Hawaii, Kauai, Travel

A Hawaiian Legend

I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled Bangkok programming because today is a special day in the surfing world — it’s the Father of Surfing’s birthday! Hau’oli la Hanau Duke Kahanamoku!!


To celebrate this legend, I thought I’d recap my first surfing experience on our first visit to Kauai back in 2009. At that time, I never would have guessed that these enchanting islands would become so engrained in our lives over the next six years, but with each visit our ties grow stronger and the Island’s call becomes louder.

I swam in the ocean for the first time when I was seven years old, and ever since that day I’ve wanted to learn how to surf.

As surfing began in Hawaii, I felt it was only appropriate to try surfing for the first time in this iconic atmosphere. So when we traveled to Kauai back in 2009, surfing was at the top of my “to-do” list. On the morning of my surf lesson, we woke up early and drove North heading towards Hanalei Bay, near Princeville. The drive was absolutely amazing: lush, green foliage surrounded the road at times, and the one-lane bridges really made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere. (I guess we kind of were, after all, we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!)

North Shore Drive-Kauai

Photo Credit

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Hanalei Bridge

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Hanalei Bay

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We arrived at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures and met the surf instructor, and as we grabbed the surfboards and our rash guards, I could barely contain my excitement! I was finally going to learn how to surf! There was one other student scheduled that morning, so the semi-private lesson was awesome. We spent the first part of the two-hour lesson learning how to read the waves in order to time the ride correctly, reviewing proper surfing technique, and then went over ocean safety.

The time came to put our new knowledge to the test and as I paddled into the wave I was able to stand up and ride the wave into the beach. I’m sure my smile was ear-to-ear. I paddled back out to the instructor as fast as possible so I could ride as many waves as time would allow.

The morning was overcast, and the waves might not have been as big as I’d hoped, but the fact that I was able to get up on the board and steer through the waves was exciting to me.

I was trying to steer away from the sandbar in this one!

Surfing Collage 2

After a morning of surfing, we drove over to Tunnels Beach–one of my favorite North Shore Kauai beaches, bought a shave ice, a snack, and then relaxed the afternoon away on the beach.

Have you tried surfing? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

6 thoughts on “A Hawaiian Legend”

  1. Great stuff and a great site, Krystle. Thanks for swinging by mine. I’m currently in Hawaii, and toasted the Duke at many a Honolulu dive bar last night. The more you learn about the man, the more you want to know.

    Good luck and safe travels.

    –Nick Fox

    1. Hi Nick,
      Thanks for stopping by. You are so lucky to be in Hawaii right now, I’m hoping to call Hawaii “home” in the near future as well. Duke and Eddie are two men that I enjoy reading and learning about. The more I learn the more I want to know. They are so captivating. 🙂
      Safe travels to you.

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