• Photo by Bill Fulcher

Philosophy & Method

From the cradle to the wave

We are true water lovers and mentors to our students. From baby swimmers to bucket list wave riding we believe in helping to create a lifelong love for the water.

coach syd lovelace's 10 level water balance Method

In the pool our initial goal is to get children comfortable and balanced in a horizontal position on their stomach and back. This will allow them the best opportunity to master the art and athleticism of bending the water to create forward motion. Once they become balanced our coaches will assist the child's body and mind to form new connections and muscle memory. This creates the ability for a child to direct their body in an efficient manner towards a desired target. The next step is coordinating their breathing and focusing on making their strokes more efficient and faster to a point where they can maintain them throughout their entire life. If a child has an aversion to water touching their face it can affect how quickly they pick up swim skills. We help those that have this challenge with bath tub homework and by redirecting their anxiety to a specific target or task. We believe in abundant positive verbal reinforcements and gentle persistence. We emphasize fun, safe, efficient techniques in a creative and nurturing environment.

Click here to see a breakdown of the Levels

Classes & Schedule


Class Costs and Location

All classes are $32 when you pay as you go or sign up for individual lessons. If you sign up for ongoing lessons and make automatic payments, classes are $27. Our West LA location is a private residence and therefore we do not send out the address beforehand. Upon submitting a request for a class, the address will be sent to you.

Lincoln Middle School • 1501 California Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Beach Lessons Click on class name to sign up

Santa Monica Beach at Ocean Park (dependent on conditions)

Intro to Wave Play & Ocean Safety

Suggested Ages: 3 years and up. Wetsuit provided.

Stand-up Paddle (SUP) Lessons

Surf Lessons

Open Water Swim Technique, training advice and snorkeling tips

Private Parties & Corporate Group Packages

A great option for your private group, corporate or team building events in the LA & Santa Monica areas. Get to know friends and family or build business associates into team players.

Paddle Fork & Spoon

Join us on the Venice Canals for a paddle-icious night of great architecture, ducks and starry skies. Perfect for birthdays, anniversaries and out-of-town guests.   All classes, group/corporate packages and Paddle, Fork & Spoon are offered year round (dependent on conditions) and require a non-refundable $50 deposit.

Coaching Staff

Coach Sydney Lovelace


Coach Syd brings over two decades of coaching & teaching and his proven aquatic methods to Los Angeles from Nashville TN. While in Nashville he started and ran 3 successful swim teams and still has Sydskids, a swim school. The Sydney E Lovelace Award for Excellence is given each summer to a top swimmer at The Belle Meade Country Club in Nashville.

Coach Syd attended Florida State where he was standout swimmer in Sprint Butterfly, Backstroke and Individual Medley. He has been teaching full time since 1991.

When he moved to LA in 2002 he was hired as the Guest Head Coach at Marlborough Prep and was Interim Head Coach of the Hollywood High School Club Team. He is also former co-founder and owner of Venice Del Play Surf & Yoga Beach Camp.

Coach Syd and his teams have done it all—from Olympic Team Trial qualifiers, Collegiate Swimmers and High School All Americans to Special Needs kids and 6-month-old toddlers, He especially enjoys the unique challenges of helping children overcome acute fears of water.

Sydney is also an avid windsurfer and competitive body surfer. In 2012 he placed 6th at the World Body Surf Championship, 3rd at the International Body Surf Championship and Grand Champion of the Venice Beach Surf-A-thon. In his spare time he likes to Stand Up Paddle surf, compete in SUP ocean races, body surf and tandem surf with Booda, his dog and swim school mascot.

Brandon Bulat

Site Manager/Coach

Coach Brandon grew up in northern California where he started swimming at a very young age. Starting at the age of 15, Coach Brandon taught swim lessons with the American Swim Academy. He continued working there until moving down to LA to go to college. When not in the pool, Coach Brandon is passionate about music. He is in his second season with LA Surf and Swim.

Courtney Toomey

Operations Manager/Coach

Coach Courtney was born and raised in a small town in Central California. She began swimming year round on a competitive team when she was 9 years old. During high school she was also on the water polo team which was her real passion. She moved to LA to attend LMU where she graduated in 2009. She has been working at LA Surf and Swim since 2008. She still teaches occasionally but is more often known as the face behind the phone calls and emails.

Tommy Natoli

Site Manager/Coach

Coach Tommy has been with LA Surf and Swim since 2012. He has been a highly successful teacher at programs including the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club and the Michael Phelps IM Program.

David Smyth

Coach David

Brought up a Hoosier, David has been swimming since the age of three and hasn’t left the water since! At the age of 16, he became a swim coach and he continued his path of being an educator by receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Special/Elementary Education from Purdue University. He just recently moved to Los Angeles, and this is his first year with LA Surf and Swim.

