf, so his methods and mantras are relatable, easy to understand and fun to listen to. Pay close attention.
When he sends you out into the water, as you’re lying on the board, Ben will yell, “Paddle, paddle, PADDLE!”
Paddling out is a little tricky, but with Ben’s direction, you’ll make it out.
Once you’re in the Gulf, head to Ben, because he is about to catch you a wave. Ride it in to the best of your ability, and don’t give up. Get yourself right back out there, because that’s not the only wave you’re catching today.
Ben wants nothing more than for you to get better each time you get on the board. He sets you up for success, and from there, it’s up to you.
Surfing is more of a workout than you realize, using muscles you didn’t even know existed. It’s a workout that doesn’t feel like a workout … until the next day.
If you’re worried about looking like a fool, this might not be fun for you. That said, if you’re willing to let go and hang loose, you’ll be up on a board in no time.
Ben finds you the perfect wave, helps you grasp the basic fundamentals of surfing, and knows exactly where the break is. He explains the history and story of Innerlight and how Yancy Spencer wanted to name it this because of his faith and dedication to God.
All surf lessons are set up through Innerlight’s Pensacola Beach location, on the second floor of the marina. Your information will be given to Shannon, who is in charge of putting together lessons. Shannon is lovely and is keen to set people up on good surfing days.
Since the wind and waves change all the time, it is hard to know exactly if there will be good surf far in advance. Innerlight is awesome at communicating with you to plan a good day to surf, and rescheduling or reimbursing you if the conditions aren’t right. They can usually predict up to a week in advance.
Lessons happen by the hour, for groups or individuals. They are $55 per hour for private lessons, $45 per person for groups of 2 to 4 people, or $35 per person for groups of more than 5.
For experienced surfers or people who prefer to try things out on their own, Innerlight also offers surfboard rentals.
Innerlight Surf Shop is located at 655 Pensacola Beach Boulevard in Pensacola Beach FL. For more information, please visit the Innerlight website or call (850) 934-9004.