Thursday, June 19, 2014

Learning to surf in Kauai



Being from New Jersey, surfing is not something most kids learn how to do growing up. Our ocean water is rough, brown, and cold, which aren't the most attractive conditions to make anyone want to give it a try. Hawaii, however, is one of the first locations that come to mind when people think of surfing, and is that cliche item on many bucket lists. Of course it was on mine as well and something I have always really wanted to try, but I was hesitant to give it a go as an adult. As the week wore on and we got to Kauai, I became even more hesitant as I was worried I would be in a group lesson full of kids that were surfing circles around me as I humiliated myself by failing to stand up on the board.
Luckily, Brian knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't at least give a shot, and urged me to inquire about a lesson in this small shop behind Poipu beach. We learned it was a slow time of year, being the week after Thanksgiving, and that so far no one else had signed up that day. The probability that I would end up with a private lesson for a group rate was enough for me to sign up, and it worked out because it really did end up being just me and the instructor! It was a little bit pricy at $75 for an hour lesson, but it was still a deal as private lessons were going for $100+ per person.
 
poipu beach kauai
Poipu beach - not a bad place to learn!



We started out on the beach where the instructor laid out this humungous yellow surf board and demonstrated the proper stance, then watched as he had me practice a few times, giving me corrections. Everyone learning to surf starts out with the biggest board as it is the easiest to balance on and as you improve, you move to smaller and smaller boards. Standing up on the board was really a series of steps that, when performed in order and with some ability to balance, had you up and riding a wave in no time. Thankfully I had been doing P90x yoga once a week for a few months before this and my balance was at its best!
surfing kauai
The surf board is twice my size!
surfing kauai
Carrying the board to the ocean may have been the hardest part of surfing for me!
The sequence of events went like this: spot a good wave in the distance, start paddling fast, when you feel the wave catch up to you and start to take the surf board you position your feet and slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) start to stand.
 By following these steps and with the help of my instructor calling out when to stand, I was able ride a wave on my very first attempt!! I proceeded to stand and surf every wave I attempted thereafter, falling only once when I tried to look cool for the camera (Brian was taking some video) and stopped paying attention. Of course, the waves were on the tiny side and I was riding them to shore, but since I was originally worried I wouldn't be able to stand up at all, I was super proud that I got the hang of it.
Here am I catching one of my very first waves:

After the hour lesson was up, you have the surf board rental for another hour where you can practice by yourself to see if you really have it... I caught 2 more waves, and then had to stop as we had to head back to our ship.
 In all honesty, this was probably one of the most fun things I have ever done as an adult. My only regret was that I never tried it sooner, as I probably could have been good at it as a child
If you are reasonably fit, and want to learn, go for it! You won’t be the first adult to attempt it!

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