Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Hawaii, long term travel, Travel

The North Shore Peep Show

From Honolulu, I arranged transport to the North shore, which is synonymous with surfing. I had decided to see more of Oahu than the frequently visited Waikiki and Honolulu and found home at Backpacker’s Hostel. It was only an hour’s drive from downtown Waikiki, but 30 minutes into the drive, and I was already feeling like I was on another island. Undeveloped land; lush, green, dense fields and forest; and rolling hills surrounded me. Ok, now I understand why people get the hell out of Waikiki.

I got checked in to my very sparse, but cheap, digs… a wooden cabin, with 3 rooms- 2 bunks each and a communal kitchen and bathroom. No one was around… they were all out surfing. Craig, who works at the hostel took me for a quick bike tour and showed me where the local grocery store was and then we went to check out the surf. I guess as a surfer, this is what you do. We stopped at about 5 beaches just to look at the waves. I watched in awe as surfers made it look so easy, and Craig got antsy to get in. When we went back to the hostel, he asked if I wanted to venture out for a session… Did I want to surf? Yes, I want to surf! But I’ve tried before, and it’s not easy, and I’m in Hawaii, next to the beach where the pipeline competition is surfed, and so on and so forth. But, I am in Hawaii…so, I grab a wetsuit and a board and despite impending rain, we climb in the van and head to Chun’s, which he promises has baby waves.
Well, I’ve come to a conclusion about surfing… it’s not so much the height of the wave as it is sometimes the width of a wave. A wave can sometimes not look that high, but when you are in it and on it, the thing can feel like a monster and take ages to either pass by you, or for you to ride it in. Craig was a good teacher, and never has someone told me to actually not try to stand up on a wave. So I spent the first few waves just riding them in on my belly, getting a feeling for the force, speed and momentum of the water. It was fun, a lot more fun than trying to stand up and getting tossed around in white water and undertow. But the conditions weren’t great, rain was on its way, and it was getting dark, so we headed in.
When I arrived back at Backpacker’s, everyone was home from their evening surf sessions, so it was meet and greet time. Dinner’s were being cooked, beers were being opened, and Cabin 2 seemed to be the place to be. So we all gathered around the table, listening to music, discussing Hawaii travel plans and talking surfing.
Before I knew it, I was getting a lesson on the mentality of surfing… it went a bit like this:
“Never think you are bigger than the ocean.”
“You have to be one with the wave.”
“Don’t think about it too much.”
After a couple glasses of wine, I was determined that I would get up the following morning and catch a good wave. Craig and I headed out early, but it was choppy, and after having to rescue a few stragglers who got caught in a strong current, we decided to head back in. I lounged on the beach for the afternoon and soaked in the North Shore… there’s not a whole lot going on here, besides surfing and smoking.
That evening, I set out for a run on the nicely shaded footpath. I passed the occasional runner and biker, but at each public lot, I passed the semi-nude surfer. It’s almost like these guys have no shame, and they will just drop their drawers anywhere. I guess no one ever taught them how to do a proper deck change. Maybe they are in too much of a hurry to get in to the water, but you would think they would give thought to the direction they are facing, and maybe face away from the road?? But no! So, if you are looking for free entertainment on the North Shore, just hit up the public footpath. You’re guaranteed to see at least a handful of semi-nude, shameless surfer boys!
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