Day 3: Surfing
The decision has been made. When I die, I want to come back to earth as a surfer girl. I don’t know what my fascination is — other than surfers are just cool. It may also have to do with the reality show on MTV, Surfer Girls, that I watched religiously back in college, circa 2003. Does anyone remember that show?
When planning our Hawaii trip, Mikey and I immediately saw this as an opportunity to check the surfing item off the bucket list. We’d never stepped foot on a surfboard before, but Hawaii, with its world-renowned waves, was the perfect place to do it. And that’s what we did on Day 3 of our trip.
A few weeks before departing for the Land of Aloha, good old Groupon featured a voucher for the Island Style Surf School on Oahu’s North Shore. The deal was for a private two-hour lesson for two. We pulled trigger, bought the Groupon and booked the lesson over the phone once we arrived in Hawaii.
The site of surfing lesson was Chunn’s Reef, one of the many amazing beaches located on the North Shore. When it was time for our lesson to begin, we spotted our instructor, Felippa, and after introductions, she began the process of walking us through the safety instructions, surfing do’s and don’ts and how to paddle, pop-up and ride the wave on our boards. There was a lot to take in, especially her explanation about the currents. It didn’t help that rain clouds were quickly moving in, but eventually it was time to walk to the water’s edge and paddle out to some waves.
There were a number of other surfers out that morning. Everyone had to take turns catching a wave. I spent a decent amount of time paddling out, getting comfortable with how to maneuver my board to go left and right and generally trying to stabilize my board and prevent it from drifting away from the group.
As Mikey and I tried our first waves, the rain came. The winds were creating strange patterns with the current, but we still kept at it. Felippa kept a close eye on all our surroundings to ensure we were getting waves us beginners could handle.
And of course, Mikey, being the super athlete who excels at every sport whether he’s played it before or not, soon popped up on his board and rode his first wave. I eventually followed suit on my third try. Not bad! And although I probably only stood up for three seconds, I could feel and appreciate that momentous rush of rapid paddling, then giving way to the wave’s momentum — your signal that it’s time to pop up and ride out.
Shortly after, things started to go sour for me. Don’t let surfing fool you. It’s a major upper body workout. Paddling out was exhausting my little (let’s be honest — weak!) arms. While Mikey was catching his waves, I was trying my best to relax and catch my breath. But in doing so, the lull of the ocean kept steering me away from the group. And that constant lull was also making me feel weird. Nausea was kicking in. Ugggghhhh.
Mikey asked Felippa for a time check. We’d been in the water for an hour and a half. So I made the decision to paddle back in and get my body back to normal. Mikey stayed in and caught a few more waves. He also spotted two gigantic sea turtles underneath him while out on his board. I was jealous. (He got to surf with sea turtles!) But I was glad to have my bearings back on solid ground.
So as it turns out, I’m not very good at surfing. Even though the waves were bitty, my body wasn’t too happy with the up-and-down motion of the ocean. Which sucks. But at least I tried it, and I got up on the board. And that’s not to say I won’t try it again. If I ever get the opportunity to do another lesson at a cheap, affordable price, I would definitely get out there again. Besides, I invested in a rash guard (an athletic shirt for water sports). I need another excuse to wear it!
In the meantime, I’ll continue to get my surfer fix by watching movies like Blue Crush and Soul Surfer. My body might just be better suited for the couch.