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Meet Cory Pierce of Next Level Surf School in Ocean Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cory Pierce.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cory. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My Dad got me into surfing at a young age and I started competing shortly after that. From 11 years old to 17 I competed on an international, amateur level. I was on the US National Team and got to travel to Barbados to compete in the World Amateur Surfing Championships. Shortly after that I turned professional and surfed a National Tour called the Professional Surfing Association of America (PSAA).

I taught each of my three children to surf at young ages with great success. My son, Jonah is a professional surfer and had an illustrious career as an amateur. I enjoyed coaching young surfers interested in competing, and volunteered as a coach for the Point Loma High School Surf Team when my son was competing for them.

I started Next Level Surf School on the Central Coast of California in 2010 with a friend and fellow professional surfer, Tad Gibson. I moved our operation to San Diego in 2013, and is owned and operated solely by me.

Incorporated with the fun and excitement of learning to surf, we also teach ocean safety, environmental and ecological awareness and the importance of surfing etiquette.

We specialize in teaching people of all ages and all surfing levels. Whether you are stepping into the ocean for your first time, getting prepared for your first surfing competition or training for a career in professional surfing.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggle when I started the company was marketing and promotion. I decided to try to build clientele, and after a few excellent reviews, business began to grow. Word of mouth spread and business was steady through the summer months. Surf lessons are extremely seasonal, as can be expected, so I focused on competitive surf coaching during the fall and winter months.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Next Level Surf School – what should we know?
We focus on making the customer happy, first and foremost. If someone is interested in surfing as a “Bucket List” experience, I try to take as much work out of it as I can. Surfing can be strenuous and exhausting if you are new to the sport. Alternatively, if someone wants to take up surfing on a continuous basis, we focus on proper techniques, such as how to get to your feet without using knees. This is a common habit that can be detrimental to long-term surfing.

What sets us apart from other companies is our personalized service, our experience and expertise. Other companies often hire young college students with limited surf experience. They also pack as many students into group lessons as possible to get the most money for their time. We limit group lessons to 4 students, allowing us to focus on the safety and learning experience of each person.

I am most proud of the positive feedback I get from our customers. My repeat or regular customers are a testament to our talent for teaching surfing. One of my regular students is a 12 year old autistic boy who has gone from barely standing up to surfing right alongside me in some fairly sizable surf. My connection with the students and the joy I get from seeing them succeed is extremely gratifying.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My wife, Vanessa, is very supportive and has an amazingly keen business sense. She gives me advice and suggestions on how to deal with certain situations that I might otherwise stress over. Additionally, my clients who spread the word of their satisfaction has been priceless. Whether it be through social media or recommendations, it is the largest contributor to our growth and success.


  • 2-Hour, One-on-one Private Lesson – $75
  • 2-Hour, Group Lesson (2-4 Students) – $65 per Student

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