It is SO easy to go to Hawaii and just chill. Completely relax on the beach, or by the pool. But… don’t ya sometimes want a little more action? I discovered that you can have balance – relax, AND do something out of the ordinary.. even when you bring the kids.
During the next week or two, my posts will reveal some fun things to do with (or without) your kids on the island of Oahu. Oahu is MUCH more than Waikiki (thank goodness.) You can spend a week there and never even visit Waikiki and still see beautiful beaches. No offense to those who love Waikiki – it just has become overrun with tourists and very very commercial.
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu with Diamond Head in background
One of my very favorite things to do in Hawaii, and you can do this on most Hawaiian islands, is to take a surf lesson if you aren’t already a skilled wave rider. There are a few different groups who teach – some are stationed right on the beach of Waikiki. But it is always best to try and reserve a lesson in advance with a phone call because lessons do fill up. I have used Ty Gurney Surf School twice now and had a blast. They make standing up on the board seem so easy, and are patient, encouraging teachers…plus just a plain fun bunch of guys. www.tygurneysurfschool.com
You first get an instruction on dry land of where to lay on your board when you paddle, how you stand up, and where you put your feet. move . Then it’s time to paddle out.
The lesson comes with a surfboard… Beginners get a long board, with a soft top like the one above. TIP: You WILL feel sore the next day. It is quite a work out, even though you don’t realize it because you are having too much fun.
Since the waves break pretty far out off the Waikiki shore, you gotta paddle a while. The guys had to tow me at one point so we could actually catch some waves before my one hour lesson ended. It is truly amazing to see how these guys pulled me out – me, laying on my board, with one instructor laying on his board right ahead of me, so I am looking a the bottom of his feet. His toes are securely wedged onto my board, pulling me – with the sheer strength of his toes!! Seriously – even when we went through waves head on to get out farther, his toes still stayed attached to my board!!
Once we got far enough out, the instructors helped me read the waves. In my experience Waikiki is a great place to learn because the waves aren’t too big, and they come in rapid sets. Once the boys decided the wave was a good one, I had to face the shore and paddle. The most valuable thing the instructors do is give you a little push at that point so you can “catch” the rhythm of that wave… then standing up on the board is “all you.”
TIP: You have more time than you would think to stand up – don’t be impatient and rush it.
Once you get it, it is exhilarating and addictive. And that’s good… because Ty Gurney offers you a surf photographer to document your little adventure. James of 83 East Productions was fun and never got in my way (smart guy avoiding the rookie) – so much so that I didn’t think he was even taking photos of me. If you can afford it, I would buy the video/photo package if you take the lesson. Even if you have someone on shore taking pictures, they would never be as close up as these, for example. He shoots video too!! Super fun.
You GOTTA check out the surfing bulldog on his YouTube page. I wish I could embed it here. www.youtube.com/83eastproductions
Incorporating lessons would make a great girls trip… or a gift for someone’s special birthday. It’s never too late to try something new. There are kids lessons too! Yes, your kids should be strong swimmers.
TIP: What to wear:
–The heaviest sunscreen you can find, then layer it with make up. You can get really scorched and not realize it while you are out there for a while.
–Rash guard is appropriately named. Wear one. The friction of your body against the board every time you move on it causes an annoying rash – feels kinda like a rug burn. If you have a wetsuit, that would be the ultimate protection.
–Beware of your feet too… I know it is only best to wear surf booties in cold water, but I thrashed my toes from the friction of transitioning from laying on my board, to sliding my feet into standing position.
Most important tip: Have fun! Everyone learns at a different pace so don’t expect to stand up your first wave. Remember, we all take our spills so hang in there 🙂