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Learning to surf in Kona

surfing at sunset

You have seen people surfing, and you have always wondered if you could ever get coordinated enough to do it yourself. It may seem impossible to balance yourself on a piece of fiberglass that sits atop undulating water. However, the right instructor can teach you to float above the water like a pro.

One of the first things a visitor to Kona, Hawaii will want to do is head to the beach. You will find quite a few instructors offering surf lessons in Kona. The best ones will be able to recommend the perfect board for you. It can be helpful to know what to expect from your first surfing lessons.

Pick a Beach

You should pick a beach that is just right for a beginning surfer. The bay at Kahaluʻu is one of the best places to learn to surf on the island.

Pick Out a Board and a Wetsuit

The first thing you will do when you arrive at the surf shop is to pick out the right board and wetsuit for you. Not all surfboards are created equally. A new surfer should get a board that is about 8 or 9 feet in length. A longboard will help you navigate better on the small waves that beginning surfers ride.

You will probably want to rent a board and a wetsuit rather than buy them. It is expensive to take a surfboard on a plane, and boards are expensive themselves. You should try this sport before you commit to it.

Pre Surf Practice

The instructor will then take you out to the sand for a lesson in how to situate yourself on the board. You will lie on the board and paddle and learn how to work your way into a standing position. Once everyone in your class has mastered this, you are ready to get your feet wet, literally.

Take to the Water

You will then pick up your board and head out to where you can catch a white water wave. This is a wave that has already broken.

You will walk out to where you are waist-deep in the water and turn around. Then, when the wave comes, you will ride the board on your belly until you are comfortable with it.

Once you are comfortable on the board, you will learn how to pop up. This can take a while to learn.

What is popping up?

From the prone position, you will lift yourself up on your arms by holding onto the side rails of the board. Then you will put your right foot out and raise up to a standing position very slowly. Once you are comfortable with white waves, you can progress to catching waves before they break.

You will fall off your board many times. Your instructor will be able to teach you how to avoid injury and take a fall with grace. Surfing can be dangerous, but a good instructor will have years of experience in staying safe.

There is no thrill quite like flying on top of a wave. After a few lessons and a few times out, you will be addicted. You will want to come to Kona again and again to surf.