Home | Doug Silva | Surfing | Kitesurfing | SUP | Windsurfing | Pros | About | FAQ

Who are some of the best surf instructors on Hawaii and why?

Please post shoutouts for your favorite instructors, or reasons why some surfing lessons did not meet your expectations. If you give surf instruction, please post a little about yourself.

I’d like to make a big shoutout to Doug Silva. I’ve had the chance to work with Doug twice, the first time for just a day and the second time for a week. Both times I learned a ton, in addition to enjoying my time spent with Doug. Not only did Doug really help my surfing, but he worked with Matt Kinoshita of Kazuma Surfboards to tune up my gear to my size, ability, and waves that I surf. My enjoyment of shortboard surfing has gone up huge after the lessons and gear switch.

Doug is so helpful that I’ve created a category for him on TalkSurf:

I’d like to make an honorable mention of superstar instructor to Kiva Rivers. Kiva’s never been a formal coach, but he’s given me many great tips, and my friends love taking lessons with Kiva every time they visit Maui.

Other instructors to consider include:

  1. Buzzy Kerbox
  2. Tide Rivers
  3. Zach Howard

Doug and I at Turtle Bay, Jan 2014.

Justin- I couldn’t agree with you more. My wife and I just spent a week with Doug Silva on Oahu.
His instruction was technical and positive. I also liked that he used video (he had an associate film us with a GoPro) as an instructional tool.
Another important aspect was that a lot of local surfers know and like Doug. Going out into the lineup with someone that the locals respect is a big plus… We will definitely go back for more lessons with Doug.

I just had the opportunity to work with @doug for 3 days in Maui. Here’s my thoughts on training with Doug:

My biggest regret is that I didn’t have the knowledge of what Doug’s taught me about surfing 30 years ago!

Doug has a unique ability to provide timely advice for his students when and where they need it. He’s got a great eye for exactly what the student should be doing. At the same time, his advice is often immediately achievable.

As an example, some other surfers kept telling me that I need to “just take two more strokes”. The problem with that advice is that it’s not easy to implement. 2 more strokes from when? Instead, Doug has provided me with more implementable advice regarding keeping my focus on where I’m going (down the line) and connecting with the wave. When that is done, the two extra strokes and the correct body mechanics happen automatically. The other problem with advice like “2 extra strokes” and “paddle harder” is that this tends to make one paddle with less grace. Instead, slowing things down and feeling the water translates into more efficient wave catching.

And besides learning a ton from Doug, it’s just plain fun to surf with him!

And Doug posted some advice for me here:

Here’s a review of @doug that @alexkolla posted to her friends and gave me permission to share.

Hey guys, I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to Kiva Rivers of “Rivers to the Sea”.

My wife and I went for a beginner lesson in November 2014, and in short - we couldn’t have been happier with Kiva’s advice, service and professionalism.

The day before, my wife had been out to watch the boys (and girl) tackle Jaws so she was a little freaked out about the prospect of a surfing lesson, but after about 5 minutes, Kiva had her excited and determined about the prospect of catching her first wave. He’s crazy friendly and seems genuinely stoked about teaching rookies like us what being on the water is all about.

We’re total beginners, so Kiva gave us some basics on the beach before taking us out on the water. It didn’t take long before we were both up on waves and smiling for the camera (and if he can get us up and surfing, he can get anyone up and surfing!).

I’d happily recommend Kiva for any surf lessons and when I’m back in Maui (hopefully soon!!!) I’ll definitely be calling him for help.