John Holeman Surf School

John Holeman’s double grab air in 1985! A true aireal pioneer!

Sometimes, I thank the lord that WordPress was made because it has given guys like myself an outlet to speak about the things that they enjoy. For me, it is surfing and the other aspects that are involved such as contests and coaching. I have done my fair share of coaching and I have helped a few younger surfers improve their level of surfing which to me was great to watch. However, even I need to sometimes turn to someone to work on my weak areas and there are many surf coaches out there who are recognized on a global scale. Martin Dunn from Australia immediately comes to mind as well as guys such as Sean Mattison who resides in California. For Florida, the guy who immediately springs to my mind is John Holeman who runs the John Holeman Surf School.

History of the Surf World

First I want to give you all some perspective on John. To set the record straight, John is not the first guy to do airs. On every WCT webcast that comes on for Quicksilver, it is mentioned over and over about Martin Potter and his air game. This is all true of course and Mr. Potter deserves a lot of credit. However, John Holeman’s contribution is more in line with what we see going on today. This is because in the 80’s, Martin Potter and later guys like Matt Archibald and Christian Fletcher, were all doing straight airs. By the time Christian Fletcher did his inspiring backside rotation in Mexico, what the world did not know was that he was a few years late to the party. Years before, many international pro surfers witnessed John unleashing an arsenal of airs in pro contests around the east coast of the United States. So by the time the 1990’s rolled in, John already had done front side and backside rotations and a list of grab variations which included his main one which was the double rail grab air.

What makes this sad is that many international pros watched John and it is documented on film, yet the California-based media center ladled the praise on Archy and Fletcher and turned a blind eye to John.


In The Side Wedge, I have covered a few coaching tips such as: and

This lays out the ground rules to help someone improve their surfing and is a great basis to give you an idea on what to do. If you are really serious, a great tool is to pick up a surf coach. In Florida, John Holeman’s Surf School is your best bet to get yourself to a level in which you can start to win surfing contests.

On John’s site, you can see one tool that John has that puts him above others. John has the software to video tape your session and compare your turns to guys such as Mick Fanning or Kelly Slater. Once you can see how you approach a turn and then break it down to how Mick or Kelly does the same turn, then you can work on altering your surfing to make your turns fundamentally stronger.

Edit on 12/06/2017

John no longer has a website. He can be reached by direct message on Instagram.


Stirring the Pot!

This is one of the joys of being in my position!

Matt Biolas of LOST headed up a campaign to honor Simon Anderson’s contribution to surfboard design in which he wanted to collect something like a dollar from every thruster sold and then he wanted to give this pool of money to Simon Anderson.

I think this is a great idea!

Wouldn’t it be just as cool if every pro surfer on the WCT paid a dollar after their heat for every grab air or rotator and donated the money to John at the end of the season? Same concept…a homage to a guy who made basically nothing for inventing something that everyone else is getting a fat paycheck for!


About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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4 Responses to John Holeman Surf School

  1. anthony says:

    John, do you have class rates for surf insturction for kids as little as 7? or is it only private? what are the rates for surf instruction. thank you. the surf instruction link did not work.

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      Thanks for telling me about the link. I will find out what the issue is. John may have changed his website host.

      I am actually an old contest co-hort of John. The guy is top notch. I will get you some information you can use to contact him.

      -Steve Z.

  2. Keegan says:

    Hey the link did not work for me either. Im a intermediate surfer looking to learn more advanced maneuvers like blow tails, layback snap, airs etc

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