Papa Bear and I each have a few things on our Bucket List (aka do-before-we-die list). Visiting Hawaii was on PB's.
Snorkeling was on both our lists.
Learning to surf was on mine.
So this weekend, while simultaneously enjoying the thrills of having a rental vehicle at our disposal and also enjoying the company of friends from Wyoming visiting Kona, we decided to take the advice of several locals and visit Kahaluu Bay for some surfing lessons.
The waiter at Bongo Ben's recommended we rent boards and hire instructors at Kahaluu Bay Surf & Sea which is conveniently located right across from Kahaluu beach, so that's where we headed, where we teamed up with surf instructors Isha (pronounced Eye-Sha) and Ben for some ultra-beginner instructions.
We picked the right place to go! Both instructors were very patient in explaining things to us, none of us having been on boards before.
Our on-land instructions included an introduction to the parts of the surf board (nose, tail, rails, deck & fins) and we all practiced "popping up" into surf position from laying on our bellies on the board.
This sounds easy enough, and on dry land, it isn't too hard. It's way more difficult when you're trying to balance on a board on moving water.
After our dry-land instructions, we headed out into Kahaluu Bay following Isha, who tethered a buoy which would become our "home base" between each wave we road. We were warned about the rip tide which was pretty strong, and we discovered just keeping our boards close to the buoy would be a challenge with the size of the waves in the bay that day.
While the rest of us clung to the buoy and attempted to keep our boards pointing into the oncoming waves, Ben and Isha each headed out with an individual surfer for their first real wave.
My board was a wide, stable, 11' board, and when Isha yelled for me to paddle then gave me a push onto the wave, I stood up and went several yards! It was exhilarating!
Once I paddled back to the buoy I found out PB's board was a foot shorter than mine and he was having trouble balancing on his, so I traded him. For the next few wave attempts, I was not able to stand for more than a second.
Blessings and curses often come in the same package. PB got seasick during the lesson and decided to head in early, so I got the 11' board back.
My last wave in for the day was a long sweet one and I stood the whole way in.
I could barely lift my arms by the end of the lesson, and my ribs, knees and pubic bone were all bruised from laying on the board through many a wipe out and bouncing through the waves.
I surfed. Badly perhaps, but I did it.
Which brings me to Jenny Lawson and the Traveling Red Dress project. Which sounds like it has nothing to do with surfing. But it has everything to do with having a Bucket List and tenaciously pursuing one's dreams, no matter how "insensible" they may seem to others.
In Jenny's words:
"I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply ‘not sensible’.
Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better. Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it."
"Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it."