Additional menu

5 Tips That Will Fool Everyone into Thinking you are a Kickass Hawaiian Surfer

Who hasn’t swooned at Kelly Slater slashing up the sea, or fallen in love with Lani Doherty and her graceful twists and turns. They are bronzed gods from the planet of cool, effortlessly chill and with laid-back kudos points so far off the radar that they don’t even need to open their mouths to prove it.  If you’re wondering where the best surf spots in America are then check out this guide by Surfer Mag

The rest of us mere mortals are forever tripping over our own feet, stumbling over our own social awkwardness and flailing around the sea like useless pieces of kelp. Yet, once you adopt the surfer attitude, you can own that cool. And no, we are not talking about body snatching Laird Hamilton.  

Faking it till you make it is good advice.

Although, in the world of surfing, it’s probably more apt to say fake it til you drown.

Anyone who has manhandled a fiberglass and fin contraption in the waters will be aware of the dangers; black eyes, sliced up heads and looking like a real moron are just the beginning.

When it comes to one of the most famous Hawaiian activities, you are going to need to throw down some serious fakery to look like a world class surfer. Fortunately, we are here to deliver some tips on how to embrace your inner fraudster…

Walk the Walk

surfer in wetsuit

Let’s face it, no one is going to think you are a surfer, if you’re dressed in golf gear or wearing a pin stripe suit to the beach.

Now we know that, being on a trip to Hawaii, you are sure to have packed your board shorts, bikinis and floral shirts – but in the real world of surfing this isn’t going to cut it.

You need to differentiate your style from that of the bodyboarder, because no one wants to look like those dudes.  I mean, they can’t even stand up! Scoff scoff.

To get the true surfer look, you should simply don a wetsuit and strut about in it. If you can’t squeeze every orifice into the lashings of asphyxiating neoprene, then just wriggle half way in. You will look like you are about to hit the waves at a second’s notice, Even in the supermarket – a true surfer is always ready to throw down their basket and run screeching into the surf.

Just be sure to steer clear of these things below…

Talk the Talk

You will also stand out like a sore thumb in the beautiful surf spots of Hawaii, if you don’t use the right lingo.  

You may think that surfer talk is all about being gnarly, hanging ten or ripping up the white wash. But, this is so 2000 and late. Surf lingo has done a 180.  No longer is it cool to hash out words that make you sound like you are an extra in Bill and Ted. In fact, now its cooler to speak a little like a Charles Dickens character out in the lineup.  Check Surfline for the current surf reports and get ready to hang ten. 

Take note; that wave was absolutely spiffing.

Sorry for dropping in on you old chap.

Trust us on this.


Have your Excuses Ready

Let’s get this straight, surfers hang out at beaches with waves. Only if you are trying to fake it as a surfer without getting your hair wet, you need to have your excuses in the bag.

Hawaiian beaches are world famous when it comes to surf. From the iconic North Shore to the world class wonders of Waikiki, these sandy spots are thronged with thrusters, Rip curl pros and surf journos from across the planet.

Waimea Bay, North Shore

If you get lucky, no one will even spot that you haven’t yet taken a dip. Plonk yourself on the sand, half in your wetsuit and beg, borrow, steal or fashion a faux surfboard out of cardboard and prop it up next to you. Here are a few instructions on how to fashion a surfboard out of cardboard…

Whenever someone passes and gently inquires how the conditions are; you should have a script ready.

‘Just taking five bro’

‘It’s going off louder than bombs!’

‘Don’t want to over exert myself with the world championship this weekend’

They are totally going to buy it.  Meanwhile the pro tour will be watching you from helicopters tours that film surfers. 

Float About a Bit

This means finding the right beach where the waves are soft and gentle and not peaking much, (practically impossible on vacation in Hawaii, but worth a shot). Lie on the board and float about a bit with the nose pointing to shore.

If you have a smidgen of balance, you can even attempt to sit up on the board use the old hand across the forehead technique as though you are looking for that epic swell to come in.

Alternate between lying flat on your stomach, sitting and paddling about – do not try to stand. REPEAT do not try to stand – otherwise you will be found out in seconds flat.

After a while, you can come back to land and shake the salt from your hair, making loud exclamations about swell directions. No one will have a clue what you are talking about and will assume you are a bona fide surfer.

Unless there are actual bona fide surfers there, but odds are they will be on the beaches where there is surf. Here are a few spots probably teeming with newbies like you…

Give Up the Game and Find Something You Are Good At

Just a thought.

Maybe stop trying to pretend to be awesome at something you aren’t and use your holiday in Hawaii to wisely figure out what you are great at.

These pristine paradise islands are brimming with activities. You can climb volcanoes, go whale watching, trek through verdant rainforests, pick your own coffee beans and rappel down waterfalls.

After a holiday to Hawaii you won’t even need to fake being cool, you just will be cool automatically. It really is that simple.

Other than that, you can just take up surfing and Hawaii is the perfect place to start. If you need more encouragement as to why surfing is awesome – then check this out… or just try one of our Jet Ski Tours

(PS our fave reason is that you get to pee in your wetsuit and be proud of it).



  • Brian K

    Brian K has been a writer and publisher for 10+ years and has worked for LiveYourAloha as a freelance author and content manager for several of them. There's not much about Hawaii he can't tell you about!