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Ling wanted to surf in Hawaii.
The 4 times I tried almost 30 years ago, my church youth group leader taught me—for free. Another friend gave Scott a lesson about 20 years ago—for free. So I wasn’t enthusiastic about spending a lot of money, but I’ve run out of surfing friends with flexibility to give free lessons so I promised that I’d look into it.
|Bethany Hamilton surfing
Then we watched “Soul Surfer,” the true-life story of surfer Bethany Hamilton who got her arm bitten off by a tiger shark off the coast of Kauai. It was an inspiring story of a girl who pursued her dreams despite infirmity and through trusting Jesus. (I don’t think they actually used the name “Jesus” in the movie, but if you watch the outtakes [which we did], she constantly says she gives glory “to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”)
Big mistake. The kids loved the movie, but Kai didn’t want to go in the water for fear of sharks after that. She even googled how many people are killed by sharks every year in the world (5-10) and the shark attacks/year in Hawaii (4-8). 7.4 million visitors come to Hawaii each year, but the math wouldn’t dissuade her—she obviously doesn’t get probability yet.
So she refused to surf. Good, I thought to myelf, cheaper.
We decided that Scott and Ling would take a lesson in Maui. But once they committed, then Ren didn’t want to be left out. Once Ren said he’d do it, I didn’t want to be left out. And once I said I’d do it, Kai grudgingly said she’d risk the sharks and join in with the rest of the family.
So I signed us up for a family lesson with the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy, earning a $10 discount/person. Dreyson, the son of the owner, was our teacher.
And I’m reminded why it’s worth it to invest in lessons. When Todd taught me how to surf, he just took me and my sister out on a gigantic longboard, told us to paddle as hard as we could and pushed our board to help us catch waves. Scott says that his one time surfing was one of the hardest things he’s ever done and he doesn’t think he ever got up.
Dreyson promised our money back if we didn’t catch a wave and stand up on his real life surfboard.
He showed us the basic moves for half an hour on dry land. He swore that the one reason we would fall is looking down. I may have forgotten something, but I don’t remember learning actual moves, let alone how to steer or brake a board before.
After our dryland practice, we paddled into the waves and took turns with Dreyson beginning with Ren. And he got up first try! Eventually, we all got up as well.
|Ren–Dreyson’s in back holding onto his board
By the end of the lesson, both Scott and Ling independently caught waves AND stood up all by themselves!
On top of that, we found out that Dreyson’s good friends with Bethany Hamilton and that his uncle is her godfather. How cool is that?
As our family did our annual end of vacation “100 best memories of Hawaii” exercise last night, surfing was the #1 highlight for all of us. Just goes to show it’s worth it sometimes to break the bank and risk shark attack all at the same time.