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Learn How to Surf in Hawaii Like a Natural

How Not to Look Ridiculous When Learning to Surf in Hawaii

Hawaii surf package, Everyone thinks surfing is cool.

The sun bleached tousled hair, the sun kissed skin, the lithe and limber body dancing on water. Throw into the mix dawn awakenings, beers at sunset and forever being around others who are young and beautiful – who wouldn’t want to claim a piece of that life for themselves???

But, really surfing is far from cool.

Surfers pee in their wetsuits, get smashed on the head, have salt water and snot forever gushing out of their noses and, above all else, totally think they are cool. We all know that the only way to truly be cool is not to think you are cool. This piece helps to point out these flaws further…

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However, when in Rome…well when in Rome you may want to eat pasta, get drunk on red wine and stalk the pope. But, when on holiday in Hawaii, you will surely want to try your hand at surfing and odds are you will want to attempt to look a little bit cool.

We are here to help. Most newbs in the surfing world stand out from a mile away, but kudos points for actually being in the water. It’s those that wear board shorts and T-shirts saying ‘I’d rather be surfing’, who come from inland Oregon and have never tried to squeeze their thighs into neoprene who are the true shake your head in disappointment characters here.

To help you look cool –  well tepid, at least out in the water, take a look at our top tips for not looking like a complete buffoon when on a surfing trip in Hawaii.

Don’t Learn on a Thruster Board with Flames

Surf boards

Of course, you aren’t going to attempt to surf with a pair of skis or a floating wardrobe.  You know that if you want to try surfing, you will need a board.

But, there are zillions of boards.  They come in a gazillion shapes and sizes and they all act in different ways. The fastest way to feel like a forehead slapping idiot is to try surfing for the first time on a 6ft thruster.

For beginners, there is a short, solid rule – or should we say a long and soft rule. Basically, get a floating wardrobe. Well not actually, but something that resembles one. Opt for a soft foam board (so that if it smashes you on the head and it probably will, you aren’t knocked out cold), and also choose something long and wide.

We know that the short board with flames looks cool.  We also know that the guy / girl working in the surf shop is hot and when they asked if you had surfed before, you couldn’t help but to shrug nonchalantly and say ‘sure.” But, we beg you, get the right surfboard.

Don’t Run Over Swimmers Because You Have No Spatial Awareness

When you sit at a dinner table, you know the score – elbows off, mouth closed to chew and no slurping your spaghetti. Surfing is no free for all – it also comes with a social etiquette.

Knowing the unwritten rules will help you to slot right into the water.  Well, actually, it won’t, but it will ensure that you don’t seriously annoy the hell out of your fellow surfers and will allow you to try surfing with your dignity intact.

Spatial awareness is the number one rule to remember. You may be sun dazed and stoked to be surfing on vacation in Hawaii, but this doesn’t mean that you should succumb to tunnel vision. Be aware, at all times, of who and what is around you. The last thing that you want is to mow down a bunch of OAP swimmers, because that will certainly kill your buzz.

Also, if someone is already riding a wave, paddling for a wave or totally visually considering taking a wave – then you leave that wave alone. You don’t want to relive that scene in Point Break (the original – always the original), between Warchild and Johnny Utah – AKA Antony Kiedis and Keanu Reeves.

Do Blend in by Surrounding Yourself with Other Silly People

group of people surfingOdds are that you really won’t be able to avoid looking a little like an idiot. You are going to wobble, fall and wipe out a thousand times.  But, you will probably do it all laughing – because surfing is so much fun.

There is no better way to soften the blow of looking silly in public than to surround yourself with others who also look silly. This is why taking a lesson or a Hawaii surf package is such a grand spanking idea.

Not only will you blend in with a crowd of silly looking people all doing the same thing, but you will also have someone (a surf instructor) watching your back and making sure that you don’t go down deep into Davey Jones’ locker.

Also, you are sure to seriously underestimate how utterly awesome you will feel to have someone cheer and whoop at your first stand up. You will even leave the water having adopted terms like ‘rad’ and ‘gnarly,’ as you high five your instructor.

Do Realize That Burning Shame Can Be Washed Away With Laughter

Don’t Take Yourself Seriously

No one looks more ridiculous than the person who falls down and can’t laugh at themselves.

In surfing, you fall down a lot. Everyone does.  You immediately need to get over the burning shame and humiliation and simply crack a smile and get back on your board.

Surfing is about having fun, not scowling and trying to look super cool as you cruise effortlessly to shore. Also, look around you, you are splashing in the white water at the best Hawaii beaches! The sky is blue, the sea is bluer and you trying to tame Mother Nature’s wildest spirit.

Super serious surfers are bores – probably due to a lifetime of having to wake up extra early, share their patch of fun with other angry surfers and rely on temperate weather and tidal systems. Our advice is grab a board, even if it’s just a bodyboard, and go have a ball, not even giving it a second thought if you fall.



  • Elizabeth L

    Aloha! I’m Elizabeth L. At LiveYourAloha, I am responsible for writing about sightseeing tours and Hawaiian culture. For the last 12 years, I’ve been working as a tour guide in Hawaii. It’s been a great way to see the world and learn about new cultures. I love nature and the outdoors, and have even climbed two of the world’s highest peaks! Making connections and showing my visitors the incredible beauty of these beautiful islands is a passion of mine. When I’m not out giving tours, you’ll likely find me on an invigorating hike or enjoying local cuisine on the beach.