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“Fun experience, not-so-great instructor” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Goofy Foot Surf School, Inc

Goofy Foot Surf School, Inc
505 Front Street Suite # 123, PO Box 11813, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
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Ranked #23 of 164 Activities in Lahaina
Type: Water sports, Adventure
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage
Attraction details
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage
Dallas, TX
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Fun experience, not-so-great instructor”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2007

This is the text of a an email I sent to Goofy Foot. I think it serves as a review as well.

Hello Goofy Foot Surf School--

I wanted to share the experience my husband and I had with your instructor John on 9/6.

We were scheduled for the 11AM lesson. Storefront staff, etc. were fantastic. Signing in and gearing up was quick and easy. We headed out for the sand lesson which went well.

I was paddling out for the second wave and waiting while the student ahead of me was waiting for his wave. Once I finished paddling and was waiting myself, I overheard the instructor discussing my husband and his abilities with another student. I thought this was tacky and rude, however, I didn't say anything to John. Since I was next, John he talked to me about my husband as well. Talking to me about it is okay, but discussing it with another student is unacceptable. Since this is a beginner's surf lesson (most of us first-timers), it should be expected that in some cases not everyone will stand up and not everyone will be "good."

I told my husband about what I overheard, and he said that while we were suiting up before our lesson, he overheard John telling someone that the previous class had reached "new levels of uncoordination."

We told Amy about what happened when we returned to the school and she was truly sympathetic. We really appreciated her handling of the situation. John's attitude definitely put a damper on our first surfing experience.

Since the school has a stand up on the first lesson guarantee, we asked for a refund for my husband's portion of the fee. After we left the school, we counted the money later and realized we'd been given $45 instead of $65 for the refund. At that point we figured it was too late to go back for the other $20. I called the school today (9/12) just to note that we were shorted. I definitely think the experience was worth $20 (plus my fee), but felt the need to notify the school.

Also of note, while we were gathering up on the beach, John came to the shore and left my husband in the water. I noticed on your website that it says the instructor will supervise students at all times. While waiting on shore for my husband to come in, John did paddle out and find him to let him try one more wave. However, he lost track of my husband for a five minutes at least. Now, we're all adults here and don't need constant supervision, but I felt that this was a potentially disastrous move on John's part and irresponsible.

Overall, we thought the experience was fun...after all, that's what it was about...the experience. We love our pictures and we look back now and laugh. We'd recommend the school to someone else, but would not recommend John.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“Run don't Walk Away From This Place!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2007

I chose Goofy Foot Surf School BECAUSE of the reviews on Trip Advisor and I must tell you, I have never been so disappointed in a vacation experience! I signed up for a semi-private (2 13 yr olds) lesson. The instructor was 15 minutes late to get to my kids and when they got into the water and my daughter could not ride a wave (guaranteed or your money back!) she was yelled at, and was told she HAD to get up because they were taking pictures and his boss would be pissed off if her mom asked for her money back. He told both the girls to just sit on the boards and wait while HE rode waves and told them to just get up ONCE so they could take pictures.

When my daughter told me of the experience I went to the person in charge that day (August, 2007) and he said, "Oh, I'm sure he was just trying to keep them safe by yelling at them". So, when the loser-instructor came over and talked to the boss, he came over and told my daughter he had something inside for her, for working so hard. He told her "You tell your mom you rode one wave or we have to refund the money... oh and here's a t-shirt!"

My daughter was tramatised by the expereince and actually shook when she saw surf boards anywhere else in Maui. STAY AWAY FROM THIS SCHOOL UNLESS YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW TO SURF!!!

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12 reviews 12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Totally Miserable Experience”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2007

I'm amazed that absolutely every review on every surf lesson or surf school in Hawaii is five stars. Maybe only the positive experiences are being written about. Anyway, here's a different perspective.

My two hour lesson was on a Saturday in mid/late March at 8 AM. I'm not an early bird at home, but I was really excited (not that every day in Hawaii isn't really exciting) and I thought the early lesson might be less crowded. I had signed up for a lesson about six or eight weeks in advance based on a very positive review in Maui Revealed and the Goofy Foot website looked very promising. When I got there I had to pay for parking, but so what. The girl behind the desk took my $55 and I went outside to find some surf shoes and try to figure out how they tighten down. It is totally disorganized, but so what. Maybe that's just the way surfers are. I go back inside for something and I hear the girl loudly exclaiming that she was down to her last couple of days and wouldn't have to work here any more. I'm starting to get a little concerned now. I see a couple of guys who appear to be instructors and they seem to be friendly, professional, and enthusiastic. I finally find out which group I'm in and my instructor is Mike (or Mikey).

Our group of four or five people carry our boards down to the beach for some training. We wait there for some time watching the other two groups train with their instructors. Our instructor finally drags himself down to our area to teach us. It's obvious from the start that Mike would rather be doing anything but teaching surfing to a bunch of beginners. He goes through the drill and then we head down to the Lahaina Breakwall with the rest of the surf school and countless other people getting surf lessons there. The water is ugly (it's Lahaina afterall) but so what, we're going surfing. We are told to wait in the waiting area for Goofy Foot Surf and the instructor will call us out one at a time to try a wave. The water gets pretty cold pretty quick even in the waist deep water, since we're just standing there talking, doing nothing almost the entire time. Eventually, we all get a try at it. I think we got a total of three rides, or was it two, because you have to wait not just for your group but every other group sharing the same waves. The instructor wasn't able to offer any help to anyone with their technique. He seemed to lack both the ability to work with people and the desire to even bother trying to help. We tried to help each other but our personal surfing experience was limited to say the least. One guy sort of stood up on one ride, but I doubt any of us was given a refund.

Our instructor told us our time was up and got us out of the water well before anyone else and had us haul our boards all the way back to the shop. Those big beginner boards are pretty heavy and really hurt the top of my head, but I was sort of glad to be out of the cold water, even if I was disgusted that I hadn't done any surfing or learned or practiced hardly at all.

I can't understand why I got stuck with an obviously lame leftover surf instructor when I had made reservations so far in advance and I had arrived the 30 minutes early as I was told.

The next time I'll try to improve my odds of having a positive experience by having a private lesson on a weekday rather than the weekend in the warm middle part of the day in an uncrowded location from a totally different surf school. Three weeks in Kauai and Maui doing activities that varied from very good to fantastic and I'm still amazed that the only disappointment was the surf lesson which I had looked forward to as much or more than anything else. You couldn't pay me enough to repeat that commercial, joyless experience but I will definitely try surfing again, whether on Maui, Kauai, Oahu, or somewhere else in the tropics.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Wonderful Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2007

Three kids, 17, 13, 11, one private lesson with Nate. They had a great time and all of them rode several waves. They were exhausted after 2 hours and it was the highlight of our trip. Yeah, it was crowded out there but everyone was having a great time.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great ride!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2007

We are a family of 5 - two parents and three kids (11,13 & 16). Goofy Foot Surf School was awesome! We signed up for the 2:00 2 hour lesson just because our kids like to sleep in. John was our instructor; he was really great. We all got up and surfed - even the ol' parents! John was really nice - explaining what to do and when to do it. He was encouraging and great with the kids. It was a little crowded the afternoon we had our lessons. There is nothing the surf school can do about that. There were other schools in the same area we were. I don't think that some of them practiced 'surf etiquitte' quite the same as Goofy Foot. If you are looking for a great family excursion, then you need to take surf lessons with Goofy Foot. Don't forget to tip your instructor!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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