Have you ever had inkling to pick up surfing as a hobby? Or perhaps just try it once and put it on that list of yep, I’ve done that? Then the island of Oahu in Hawaii is the place to do that. Waikiki Beach is the best place for beginners to learn to surf. You may be picturing the lonely deserted beach pictured in the 1950’s Gidget or Elvis movies. But, I have to tell you that Waikiki Beach has changed a lot since those days.
Waikiki Beach is located in Honolulu, picture a miniaturized New York City located in paradise complete with palm trees, because after all, Honolulu is a city. The beach is narrow and very crowded, and with good reasons… the waves. The waves are typically small and very long. You can ride them all the way into the beach with plenty of time for beginners to get used to the feel of the wave. There are tons of places on Waikiki to take surf lessons. Just walk down the beach and take your pick, usually you don’t have to make reservations because these are just guys on the beach teaching lessons… i.e. bring cash. Because of the fierce competition amongst the “surfing schools” you can usually get a pretty good deal on the lessons.
If you are just learning to surf you should stay here in Waikiki. However, it is worth a trip to the North Shore just to see how the other half lives. It’s amazing to see world famous surfers riding the waves at Waimea Bay or at the pipeline. It looks like something out of the movies. The beaches are crowed with by standers and photographers. They watch in awe as these amazing athletes ride waves as high as thirty feet. But a warning to those daring novices… do not try to surf the waves here. The can be treacherous. In fact drowning is the number one accidental death in Hawaii. This probably comes as no surprise because the entire state is surrounded by water.
Rip currents are one danger to Hawaiian visitors. They are fast flowing currents that can drag swimmers out into deeper parts of the ocean. If you get caught in a rip current, don’t fight the current. You should swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current, and then swim safely into shore. Undertows are another dangerous factor while visiting Hawaii. If you get caught in an undertow, (you will feel the wave pull you out to sea) just go with the flow of the wave until it passes. Then you should be able to swim out of it. Don’t let the beautiful waters fool you; they can be deadly if not taken seriously.
Heed the warning, but try not to get discouraged. There are plenty of places in Hawaii for beginners to surf. If you do not get your fill while visiting the world famous Waikiki Beach, you may want to try one of the other islands. All of the other islands will have some beginner friendly waves to offer.