Surf Lessons in Waikiki
My dad was a huge Beach Boys fan, in fact he once claimed that he once surfed with them, which no one in our family believes. As a kid I had always dreamed of hitting the waves mentioned in their songs. However growing up in the midwest, we didn’t exactly get to the ocean too often. A few years ago my childhood dream to surf came true. We were to meet up with some of our best friends on the California coast and visit Pismo Beach. My friend grew up surfing and said he would be glad to show me the ropes. After grabbing a rental long board and squeezing into my wetsuit to avoid hypothermia, we hit the cold Pacific water. My instructions once we were beyond the break were:
- Wait for a wave.
- Paddle really hard.
- Stand up.
Easy enough right? No. A few hours later with dead arms I dragged the board to sand having not gotten up once. The few waves that I was close to catching tossed me like sea otter and nearly drowned me.
Fast forward 5 years to Oahu and Waikiki. When planning our trip I mentioned to Hilarye that I still hadn’t learned to surf and that the warm waters of Hawaii might be the right place to give it another try. However, this time I wanted it to be different I wanted lessons. Trying it alone wasn’t for me. I already knew that.
Enter Hans Hedemann Surf School. Hans Hedemann has two Oahu locations one happens to be located just at the end of Waikiki a short way from where we were staying. As I entered the shop I was enthusiastically greeted by the shop staff and quickly introduced to my classmates (5 others) and my instructors, two former mainlanders who opted for island living. After we were all setup with water shoes and a rash guards class began. A short in shop demo and practice round preceded the short walk to the beach and our class was ready to go. As we got in the water and I paddled out I continued to notice the stark contrast from my first surf attempt. On shore instruction, warm Hawaiian water not freezing cold Californian, even the surf break was easier to paddle through.
Past the break the class gathered again and one by one we were sent off on our first attempt to catch a wave. Finally my chance to salvage my surfing career had arrived. As my first wave approached I turned toward the shore. My instructor yelled “paddle” and I dug in as hard as I could. As the wave began to pick me up I heard more instruction from behind me “Stand Up!” I followed the steps we went over on shore and as quickly as I could and I stood up. I was surfing.
I spent the next 1.5 hours living a childhood dream and it was amazing. I can’t wait to surf again.
* My surf lesson was provided by the Oahu Visitors Bureau and Hans Hedemann Surf School. All opinions expressed and my new surf obsession are my own.