Lifeguards warn of ‘bootleg’ surf camps

Local

SAN DIEGO — A warning for those who want to learn to surf: Vet your school.

That’s what San Diego lifeguards are telling residents and visitors alike this week, with beach authorities saying a rise in surf camps that lack permits has led to crowded lineups and other problems.

“The ocean is inherently dangerous and when you have non-permitted surf instructors — who, again, are not really familiar with the area — that are providing instruction, you are just increasing the chance for a mishap,” said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Lonnie Stephens.

Permitted surf instructors typically have years of training and experience under their belt before they take novice thrill-seekers into the surf. With the amateur crowd cropping up, lifeguards say they’ve had to rescue not only students at non-permitted surf schools, but in some cases, even their instructors, too.

Fines can be issued to “bootleg” surf school operations starting at $50 and increasing to $700 for the third violation. Lifeguards say the best way to find a reputable surf school is to go to a place that has a storefront.

Watch Jaime Chambers’ full report in the video player above for more details.

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