Surfs Up

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has been going on here in Hawaii this month. The competition is a series of surfing events, the most recent one being the Hawaiian Pro at Hale’iwa Ali’i Beach on the north shore. Since we have no jobs and nothing to do we decided to take a day and head up there.

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It was a three hour bus ride from where we’re staying. As the crow flies it’s actually quite close, but we have to go around the mountain. Despite the length of the ride, it was nice to see some other parts of the island, and Hale’iwa was a lovely town.

Watching the surf competition was entertaining. We enjoyed seeing the tricks that the surfers pulled off, and I can always appreciate a sport that I can watch while working on my tan. Another upside to attending a surfing competition is that it is completely free to attend. You don’t need to buy tickets or pay an admission fee–just show up and claim a spot on the beach.

A week or so before attending the competition we took a stab at surfing ourselves. We went through Gift Surf School in Waikiki. The school doesn’t have any set prices. Their premise is that you take a lesson, then after the lesson you pay whatever you think is fair. People who can afford to pay more pay more, and people who can’t pay less. In the end it evens itself out. So we went into it thinking we would pay less since we are travelling on a budget. It didn’t work out that way, though, because we felt guilty after the instructor told us that people typically pay $50-80 per lesson.

Our instructor was a friendly young man from Peru, and there was only one other person in our class. One of the benefits of the Gift Surf School is that the classes never have more than five students. We spent two hours surfing small waves then paddling back to the instructor for pointers and to be guided to another wave. To me it seemed similar to snowboarding, but much more enjoyable because it doesn’t hurt when you fall. Because it was so fun, we’ve decided to add a few days in Bali to practice a little bit more!

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