Surf Divas take the waves and the business world


By Marti Gacioch

Their early passion for surfing led twin sisters Izzy and Coco Tihanyi to open La Jolla’s Surf Diva about 16 years ago. Back then it was known as the first surfing school for women. Today, it’s known for its high-quality training that Newsweek magazine termed, “the Starbucks of surf schools.”

According to Izzy, the school is best known for its core program — a two-day women’s clinic for beginning surfers held every weekend.

“We want to be sure that the women are comfortable on land before going in the water,” Izzy said. “So we spend some time on dry land in an encouraging, comfortable environment, explaining everything and answering questions so they know what to expect.”

The school’s primary focus is safety, so instructors first teach women how to carry a board to the water. From there they teach them how to lie on the board, how to paddle it, how to stand up on it, how to ride the waves and how to dismount the board.

“We feel it’s very important that everyone goes at her own pace,” Izzy said. “There is no one set goal; we think that even catching waves on your stomach is great, and if you happen to stand up, that’s the icing on the cake.”

After the weekend session, surfers can decide if they want to continue improving their skills with a level-two class before taking private lessons.

The sisters also offer two co-ed surfing camps for youth — La Jolla Surf Camp for ages 5-10, and teen co-ed camp, American Surf Academy, for ages 11-17. There are weeklong surf camps for kids during spring break and one-week surf camps throughout the summer.

New programs include Team Surf Diva for girls, ages 11-18 who already know how to surf, and stand-up paddle boarding classes. Coming soon are a boogie boarding camp for kids too young to surf and a Mother’s Day event.

Surf Diva offers corporate team-building events and has worked with Qualcomm and Nike. The school also does bachelorette parties, family gatherings and weddings, and organizes Costa Rica surfing trips.

The Surf Diva Boutique features an eclectic collection of surfing and beach-lifestyle items.

—Surf Diva Surf School & Surf Diva Boutique, 2160 Avenida de la Playa. (858) 454-8273.