Today marks the 49th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood. Looking back on the past half-century or so, it’s clear the islands have given us something much more important than the music of Don Ho and the overpriced nightly tourist luau. Namely, the sport of surfing.
Fact is that surf culture has now penetrated every corner of American society. If you need proof, look no further than the teenagers in the Rip Curl board shorts and Quicksilver t-shirts hanging out in your local mall.
To get a real feel for what all the buzz is about, however, you’ve got to get out on the water and experience surfing first-hand. I did just that at the place the sport was born while on the island of Maui a few years back.
Tim Sherer, a remarkably patient teacher and owner of Lahaina’s Goofy Foot Surf School, had me up and riding my first waves in less than an hour. Not that I was a particularly gifted student, as you’ll see in the multiple wipeouts depicted here.
Those mishaps notwithstanding, I walked away from this extraordinary experience with a better understanding of why the sport of surfing has so many devoted fans. Try it yourself and, who knows, maybe you’ll even begin to understand those kids at the mall.