It’s that time of year on the North Shore of Oahu when the surf is perfect for beginners learning to surf. The North Shore Surf Girls Surf School is lucky because in the summer months Hawaii’s surf mellows out just enough for there to be a little beginner wave at a special beach called Chun’s Reef, located just two miles north east of Haleiwa town. Chun’s Beach also features a rather empty white sand beach, super clear water, green sea turtles swimming all around and a it is also guarded by the City and County of Honolulu Lifeguards from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily.
Spring break starts in a few short week and the North Shore of Oahu is the perfect place to visit. Learning to surf on the North Shore is the perfect bucket list item to check off. Other activities spring breakers can do include, hiking, snorkeling, and even parting with pro surfers at Turtle Bay Resort. However, spring breakers on the North Shore will find it hard to park at Laniakea or Turtle Beach, because officials have closed it off. Apparently accessing the beach safely is not part of our governments mission statement. Below is a cute video that explains the current status:
It’s the beginning of the the 3rd week in November and the surf on North Shore is super glassy and incredibly small. The Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing is on hold, with everyone praying for anything besides dead flat. The surfer boys and girls are all going stir crazy too. New surf contest towers go up and surfing lessons go down, and to top it all off the State of Hawaii is closing off a public park out of spite. Say goodbye to Laniakea, the best North Swell surf spot in Hawaii.
North Shore Surf Insturctor Montgomery “Buttons” Ernest Thomas Kaluhiokalani’s Majic Feet and Ready Smile will be missed.November 6th, 2013
(March 30, 1959 – November 2, 2013)
North Shore Surf Instructor Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani’s had magic feet and a ready smile. Buttons a true Hawaiian surfing legend invented a surfing style that influenced generations of surfers sadly left us on November 2, 2013, losing a hard fought battle with cancer. Button’s was a true master on a surfboard, the kind that are born not made. Always wearing a huge smile, most likely permanently planted on his face from the joy of all the insane waves he’s ridden in his life, Button’s loved everyone he knew. Humble too was his way, just smiling even more when someone gave him props for his surfing, which did all the talking anyway. The last years of his life he spent at the beach, mostly Chun’s and Puaena Point teaching tourist and VIP’s to surf. It was fun to work/play with him in the water, his line “You be the boss of the board” always made his students stand up. His volunteering of his expertise teaching special needs children to surf with Mauli Ola Foundation and others will ensure that his love will live on forever. Buttons you will be missed by all us North Shore surf instructors, thanks too for the time we had with you. Below is a picture of Buttons giving my nephew Liam his first surfing lesson.
And below from the Encyclopedia of Surfing
In honor of international surfing day we thought we’d share some of the history of surfing in Hawaii…
Although no one knows for sure exactly where and when surfing began, there is no doubt that over the centuries the ancient sport of “heʻe nalu” (wave sliding) was perfected, if not invented, by the kings and queens of Hawaiʻi, long before the 15th century AD.
“Surf-riding was one of the most exciting and noble sports known to the Hawaiians, practiced equally by king, chief and commoner. It is still to some extent engaged in, though not as formerly, when it was not uncommon for a whole community, including both sexes, and all ages, to sport and frolic in the ocean the livelong day.” (Malo)
One of the early (if not first) written descriptions of surfing in Hawaiʻi (Kealakekua Bay:)
“The surf, which breaks on the coast round the bay, extends to the distance of about one hundred and fifty yards from the shore …. Whenever, from stormy weather, or any extraordinary swell at sea, the impetuosity of the surf is increased to its utmost height, they choose that time for this amusement … twenty or thirty of the natives, taking each a long narrow board, rounded at the ends, set out together from the shore.”
“… As soon as they have gained … the smooth water beyond the surf, they lay themselves at length on their board, and prepare for their return. … their first object is to place themselves on the summit of the largest surge, by which they are driven along with amazing rapidity toward the shore. … The boldness and address with which we saw them perform these difficult and dangerous manoeuvres, was altogether astonishing, and is scarcely to be credited.” (The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World, Vol. VII, 3rd Voyage, March 1779, pp 134-135)
“The surf-riders, having reached the belt of water outside of the surf, the region where the rollers began to make head, awaited the incoming of a wave, in preparation for which they got their boards under way by paddling with their hands until such time as the swelling wave began to lift and urge them forward.” (Malo)
“(T)hey resorted to the favorite amusement of all classes – sporting on the surf, in which they distinguish themselves from most other nations. In this exercise, they generally avail themselves of the surf-board, an instrument manufactured by themselves for the purpose.” (Bingham)
“The inhabitants of these islands, both male and female, are distinguished by their fondness for the water, their powers of diving and swimming, and the dexterity and ease with which they manage themselves, their surf-boards and canoes, in that element.” (Bingham)
One reporter on an early OR&L rail ride wrote a glowing story of the railroad trip to Waiʻanae at its opening on July 4, 1895:
“For nine miles the road runs within a stone’s throw of the ocean and under the shadow of the Wai‘anae Range. With the surf breaking now on the sand beach and now dashing high on the rocks on one side, and with the sharp craigs and the mountains interspersed with valleys on the other, patrons of the road are treated to some of the most magnificent scenery the country affords.” (Cultural Surveys)
Until the 1930s, modern surfing in Hawaiʻi was focused at Waikīkī; there the waves were smaller. Then, in 1937, Wally Froiseth and John Kelly, reportedly on a school trip witnessed the large break at Mākaha and later surfed its waves. They were later joined by George Downing and others.
