The morning after I spent watching the beautiful sunset and playing under the full moon, I woke up early and was off to my surf lesson!!
I was so excited :D a little nervous, but mostly excited. I mean, how often do you get to have a surf lesson in Hawaii?! Technically, this wasn't my first time surfing...I had gone with a few friends the summer before my freshman year of college, but that was NINE YEARS ago! I feel like that's long enough to completely forget what you learned, right??
After fueling up on fruit, I grabbed my backpack and started the walk to the bus stop. I had checked the bus route and schedule the night before and would arrive at Kalama Beach Park with plenty of time to walk around, find the Waves Surf School van, apply sunscreen, fill up my water bottles and get all signed in and ready for the lesson!
I got to the park around 9:15am and WOW!! It was already SO full of life! Families and groups of friends were gathered in the park enjoying the beautiful weather and each other's company. People were roller blading, skate boarding, walking and biking along the pathway beyond the park and right along the sand. When I got to the edge of the sand, tons of beginner surfers were already out on the water. And I mean tons...
Look at them all! My nerves actually settled a little at this point–the waves weren't the huge, strong waves I was used to seeing back at home or like any of the waves I had seen so far in Maui. I was SO relieved! These waves were the bunny slope equivalent for the ocean and I definitely could handle these ;)
I headed to a shady spot in the park under a huge tree, applied sunscreen and took in all of my new surroundings–the aliveness, the beauty, all of it. I felt so grateful to be there. Grateful for the bus system, grateful for the recommendation for this surf school, grateful for having the allotment of time to wander around and do my own thing before the lesson started, grateful for getting to see a new area and grateful to do something different!
Oh and did I mention how many surf school vans were in the parking lot?! Man oh man! There were probably more than a dozen. I had passed the Waves Surf School van while I was walking around, so I knew where to go thankfully. I definitely didn't want to be wandering around looking like a lost tourist :P I signed in, got a rash guard and some booties, then waited for the rest of the group to arrive and the lesson to start. The instructors started setting up boards on the grass for our land lesson and we lined up. The group was pretty big actually! There were two families, a couple from New York and me :D
The land lesson was pretty basic–how to position yourself on the board, paddle, push up over waves and how to pop up to standing from lying down. And then it was time to head to the water!! We paired up and carried two boards, one under each arm with one person at the nose of the board and the other near the fin. Once we were in the water, the instructors had us stop to put our leashes on, then we proceeded to walk out and then paddle!
I was one of the first ones to go...and I stood up!! I rode almost all the way back to shore! It was AMAZING!!! I stood up the next few tries, too! I was having an absolute BLAST!
I even threw up a shaka in that second one! ^^
As time passed, I started to get tired and kept wiping out...I had quite the flurry of falls. In one of my last rides, I somehow wiped out ONTO my board. OUCH!! Thankfully the boards were foam so it wasn't too painful.
What made it even more fun was the people in the group! The couple was having a great time and were a lot of fun to talk to and one of the families was super nice; I got along really well with the mom! She was so awesome. And what was even more amazing was seeing TURTLES!! I'm pretty sure it was the same turtle that kept coming near me, but it was really special. He probably came by me 3 or 4 times! I kept trying to point him out to the couple and the mom who I befriended, but they always just missed him. I was like a little kid seeing a superhero in person...every time Mr. Turtle popped his head up, I pointed and jumped up and down in absolute glee. As if surfing in Hawaii wasn't already memorable, seeing a turtle within arms reach multiple times made the experience even more unforgettable.
By the end of the two hours, we were all WIPED. My last wave, I wiped out pretty quickly, but I decided to try and catch my own wave ;) to somewhat redeem myself. And I actually did it!! I stood for just a few moments, but I caught the wave all on my own! I promised myself right then and there that I would try surfing again in CA. There won't be any turtles, but it's such a great workout and time flies by whenever I'm in the water...I can't just give up on something like surfing, especially when I live so close to the beach.