BUCKET LIST #1: LEARN TO SURF IN HAWAII
Surfers with their fancy boards, laid-back attitudes, shaka greeting, quirky jargon and a Pontiac Woodie in the garage. I have long disliked these wave gnomes. How rewarding can it really to balance on a wet plank? Hawaii 7 March 2014

On every street corner in Waikiki there are surfers with their fancy boards and they come in all shapes and colours

On every street corner in Waikiki there are surfers with their fancy boards and they come in all shapes and colours

On every street corner in Waikiki you can see surfers with their fancy boards waiting for the green light before they hurry slowly toward the waves. They come in all shapes and sizes, from sun burn veterans with dreads to chalk-white Japanese schoolgirls.

Have long had a disgust for these wave gnomes. This «larger-than-life» thing many preach, I have often attributed to lack of education or sensible meaning in life. How exciting can it really be to balance on a wet plank? Admit that snowboarding is a kick, but larger than life?

However, have as long also had a secret dream to once learn how to rid the waves, preferably in Hawaii. I blame childhood where Baywatch and Point Break made ​​an impression on a poor child.

The surfboard’s equivalent to a tricycle
Surf Schools were everywhere on the beach. I sign up for a beginner course. The three students in the group were given a «soft-top» 12’’ board aka surfboards’s equivalent to a tricycle.

«Get down on your stomach, hold the board, stand up with knees first,» says the surf teacher Jeff before he finishes the beach training. “That was the most wasted $ 60 in my life,» I think to myself. The session took 1 minute, including the time spent greeting each other.

Then we head out to the sea. With Jeff as a lodestar, we paddle like newly hatched ducklings out against the waves with our tricycles.

After what felt like hours of paddling, and lactic acid trickled in the arms, Jeff stops. We were 150 ft from the beach and the water reaches Jeff to the stomach. The waves are 1-2 feet tall, which is comparable to downhill skiing in the children’s area at a Winter Park.

The wave gnomes have now even invented surf yoga, taught every morning!

The wave gnomes have now even invented surf yoga, taught every morning!

Steady as the last man at the Octoberfest
First up is a German in his 50s. Ha lays flat as a toad on the board, while Jeff holds the rear end of the board waiting for the next perfect wave.

– Paddle, paddle, paddle, shouts Jeff suddenly. The German paddles like crazy. » Stand up”, shouts Jeff. The German rises, as steady as if he was the last man at the Oktoberfest and plunges his head into the sand.

Next up is a young American in the mid 20s, who is on his honeymoon. Despite the eminent and very descriptive instructions «Paddle» and “Stand up», it goes strangely enough no better with the amorous American. Drunk for sure, him too .

Then it’s my turn! I lie straight out and wait in anticipation. Will I stagger like a drunk to scorn and derision from everyone on the beach before I end up chewing sand seconds later – or will I find the meaning of life .

– Paddle , paddle , paddle, says Jeff and I paddle like crazy in what felt like forever. I feel the wave follows me and slowly I notice the board is lifted up and tilts forward.

– Stand up, shouts Jeff. The words go into the ear, is registered by the brain that sends new signals to the arms and legs. I stand up on my tricycle.

Epilogue
A few days later a guy strolls along the beach while enjoying the morning sun on his face. He seems relaxed, but it is easy to see that his legs are on a mission. He says something in the native tongue when he greets the locals renting out boards, who he seems to be on first name basis with. He throws his bag nonchalantly behind the counter, takes one of the newly waxed 10» fiberglass boards under his arm and gazes at the sea . There is a calm aura over him. He takes a deep breath of the fresh sea breeze. Then he leaves the white sand and disappear between the waves.

Newly converted surfer, now with a bicycle - but is still playing in the children's area at Winter Park

Newly converted surfer, now with a bicycle – but is still playing in the children’s area at Winter Park