Riding at an angle to the wave, rather than the straight to shore technique, on the new “hot curl” board, with narrower tails and V-hulled boards, allowed them to ride in a sharper angle than anyone else.
Mākaha became the birthplace of big wave surfing. Even before Oʻahu’s North Shore, Mākaha was ‘the’ place for surfing – especially big-wave surfing.
In January 1955, the first Mākaha International Surfing Championships was held and for the next decade was considered the unofficial world championships of surfing. While that contest faded away, in 1977, Buffalo Keaulana, a living legend of Mākaha (and Mākaha International champion in 1960,) started the Buffalo Big Board Surfing Classic (featuring canoe-surfing, tandem surfing, bullyboarding (oversize tandem bodyboards), bodysurfing and longboards) and it has been held every year since.
By doing this he has helped sustain and promote the old ways and pass on this knowledge to the keiki. This will help the children of today and tomorrow understand their cultural background so strongly rooted in nature. For these reasons, it is vital to preserve this natural class room so that the kūpuna can pass on their manaʻo and keep the Hawaiian culture alive. (Cultural Surveys)
Rell Sunn, the ‘Queen of Makaha,’ in 1976 began the Rell Sunn Menehune Surf Contest; children 12 and under compete in body board, long board and short board, and each event is broken into age and gender categories. In 1983, Sunn was diagnosed with cancer; she died in 1998.
When asked where his favorite place to surf is, Buffalo said, “…right here in Mākaha. Mākaha is the best place to surf, you have the channel and the wave comes from that end you see the white water going on that side coming that way.” (Cultural Surveys)
Today, surfing is thought of as a lifestyle in Hawaiʻi, it is part of the local culture. As an island state, the shore is the beginning of our relationship with the ocean – not the edge of the state line. Surfing expands our horizon, refreshes, rejuvenates and gives hope. It has helped people find harmony in one’s self and the vast ocean. (Hawaiʻi Quarter Design)
As former Hawai’i State governor, George Ariyoshi, stated, “Those of us fortunate to live in Hawaiʻi are extremely proud of our state and its many contributions to the world. Surfing certainly is one of those contributions. It is a sport enjoyed by men, women and children in nearly every country bordering an ocean. Surfing was born in Hawai’i and truly has become Hawaiʻi’s gift to the world of sports.”
Missionary Hiram Bingham, noted (rather poetically,) “On a calm and bright summer’s day, the wide ocean and foaming surf … the green tufts of elegant fronds on the tall cocoanut trunks, nodding and waving, like graceful plumes, in the refreshing breeze … the natives … riding more rapidly and proudly on their surf-boards, on the front of foaming surges … give life and interest to the scenery.”
June 20, 2013, today, is International Surfing Day (held annually on or near the summer solstice.) Established in 2004, it is a worldwide celebration of the sport of surfing.
© 2013 Hoʻokuleana LLC
The North Shore Surf Girls teach surfing lessons on the North Shore of Oahu in the Summer months at a beach called Chun’s Reef. While the North Shore is well known for it’s world class surfing beaches in the Winter months, it also has excellent beginner waves in the Summer months due to a trade wind generated swell that wraps around the island.
North Shore surfer/musician Jack Johnson releases video and new single, “I got you”.
North Shore Shave Ice Shop Aoki’s To Stop Serving Shave Ice to Surfers in Order to Make Way for “Progress”June 7th, 2013
Not stopping for a shave ice while visiting the North Shore of Oahu is like not going surfing when visiting the North Shore of Oahu. Sadly our choices of the best shave ice on the planet are soon to be reduced to one when Aoki’s is forced to shutter it’s doors on July 31, 2013 so that a strip mall can be built. Yes, this is progress on the North Shore of Oahu in the year 2013. So sad and on top of that no one even remembers the cute candle shop that stands next to Aoki’s.
Following our series of what we love about the North Shore of Oahu….Turtles, turtles, turtles everywhere! When taking a surfing lesson or Stand Up Paddle Board on the North Shore of Oahu you will be sure to see turtles basking in the sun, swimming in the surf or cruising down the Anahulu Stream all the while popping there adorable turtle heads up to say hi. It’s hard to not stop teaching a surfing lesson if just for a moment to say hi back to our precious green friends. I call it TADD…Turtle Attention Deficit Disorder and have named all the turtles on the North Shore Nemo. Why did I name them all Nemo? Because I can!
Surfing on the North Shore can be crowded especially at the more advanced surfing spots…Beginner surfing lessons are usually never crowded because all the pro surfers favor the more advanced surfing breaks on the North Shore. Every once in a few years a special event happens, the South Shore of Oahu including Waikiki has a good south swell and at the same time the North Shore of Oahu has a late winter episode of good surf. This is a North Shore surfers dream come true because all the townies stay in town and us North Shore locals get to enjoy our favorite surfs spots with out the town crowds…