When we were in Hawaii a few months ago, Grace convinced me to go surfing. Well, Grace asked, and Carl convinced me to go….not only to allow Grace to go, but to GO with her and try to surf too! I have to admit that it was some of the best hours I have ever spent in the ocean. Initially I didn’t want to do it, for a few reasons. One of the main ones being that it wasn’t a cheap outing. It was rather pricey…but as I looked at Grace’s face when she asked…I mean really and truly looked at her…..how could I possibly say no?
All she was doing was asking me to make one of her dreams come true.
How often do we, as parents, honestly get to watch our children attempt something that they’ve only dreamed about? I cried. Seriously. I felt so incredibly blessed that I could provide and take part in something that meant so much to my girl. And it made my day that she was excited to share it with me!
So, off we went. I booked at a place that was suggested to me by a local barista and was happy with the entire day. The process was easy. I called up, asked for a private lesson for two and gave him a credit card to hold our spot. We strolled in early in the morning and had our thirty minute safety meeting with our surfing instructor, Chaac. (pronounced Chock) He was awesome. Funny, charming, and very ”surfer” looking. It was obvious that he loved teaching what he loved to do. We practiced popping up on the board and not paddling with ”dinosaur arms”. And during that half hour we learned where he got his nickname. I guess he used to pray for rain in the mornings and had his little prayer circle in his yard. Well, since his name was Charles/Chuck, calling him Chaac wasn’t too far of a stretch…plus Chaac is a Mayan rain deity. Very fitting if you ask me 🙂
Anyway, we headed over to the protected cove off Alii Drive and got ready to hit the waves. This was the perfect beginner spot. Kahalu’u Beach Park. It’s a moon shaped beach that is mostly protected from the surf except for a portion on the far right side. It’s where everyone goes to learn to surf (or snorkel or paddleboard).
Chaac got us in the water and paddling out towards the waves and in no time we were going for it. I learned that the key to picking a wave is reading the waves. However, that’s something that takes time and experience…so for the foreseeable future we’ll be using instructors whenever we attempt surfing. As far as actually riding, the key is going for it. You have to paddle for all you’re worth and as soon as you feel the wave take control, you have to let it. I think that’s the hardest part for me…committing to releasing control to the wave. Not like I actually have any real control while attempting to stand on top of a foam board out in the middle of the ocean, right?! However, I tried. Once I felt the wave take control of me and my board I tried to stand up…and tried, and tried, and tried. I got to my knees quite often, but my feet were like an alien world. And trying to stand on them was as unlikely as me meeting the president. I eventually was able to hang ten for about three very unstable seconds, and it was AWESOME! The rest of the time Chaac focused on Grace and she was able to catch a wave at the end, too. It was wonderful to watch. I took a few moments and sat on my board with my feet dangling in the water and just took in the moment. The weather was cloudy but warm, there were beautiful brightly colored fish darting around my feet, and my daughter was living her dream, out loud. We both got out of the water on shaky legs and had ear to ear grins plastered on our faces. It was one of the most amazing days ever!
Grace and I were tired and hungry after our two hours of chasing waves there on the beach in Kona, Hawaii. And completely happy. I can’t really explain how it felt to spend an afternoon in the waves. As I sit here and think about what to compare it to all I can come up with is when I finished my first half marathon. It was a feeling of exhaustion that rode along the road of satisfaction. It’s more about doing and less about winning. Yeah, I only caught ONE wave for a smidgen of a moment, but I did it. I got off my butt and went out and shared a ”first time” with one of the most special people I know. That’s what keeps life exciting you know….I think as we get older we stop experiencing anything new. After doing this, I can’t imagine not ever experiencing the thrill of something new ever again.
It’s funny… I find myself dreaming of that moment over and over again. It was only about three seconds, but it was as if I had stepped into one of those eternal moments that you spend your life trying to recapture. It was something that caught me, and it’s memory beckons me with a slow shaka wave, inviting me to come and play again. Surfing. At my age. Who knew?!
Of course, this changes that whole theory we had of never living near the coast again..cause Grace and I both think it’s something we’d like to do again (and again, and again, and again!).
I hope to have more posts coming…but please be patient friends, our internet is few and far between! But for now, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe and happy moments in the days to come!