Camping Hawaii Malaekahana Oahu, Ultimate Guide to Visiting Hawaii on a Budget

The crystal clear, calm waters on the shore of Malaekahana State Beach

I’ll be the first to say that surfing is hard. It can be scary and intimidating so it’s not for everyone, you’ve got to be brave and willing to work hard to learn it.  But at the same time it’s a sport that can be fun and accessible to almost anyone as long as you follow a few guidelines and tips.

The stoke of surfing is not instantaneous.  It takes some beatings from the ocean but eventually with enough persistence and determination, that stoke WILL come.

And trust me, once you catch the surfing bug, you’re hooked. It takes hold of you and there’s no other option than to give your soul over to it all and enjoy the ride.

Surfing Santa Cruz, Surfing the California Coast
Gabi tearing up a fast little right-hander at Steamer Lane

Learning to surf was the best thing I’ve done for my body and mind.  Even though I am in love with mountains—the taller and steeper, the better.  And I love everything mountains represent— strength, endurance, challenge, persistence.  And I especially love how happy they make me feel, they just can’t keep me away from the ocean long enough.

Seriously, I’m such a whiner when it comes to crowds, traffic, and overpriced restaurants, but then the universe delivers a week of epic waves while I’m resting between mountain trips in San Diego and I quickly snap out of my I-hate-being-in-big-cities-funk.  

While I could never have all my playfulness wrapped up in this sport, I am so grateful that five years ago I bought a really good wetsuit, dug up some courage, grabbed a very-cute-but-not-good-to-learn-on surfboard and taught myself how to surf.

I’ll be the first to say that surfing is hard. It can be scary and intimidating so it’s not for everyone, but it can also be so much fun and accessible to most mamas— that is, as long as you follow a few guidelines.

Surfing San Diego, Surfing the California Coast
Even if the waves aren’t firing, the beautiful stretch of coastline as seen from the water is worth a paddle

1 | Find the Right Type of Beach

The most important thing to remember if you want to learn to surf is to paddle out in the right conditions.

If you are just starting out, find a beach that is sheltered with a sandy bottom. A sheltered beach typically has less wind and less swell coming through. If you are just learning, you are going to fall and you don’t want to be falling on rocks or reef.

2| Find the Right Size Wave

The second rule is to paddle out on a very small day.

I know a lot of women who start surfing and then get one scare on too big of a day and they are done with the sport. That’s one of the great parts of rock climbing is that almost all routes are rated so you know the level of each climb. Surfing is a little more dynamic and unpredictable.

Surfline and Magic Seaweed do a great job predicting and reporting current conditions, but it’s still the ocean and you never know what surprises Poseidon will stir up.

3 | Be a Strong Swimmer

Another important rule when learning is to develop your paddling skills first.

Just like how losing weight is more about developing good habits of juicing and eating well-sourced meat before limiting grains and dairy, surfing is first about developing comfort in the water and becoming a strong swimmer. The stoke will eventually come with enough persistence and determination. For now, if you ready to be brave and adventurous, get a foam board, find a safe beach, and start paddling.