In case you didn’t know, I lived in Hawaii for a year. I was a student at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo where I planned on originally playing softball, but long story short, I played basketball instead.
My first months in Hawaii were a huge culture shock. I was blown away with the fact that I was able to wear shorts and go swimming in the middle of November and not to mention the non-existence of hockey. After a while I learned to adjust to the new lifestyle and safe to say, I learned some things about myself. For example, little did I know I would LOVE eating raw tuna, in Hawai’i they are called “Poke Bowls” [pronounced poh-kay]. I also learned something else, I LOVE to surf!
At first, it was always something I enjoyed to watch from afar… local Hawaiians walking down the rocky beaches holding their hand-made wooden surf boards. I was always so amazed with the style of some and how they were so gifted with the talent to cut through waves and never fall off their boards. I never believed I would be the best at surfing, but one day I decided to give it a try.
My Australian friend Tom was a well-known surfer at my school and also gave lessons, so he offered to help me out one day. I made my way down to the beach and finally took my board in the water. At first, Tom told me to swim out as far as I could and turn around in time to ride the wave. To me, this sounded like a piece of cake… Until I tried to do it! It took me all day to gain the balance and style to jump up on the board. Fall after fall, slip after slip… I still continued to get back on the board and try again.
Finally, right before we were about to leave I wanted to give it one last try. I swam out to the center of the tide, turned my board around right in time to catch it, and jumped up right after I caught the wave.
Long story short, I fell in love with surfing. After working so hard to get where I wanted to, I felt the excitement of riding a wave and there’s really nothing else like it.
Photos taken in Hawaii in 2014 by Kathleen Emmer in Hilo on the Big Island.
©2016 Kathleen Emmer. All Rights Reserved.