Kimia Behpoormia

Coach Kimia

Coach Kimia was born and raised Los Angeles, CA (the best place in the world). She has loved swimming since a very early age and thanks to the cartoon Rocket Power, has a very romanticized view of surfing and water sports. Kimia has been on recreational swim teams from middle school through high school and enjoys swimming for fun and not for gold medals or world records. But one day she will break a world record. For something. Maybe…

Emily Tillett


Coach Emily has always loved swimming and anything to do with water. From a very young age she took swim classes and swam in the ocean as much as possible. Growing up in Southern California, she played water polo and swam competitively for her high school swim team. She moved to Santa Monica in 2010 and began working at LA Surf and Swim in April of 2011. She has continued to work at LA Surf and Swim as much as possible over the past 3 years. She is currently finishing up her degree in Psychology from USC. She loves teaching kids to swim and inspiring them to love the water as much as she does!

Coach Dan

Coach Dan

Coach Daniel grew up in Manhattan Beach and had an early love for the water. Whether it be surfing in the ocean or swimming and playing water polo at Mira Costa High School, he has fostered his passion for being in and around the water throughout his life. After graduating from USC, he worked with youths on Catalina Island teaching all aspects of environmental education. When he is not in the water, he is taking courses in Graphic Design at OTIS in Westchester and enjoying his free time with friends and family. This is his first season with LA Surf & Swim.

Coach Daniella

Coach Daniella

Coach Daniella grew up in her parents home in the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic. She learned to swim at the age 2 and at the age of 5 started synchronize swimming. She went to high school in the state of Georgia where she was a part of her swim team. She recently moved to California and this is her first season with LA Surf and Swim.

Coach Elise

Coach Elise

Coach Elise grew up in the Bay Area and has loved swimming as long as she can remember (even with that Bay Area fog.) She started swimming on recreational teams in middle school and continued through her high school years. During high school she was also a lifeguard and swim instructor at her local pool, as well as captain of her sea scout crew. She recently graduated from USC with a degree in music. When not swimming, Elise enjoys going to the beach, playing music, and hanging with friends.

Bo Dierker

Coach Bo grew up in Lake Barcroft in Falls Church, Va. and was taught from a very young age to love and respect water. He enjoys sharing his love for water with others and takes pride in helping beginners sprout fins so they can safely enjoy the water as well. He recently moved to LA after graduating from George Mason University and is currently in his second season with LA Surf and Swim.

Kristen Smith

Kristen is a native Oregonian who practically lived in the water since the moment her parents plopped her into the pool as an infant. In high school she lettered in varsity swim team and swam so much she accidentally gave herself a dreadlock. She’s been lucky enough to scuba, snorkel, raft, water ski and surf all over the world. Her biggest dream is to sprout her very own pair of gills and mermaid tail…any day now.

Kyle Testman

Coach Kyle began to compete in water polo and swimming in 8th grade. He was a member of the CIF and California state championship swim team in 2009 at Capistrano Valley high school, specializing in freestyle and butterfly. After high school, Kyle continued to play water polo at LMU where he started and was all-conference for two years. He has taught swim lessons LMU swim camps in the summer and has coached water polo since graduating from LMU. Kyle will be starting a masters program at USC in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine this fall.

Lizzie Tillett


Coach Lizzie grew up in Southern California. She has loved swimming ever since she can remember. She is currently a student at Santa Monica College. Lizzie swam competitively and played water polo throughout high school. When not in the pool, she likes to go to the beach or hang out with her dog. She loves teaching kids how to swim because swimming was such a big part of her life growing up. She is currently in her first season with LA Surf and Swim.

Chase Wilt

Coach Chase has spent much of her life in the water. She started swimming competitively at the age of ten and swam until she began college. Throughout high school, Chase was a lifeguard and a swim instructor at her local pool club back in her hometown of Westchester, New York. Coach Chase has always loved working with kids and teaching them how to swim. Currently, she will be a senior at Loyola Marymount University and continues to swim recreationally. This is her first summer with La Surf and Swim.

John Landers

Coach John L is a graduate of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He is a former water safety director for a program in Sidney, New York. Coach John has been teaching ocean and swim lessons with LA Surf and Swim since 2012.

Mascot Booda

Booda grew up in Nashville, TN where he was adopted off the streets by his human companion, Coach Syd.

Joe Dungan

Coach Joe

After studying communications at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Joe moved to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry. In his off-time he enjoys going to concerts, snowboarding, and drawing.

Gear 4 Sale

SUP Boards

Ocean Gear

Pool Gear

SUP Boards in stock

New, Demos & Used


Skyrim board

9.3. x 28 x 4.25


Minor scratches & dings. Center fin included


Lines of Eternity

9 x 33 x 4.1


Excellent Condition, used as a demo board

Email us for availability

Ocean Gear

This is the ocean gear we have for sale:

Snorkel – it’s a basic snorkel – $20.00

Goggles - simple goggles! – $18.00


Contact us at ###-###-#### for purchasing information.

Pool Gear

This is the pool gear we have for sale:

Snorkel – it’s a basic snorkel – $20.00

Goggles - simple goggles! – $18.00


Contact us at ###-###-#### for purchasing information.