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What's the best way to learn how to surf in Hawaii?

Hawaii_Oahu_surf_lessons_how_toHAWAII magazine reader Brookelynn Morris wrote us with a question about surf lessons:

I’m heading to Honolulu for vacation soon, and I want to learn how to surf. Can you tell me the best way to learn?

You ask, we answer.

Oahu’s shores—as with all of the other Hawaiian Islands—offer wave action for a variety of skill levels, from professionals to beginners.

For beginning surfers, we recommend sticking to the south shore of Oahu—specifically, the beaches of Waikiki. Wave heights on the south shore are consistently smaller making it the easiest and safest surf to learn on. Another plus to learning in Waikiki? The large amount of surf schools offering short term and long-term lessons.

Why lessons? Because simply renting a board and winging it anywhere in Hawaii isn’t a good idea even with the most innocuous-looking surf. There’s more to surfing than just learning to paddle into a wave, stand on a board and ride. A qualified instructor will also tell you about surfer protocol, how to read ocean and wave conditions, and equipment you must have, among other things.

Most surf schools offer private, semi-private, and group instruction. Call in advance and make sure that your instructor has their “blue card”—also known as their surf instructor license. Licenses are issued by the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources. A license assures that an instructor has passed a series of qualification tests to teach, and is certified to administer both first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
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Hawaii becomes first state in U.S. to make surfing an official high school sport

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