I have always wanted to learn how to surf. I really couldn’t say why, it’s just something I’ve always known I wanted to do. So the number one thing I had to make sure I did on my trip to Hawaii was to try surfing. I did several different searches on the internet for schools, read reviews on various sites and ultimately decided that I would go to Goofy Foot Surf School on Maui. And it honestly had nothing to do with the fact that Jimmy Buffet likes to surf with them when he’s in town (refer to their testimonial page). It turned out to be the right choice.
My advice, and the advice of just about every review out there, is to go as early in the day as possible. At first I wasn’t sure how great the experience was going to be because there were about 15 or so people but then I quickly learned we were going to be divided into smaller groups. There were 4 of us to 1 instructor. Perfect. They promise that you will get up and ride at least one wave during your first lesson and we all did!
Your lesson starts on the beach where you learn where to place yourself on the board and how to stand up. You also receive instruction on how to paddle out, how to make sure you stay out of the way of fellow surfers, how to fall, and other safety tips. Once in the water, the “magic” happens by a natural break wall so the waves are only about 1-3 feet high. I can tell you that those 3 foot waves crashing on your head are plenty large enough and the 1 foot waves to ride on are enough to give you a good thrill as you learn. The instructor will be on his/her board next to you and takes each person one at a time to help you learn how to feel the wave behind you, when to paddle to build speed, when to stand up, and other helpful pointers. You’ll be thankful for the breaks in between attempts, it’s amazing how quickly everyone tires out, but so worth it!
Our instructor was Marco, he was great. Entertaining personality, knowledgeable and passionate. I’m sure the other instructors are great too but ask for him if you can. He spends about half the year in Hawaii and the other half of the year in Newfoundland where he has a hostel if you happen to be going in that direction (Lead Cove Hostel).
Other things to know…You’ll receive a diploma and a discount on future lessons as well as the ability to rent a surf board in the future. They will require you to wear a rash guard that they provide during the lesson so that you are protected when you fall (because you will fall) and so they can distinguish their students from other surfers. You’ll also be supplied with water shoes. You will also have the option to pay $20 for photos during your lesson. Do it. It’s worth it.