“It’s all about giving back to the surfing community,” explains Dutch Schorn, Director of Billabong’s Hang Loose Surf School, “because I’m always humbled by how much surfing has given to me.” Dutch and I are talking story behind BC Surf & Sport, the company he’s been affiliated with since he was just a grom, some 25 years ago. As we discuss his summer surf camp—a program that’s been sponsored by Billabong since 2000—Dutch evokes a contagious sense of stoke about his surfing pedagogy: “There is so much more to teach than just paddling and popping up on a surfboard,” he explains. “I focus on safety, etiquette, technique, and even environmental awareness. I want my students to learn everything they possibly can about this sport.”
That’s not to say, however, that Dutch’s students don’t learn how to rip. In fact, after one week of surf lessons, 90% of the Hang Loose kids are catching waves on their very own. These are the results of a corporate sponsored surf school with only the most qualified instructors, all of which are highly trained by Dutch and CPR certified by the American Red Cross. Because he’s charged waves around the world in places such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia, and Costa Rica, Dutch is one of the most experienced surfing instructors in all of South Florida. And because his surf school has been in operation for so long, he is also one of the most seasoned. “It’s an amazing feeling,” Dutch tells me, “that some of the rippers coming into BC Surf & Sport today were students at my camp over ten years ago.” With Fort Lauderdale’s beautiful beaches, mellow waters, and vibrant surfing community—one that BC Surf & Sport has been proud to support since 1977—Dutch believes that this is the perfect place for beginners. “We rarely get huge surf here,” he says, “but that makes it ideal for learning.” Furthermore, with its attentive student to instructor ratio of 6 to 1, Hang Loose transforms area beaches into classrooms optimized for learning everything about waveriding.
Dutch epitomizes the kind of community-driven love and dedication to surfing that we value here at BC Surf & Sport. Aside from running Hang Loose Surf School, for example, Dutch has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Broward County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and is currently Director for the South Florida District of the Eastern Surfing Association. “Surfing has taken my life in so many positive directions,” says Dutch, “that I’m compelled to share it with others. If I can get my students stoked on it, if I can somehow improve even one person’s life by introducing them to surfing, then that’s all that really matters.”
Billabong’s Hang Loose Surf School is designed for kids ages 4-16, and runs Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 2:30, from early June to mid August. The camp is located on the beach at 18th street (Fort Lauderdale), one block south of the Pelican Beach Resort. Activities for the day may include: surfing, paddling, paddle races, surf contests, training on the beach, snorkeling and beach activities, environmental awareness, and surfboard care and maintenance. For more information, prices, times, registration, and photos, please visit www.hangloosesurfschool.com.