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

You’ll find surf schools statewide, including Oahu’s North Shore, where the famous big winter surf calms down enough in the late spring and summer for beginner lessons. Waikiki’s consistently tame surf and large visitor population, however, have enticed a handful of schools and instructors into setting up shop there.

Here’s a short list of Waikiki and south shore-area surf schools with good reputations:

• Girls Who Surf
(They also teach men.)
(808) 772-4583, www.girlswhosurf.com

• Hans Hedeman Surf School
(The veteran surf instructor and surf pro.)
(808) 924-7778, www.hhsurf.com

• Hawaiian Fire
(Owned by real Hawaii firefighters.)
(808) 737-3473, www.hawaiianfire.com

Be aware that all surf schools require that you know how to swim. Trying to combine swimming and surfing lessons is a little tricky when the student is tethered to a surfboard by a leash.

Most surf instructors start beginners off with a longboard, which can run eight feet or more in length. Longboards are ideal for beginners because they are easier to ride on and allow the surfer more control.

When scheduling your first lesson, ask what type of surfing gear will be provided. A surfboard and leash should be the minimum gear provided. Some schools also offer rash guards—it’s exactly what it sounds like—and reef shoes to protect your feet.

Hawaii has ideal wave conditions year-round so scheduling a surfing lesson—whether group or private—won’t be difficult.

Our bet is that you once you get on the water, you’ll be hooked.

Photo: Hawaiian Fire

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
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Surfer Girls: We hit the waves for a beginners lesson with Girls Who Surf
Hawaii becomes first state in U.S. to make surfing an official high school sport

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