Free Boardom

South Florida is not a great place for surfers. The waves are reliable, but they are seldom huge, and whenever they are huge, it’s a sign that some monstrous hurricane is about to swoop in from the Atlantic and eat your house. But South Florida is a great place for beginning surfers — because those same reliable, not-terribly-intimidating waves are perfect for getting your chops in order, and the guys at the surf supply-shop Surf Syndicate (4828 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) would love to help make it happen.

Every Saturday and Sunday at 8-ish a.m. (yes, 8-ish — these people are surfers, not executives), Syndicate staffers appear on Fort Lauderdale Beach, just south of the Commercial Pier at the far easterly end of Commercial Boulevard, to offer free surfing lessons to all comers. Surfboards and instructors are happily provided; Syndicate owner Meghan Nicoletti respectfully requests that students bring “a towel and a good attitude,” plus change for the meters, for she tells me, “the meter maid never rests.” That damned meter maid. She’s so uptight. She should take surfing lessons.

Regardless of the state of the Atlantic on a given weekend, students will receive on-the-sand instruction on the rudiments of board technique and the theory behind it all; when the Atlantic’s got some action going, as it usually does, there is in-the-water instruction as well. If you’d like to check on the state of the surf before heading to the beach, visit The white stuff you see is a crashing wave. If you don’t see any white stuff, there is no surf, and you might want to try again next week. The folks at Syndicate recommend that anybody interested in attending on a given morning call in advance, to ensure that the instructors bring enough boards for everyone. The number for reservations is 954-465-6512; for general info, call 954-489-1335. Visit

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brandon K. Thorp