Learning to surf Hawaiian-style

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of June 12-18, 1997
Honeymoon on the beaches of Fiji
Father/son canoe-camping in Canada
Avoiding black bears in the Porkies
Biking Moab in the August heat
Learning to surf Hawaiian-style

Learning to surf Hawaiian-style
Question: I want to spend a week in Hawaii learning how to surf. Can you recommend any outfits that provide daily or weekly classes on one of the less-developed beaches? Thanks.

Sandra Lee Messer
San Francisco, CA
[email protected]

Learn how to catch a wave at one of
the surf schools on Oahu or Maui

Adventure Adviser: Surf-N-Sea in Haleiwa, Oahu, is good for those who want to learn to surf but don't want the intensity of a weeklong bootcamp. In typical laid-back Hawaiian-style, all you have to do is show up at the shop at 1 p.m. any day of the week. The two-hour lesson costs $65 and here's the drill: Meet at the shop, get fit with a wetsuit and surfboard, and load into the vans. The class will usually take place at Haleiwa Beach Park unless the surf is too small. If that's the case, they'll take you to a secluded little cove next to the shop where the waves can get ripping big (2-3 feet) by beginner's standards .

The first half-hour of the lesson is spent on the beach, going over skills like how to paddle out to the wave, where to catch a wave, and how to read wind conditions. Another BIG section of the class is wave etiquette. For example, every surfer should know that if two people are going for the same wave, the one who gets to the steepest, most vertical part of the wave first, gets to ride it in. The other person has to back off. After etiquette, while still on the beach, you learn how to stand on the board. After you've mastered that important skill, you paddle out to catch your first wave and ride it in on your stomach. And finally, surf's up — it's just you and the wave, and a few of instructors pointing out ways for you to improve. For more information call 808-637-9887.

Nancy Emerson's School of Surfing in Lahaina, Maui, is the originator of the "Learn to Surf in One Lesson" concept. Emerson herself was a professional surfer and has placed in the top 10 of every surfing competition she's entered. Her school focuses on "the complete surfing experience" — water safety, ocean awareness, and wave conditions. Emerson offers group lessons at Lahaina and Kihei, as well as private lessons at Lahaina, Kihei, Hookipa, and Honolua Bay. Classes include one-hour, two-hour, all-day, three-day, five-day, or seven-day public or private lessons. Prices range from $50 to $1,800. Call 808-244-7873 for more details.

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