I have a goal. Someday, at some point in my life, I am going to head somewhere with great waves, rent a shack for a month or two, and surf every single day. At the end of the month I hope to emerge a decent enough surfer that along my travels, I can confidently rent a board for a day that combines two of my favorite things to do: being active and being in the water.
That day has not yet come. Thus far the ratio of times I’ve gone surfing to times I’ve sat on the beach and watched forlornly as others paddle out is about one to one billion. So when I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon taking a lesson with Maui Surf Girls and some of my #seeMaui team, I literally could not slap my rashguard on fast enough. (Which okay, isn’t actually that fast. Have you ever tried one of those things on? They are tight.)
Thus far my trip to Maui had been surprisingly un-aquatic, and I beamed happiness when we pulled up at the beach and plopped down for a theory lesson. My one and only previous surf lesson had been on the neighboring isle of Maui a year and a half ago, so I was definitely reader for a refresher.
Our two instructors Lucy and Kelly lived to the level of cool Blue Crush instilled in me regarding female surfers. My girl crush was officially cemented when, while describing why we don’t stand up out on the water, Lucy assured us that “there might be coral, and if you step on that coral it will not be stoked.”
I admit that I occasionally had trouble concentrating on the briefing, but I don’t think I can really be held responsible for that because ADORABLE WAVE CHASING DOG ALERT! See what I mean? How can anyone concentrate when this much cuteness is taking place? Luna is a big part of the Maui Surfer Girl family.
After practicing a few pop ups on the beach — where you go through the motions of popping into standing position on dry land to build muscle memory — it was time to ride. As we waded out, I confessed to Lucy my dream of really learning to surf someday, and her response was that all it really takes is dedication — and not wussing out on the paddling out part. Of course we were having this conversation just as my arm muscles were beginning to deteriorate into tissue paper and others in the group were taking advantage of tow-assisted paddling from the instructors. Not wanting to reveal my inner whiner quite so quickly, I responded enthusiastically that I absolutely loved upper arm workouts while silently weeping inside.
Guys. The arm burn is real!
What got me through was staring back at those West Maui mountains. Man, if there is a more scenic surf spot on this Earth please tell me. These following photos, courtesy of Chris at Captain and Clark, really sum up the beauty that was fueling me out on the board.
Because our timing wasn’t ideal — mornings are much calmer and better for beginners, Lucy explained — we spent a lot of time paddling against the current, which left us pretty exhausted. But I’m proud to say I was one of the last ones out of the water, catching every wave I could despite somewhat limited success.
I love these photos my girl Tawny caught from the beach on my final ride, but I highly recommend going for the upgrade to have a professional photographer attend your lesson like I did for my first lesson on Oahu. It’s $40 and they even throw in beach portraits too. Believe me, when you catch that wave, you’re going to want to commemorate the moment in the most sacred way possible — making it your Facebook profile picture.
When I finally paddled in I felt exhausted — and exhilarated. There is nothing like being out on the water, pushing your body to its limits, feeling connected to the sea, and staring out at beautiful mountains ahead. Oh, and being cheered on by an adorable surfing dog. That too.
I’m still looking forward to that month or two someday dedicated to nothing but waves. I’m still not sure when it will be or when it will take place, but I do know one thing for sure — Maui just made it to the short list.
Where would you head to learn to surf?
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Many thanks to the Maui Visitors Bureau and to Maui Surfer Girls for hosting me and showing me so much aloha. As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.