Surfing in Waikiki
Wiped out! That’s what I am. Not in the traditional surfer ‘wiped out’ way. Wiped out as in exhausted. I’m aching and hurting all over, I think in places that I didn’t even know existed! What a crazy activity surfing is. As is the case with anything new you learn, you come out the other end with either a new skill or an appreciation for those who have the skill. In my case, I definitely can’t say I’ve mastered it, but I’ve got a couple of achievements I can speak of. More so however is the appreciation and respect I have for anyone who can surf. And I mean really surf. Not the little things I was learning on today that I was afraid of. I think the Roxy Pro might be out of my league for some time to come yet !
I dreamed last night of all the things that could happen to me when I attempted to surf for the first time. So consequently I woke up feeling a little uneasy about my first venture into the ocean with a surfboard. Stirling, my husband assured me that I would be fine, and given he has surfed a bit in his younger days, I was happy to have him alongside me.
First up – hire a board
Koa Board Sports was our hiring place of choice, located right next door to the Seashore where we are staying. I think the guy knew I hadn’t touched a board in my life the moment he laid eyes on me but he was very kind for keeping it a secret. I got myself a 9 footer, Stirling an 11, paid our $40 to hire them both for half a day (6 hours). We did the obligatory signing of the waiver to cover them if you hurt, maim or do worse to someone else or yourself, and then strode off into the streets of Oahu, bound for central Waikiki Beach. For me it was an achievement just to get the board to water, as it became like a untethered missile in the strong offshore wind. My little arms were barely able to wrap themselves over the board enough to hold on tight. Nonetheless I made it and soon I had the leg rope wrapped snugly around my leg and we were off.
Waikiki is a great place to start
Learning to surf at Waikiki is a great place for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are heaps of others like you, jumping on a board for the first time and attempting to stand up on it. As such, the beach is full of sympathetic people, ready to give out a cheer to those who have tried and tried again, and then suddenly find their feet. Secondly, it’s a wide beach, with plenty of room for swimmers and boarders. Lastly, the waves really are quite kind.
Sitting on the board way out off the shore, I took a detailed safety lesson from Stirling. So many things to think of, I wasn’t comfortable that I was going to be able to remember them all as the waves started to crash down on me. I truly was worried about hitting him, me or someone else with an out of control board, and I was worried about getting knocked out. I managed to get up and over the first couple of waves, as I mastered the art of paddling on my stomach and keeping the board tip upright. I am a complete loser when it comes to paddling whilst sitting up. No matter how fast, or in what direction I use my arms and legs, I just go nowhere.
Catching my first wave
The first wave I caught in, on my stomach, started off well as I launched at the right point and was soon on top and skimming along. Stirling said he saw the front of my board dig into the wave and knew I was heading over the side, but it all happened so fast for me to be able to correct it. Suddenly my nice ride on top of the wave turned into wash and I was upside down and every other way under the water. I remembered Stirling telling me I had to push the board away if that happened, and I don’t know whether I actually did or it was just good luck. I also understood at that point the reason for the leg rope. As annoying as it is to wear, it really does save it from spearing off onto someone else. Up above the water I came, located my board, and did a quick check that I could still see. Yep, contact lenses intact and no major injuries for me. That’s a bonus.
Stirling did really well for someone who hadn’t surfed for years and managed a number of ‘stand ups’.
I was quite happy sitting on the board, in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, taking in the view from the Pink Palace to Diamond Head and hanging with the local surfing community. Eventually though, I was rewarded for my watching and waiting and with a bit of a helping hand from behind, I was off and on a wave and standing up “hangin’ ten’ as they say ! Woohoo. It may not have been stylish but it drew a cheer from a group nearby and I had succeeded doing something that I didn’t think I would be able to.
All good things must come to an end
After three hours of good fun our bodies decided that it was time to quit the water. We had a marvelous time, had so much fun and remained relatively injury free, save for my left ankle which took a hit from my own fin. Now it was time to come ashore, looking a little less like a newbie, wash the boards off and return them to their boardracks back at the hire shop.