When I fell skiing a few weeks before we went to Hawaii, I struggled to get back to my feet. Once I regained my footing, all I could think about was the family surfing lesson I had booked for our vacation to Maui, and how it was going to be impossible.
If I couldn’t muster the core strength to pull myself to my feet with ski poles on a slope, how was I going to go from belly on a board to hanging ten?
I wasn’t optimistic I would make it happen, but the lessons were booked regardless.
About to go surfing for the first time ever. This could be exhilirating and awesome or painful and embarrassing. There will be no in between.
— Buzz Bishop (@buzzbishop) February 13, 2019
Zacharie is really the one who wanted to go surfing. We had promised him lessons on a trip to Australia in 2016, but he got grounded while on the trip and the lessons got cancelled. So when he found out there was a chance to learn to surf in Maui, he begged for a second chance.
After poking around through Trip Advisor reviews for beginner surfing lessons in Kihei, I landed on The Surf Shack Maui. It’s a little shop across the street from Kalama Park, a popular place to learn to surf in Maui as its very wide with a gentle break. They offered small classes and a guarantee that if you didn’t get up during your lesson, you could come back for a second chance for free.
Oh, and here’s a bonus: it’s home to a surfing dog! Check out Church, the resident Staffordshire Bull Terrier who is a trained therapy dog and loves to hang out on the board.
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We started with some lessons in the shop. We learned how to paddle, how get up, and how to stand.
It all seemed very straightforward, but I was suspicious that standing would be impossible.
Our day went a little sideways when we got to the water. For about a year, Charlie has had much trepidation when trying new things. He works himself up in a fearful fit of anxiety and completely closes off.
He’s had trouble on high diving boards, in kayaks, on golf courses, skiing, and snorkelling. All of the fears, however, were able to be pushed away once he had a bit of success. He crushed all those things he was afraid of once he saw it wasn’t so bad.
I thought the same would happen with surfing, but his hysterics wouldn’t wane. Jay, our instructor, was extremely patient and let Charlie ride on the end of his board, even getting him to stand up before he’d had enough.
While Charlie waited on the shore, the rest of us took turns hitting knee high waves. Jay was great, launching us into the oncoming waves so we didn’t have to paddle and chase.
Zacharie got up with ease, my wife hit a couple of waves no problem, while I took a few more tries to figure it out.
My first attempt (video below), was tragic. I barely got to my knees. Once I ditched the GoPro on the shore, however, things got easier.
I got up once, twice, about four separate times. Now I didn’t cut a break or do anything fancy, but .. as per the Surf Shack Maui guarantee .. I got up and surfed!
Our morning was a little dank and cold, so after our two hour lesson, we were done for the day. On a future escape to Hawaii though, I’d take another lesson, and maybe even rent a board to ride on my own!