James Pike started riding waves when he was 8 years old, when his father would drive him out to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz to go boogie boarding. As he grew up, he learned to surf with a local club, buying and repairing his own used surfboard, which was weathered after 40 years of challenging the ocean and being used to write down mermaids’ phone numbers.
As an adult, James founded Pike’s Surf School, where he teaches students of all ages how to balance on boards in surfing and skateboarding classes. Following lessons on technique and etiquette, students can glide through the waves or fly over pavement, and youths can take a combination surfing and skateboard clinic in groups of four. Pictures and video help pinpoint errors in technique, and cross-training improves students' ability to maintain their balance in different situations.