My two sons (10 and 14) and I (Dad - 46) spent a great day in Haleiwa and learned to surf with the North Shore Surf Girls. It was terrific and the highlight of our spring break week in Hawaii. I booked online and reserved a two hour private famly lesson. Just like the website says, we met Carol behind the 76 station and next to the blue shrimp truck. We followed her by car on a three minute drive to the beach. At the beach, the boards were laying down on the sand. Carol gave us a 15 minute tutorial on how to position our bodies on the boards, paddle and stand up. Vai took over as our instructor in the water. We took turns surfing so it was one person at a time next to Vai. The other two would be floating nearby on our surfboards. Vai wore fins and while waiting on a wave, she would either sit on her board next to the student who was about to surf or she would be in the water holding on. Once she would see a good wave coming, she would show us, tell us to start paddling, help push us forward by kicking behind us, and then let us go. We had never surfed before, but each of us got up on the first or second try. Vai was incredibly positive and terrific with the kids. We will never forget her voice in the water -- "Start paddling! Paddle, paddle, paddle! GO!" It helped to have her voice cue while feeling the wave propel the board forward. Vai also took the time to talk about what to look for when choosing a wave and basic surfing etiquette. She paid great attention to the kids -- especially when my 10 year old began to tire.
All in all it was a terrific day. We saw sea turtles swimming around us while we were surfing. We ate at one of the shrimp trucks, looked in a few shops and even drove over to the Banzai Pipeline before our lesson for inspiration. One thing to warn about is that we all got board rash on the inside of our thighs, just above our knees. It came from climbing on to the board in the water and straddling it while waiting. We had rash guards for our upper bodies, but not our lower bodies. Board shorts don't protect against this. Vai told us to use A & D ointment (diaper rash creme) and that fixed it up, but it was uncomfortable. When we go back next year, we will definitely wear some kind of wet suit that covers our upper legs.
The North Shore Surf Girls did a great job. I asked my kids what they liked best about our trip to Oahu and they both said "surfing!" I was glad because before the lesson they were both nervous that our instructor would be 'too cool' to have a genuine interest in teaching them, but they absolutely loved Vai.
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