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17 Mar
2011

Travel Blog #81 - Hawaiian Surfing Adventures, Learning To Surf


I remember the first time I stood up on a wave. It was a sunny day at a break near Oluwalu on Maui. It was in the middle of one of the summertime adventures with my uncle Dennis that were commonplace during my childhood. I was about 5 years old and the surf was a little over waist high on me at the time. I was on an old short board that was probably about 3 inches thick so Dennis had no problem pushing me into the wave. I remember standing up and putting my arms above my head, screaming and feeling so proud of myself as I proceeded to ride the wave strait in all the way onto the shallow reef where I crashed, cutting my arm and ending my session. Too bad I did not have a nice sandy place like Hanalei Bay to learn, or I probably would've been able to catch more then one wave and enjoyed a much better first surfing experience (regardless of the cut, that first wave I stood up on was still amazing!).

hawaiian surfing adventures video

My Girlfriend and my friend Chris (who was visiting from California) had never really surfed before, and really wanted to do a surf lesson. The waves seemed to be more active in Hanalei then down in Poipu, so we got in touch with Hawaiian Surfing Adventures and arranged for a lesson the following morning. We were told that the days lesson was going to be at the Hanalei Pier and we agreed to meet them there bright and early in the morning.

As we arrived to the Hanalei Pier, I could tell it was going to be a great day for my friends to learn. There was the remains of a large swell that was still bringing consistent (although small) surf into the bay. There was no wind, which left the surface of the ocean as smooth as a sheet of glass. We could see Mitchell Senior and Mitchell Junior unloading boards from their truck, so we made our way over to meet them.

learn to surf on kauai

Hawaiian Surfing Adventures is a family owned and operated business. Mitchell Alapa Senior and his son Mitchell Alapa Junior jointly own and operate the business. Mitchell Senior is a delightful older Hawaiian guy that was born and raised in Hawaii. Throughout his youth he supported his family for the most part by doing construction, and surfing on his time off. His Son, Mitchell Junior was lucky enough to grow up surfing the sandy breaks of the north shore of Kauai with his Dad and has developed quite an amazing talent on his stand up paddle board. This winter he's been busy collecting footage of himself taming some of the largest waves on Kauai with his SUP. Many years ago the father son team decided they would be able to have more time in the water by starting a surf school. Together, the Alapa's have combined their skills, talents and passion to create one of the premiere schools on the north shore of Kauai. How they run their lessons is simple and effective.

Beginning on land, they went over the basics of surfing. They wanted to make sure that everyone had a firm understanding of exactly what they were going to be doing before they got in the water. They went over the basics of positioning yourself, paddling, standing up, steering, crashing and getting back on the board before getting into the water.

chris caught the first wave

Once the land lesson was over the group got into the water and paddled out through the surf. Mitchell Junior did a great job of explaining where the rip current was and how to use it to your advantage to make padding out easier. Once everyone was positioned in the lineup (the best place to catch the waves, right where they break) he huddled everyone together and had a final discussion before he started pushing the students into waves. Mitchell Juniors experience and skill was evident in the results, all 3 of the 3 students in the class stood up and surfed all the way to the shoreline on their first attempt.

Something that I really appreciated about the Alapas operation was their commitment to educate their students enough so they could catch waves on their own. Mitchell Junior repeatedly told the class:

Mitchell achieved his goal because by the time the lesson was over I saw each student not only catch a wave, but lineup and catch a wave and ride it in completely on their own. Ever since the lesson both Simone and Chris has continued surfing and catching waves which I think had a great deal to do with the amazing introduction to the sport that the Alapa team at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures provided them with.

Thinking about my own early experiences surfing over 20 years ago, I can't help but wonder how my surfing career would've been like been altered, if the first time I had caught a wave had been on the soft sandbar of Hanalei Bay, instead of the sharp reefs of Oluwalu.......

Hanalei Bay Surfing Kauai




Travel Blog - Articles #80 to #89

This morning I woke up to very wet and rainy weather at my house in Lihue. My girlfriend had to work and I really wanted to do something more exciting then messing around inside on my computer all day.

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Today we had something happen that was slightly out of the ordinary. We were on an air tour around Kauai with Airventures Air Tours, when out of the depths of the ocean underneath us appeared a pod of massive Humpback Whales.

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I love the sunset sails on Kauai. I really appreciate that with these sails, there is an actual destination to the whole adventure. You get to sail all the way to the Napali coast while you watch the sun go down.

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I remember passing by the sign for Kauai Photo Tours in Kapaa when I first came over to Kauai in January and thinking to myself how much I was looking forward to going on that trip.

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I had an idea of what we were getting into when I showed up at the headquarters of the Wailua River Guides in Kapaa, but I had no idea how much I was going to really enjoy the kayak and the hike up the river that we did today with Wailua River Guides.

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Today we went out with Aloha Kauai Tours on their Kauai Backroads 4x4 Tour. We met the group at the Kilohana Plantation where we parked my truck and jumped in their customized 4x4 van.

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As we checked in at the Blue Dolphin store in the shopping village of Port Allen I looked up at the grey threatening looking sky and thought to myself:

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We showed up at the Outfitters Kauai office in Poipu at just before 6AM to check in for their downhill bike trip. The ride goes down the road along the rim of the Waimea Canyon.

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When I was a kid, my family lived in Kihei on the island of Maui. During the 1990s when I was growing up, Kihei was one of the fastest growing towns in the nation.

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Related Information

The sport of surfing originated in Hawaii. The warm clear waters and consistent waves make Hawaii one of the most ideal surfing locations on the planet.

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Related Activites

$61.90 - $188.90

Learn to surf in the warm waters off of Kaua'i. The first 30 minutes will be a class on shore. You will learn how to watch the ocean and the waves, talk about ocean safety, learn how to paddle, how you should position yourself on the board as well as how to start reading the waves.

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