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Check One Off the Bucket List: Surfing in Hawaii!

The waves don't look big, but they felt it! Check out my cute Oakley board shirt too—that was a must-have. (Photo courtesy of 83 East Video Productions)

A few weeks ago I hit the waves on the beautiful island of O'ahu Hawaii, right off the famous Waikiki beach strip. In our July/August issue of the magazine I mentioned that surfing was a bucket list dream of mine, and something that I honestly never thought I'd do (just like our digital director Christie!), but the opportunity arose and I had to do this if I was going to be in Hawaii. For me, taking the first step and signing up for surf lessons was the most difficult part. As I've mentioned before, I'm terrified of sharks—my imagination runs wild when I'm in any type of body of water and I swear I can see those fins all around me (how I ever did two Olympic-distance triathlons in open water is beyond me, but when my competitive bug gets going, nothing stops me). And I was psyched when I met my instructors at the Ty Gurney Surf School (look them up, they're famous for their surfing dog Gracie—yep she really does surf!). Our instructors, Mike and Matt, had that amazing easygoing surfer vibe and the gave me and my husband, Dino, each one-on-one demonstrations. We found out all that we need to know to surf, which surprisingly wasn't really all that much! The instructions are pretty simple, it's practice that makes perfect in this sport.

Dino and I riding the wave together! (Photo courtesy of 83 East Video Productions)

My nerves starting acting up, however, when I saw how far out into the ocean we'd be going to catch those waves. Had the water not been shallow, I probably would have ran from the scene! But my instructor was by my side the entire time and I was beyond exhilarated when I caught my first wave. Let's just say I totally get it now—I get why people like riding waves. Just like that runner's high after you finish a race, catching a wave makes you feel like you're on top of the world and really at one with the environment. Dino was so good at it too and didn't fall off the board nearly as many times as I did. We even caught a few waves together (how romantic, right?). Surfing was by far the highlight of my trip to Hawaii and I can't wait to try it again. Maybe Costa Rica next? If you're going surfing any time soon, follow these tips from surfing legend Ty Gurney.

  • When you're starting out. . . Use a big board. Bigger is better.
  • As you're catching that wave. . . Keep your eyes forward. Never look down or around—this will throw you off balance.
  • Learn proper surfing etiquette. If there are a lot of surfers hanging around in the water waiting to catch a wave, take turns if you can so you don't crash into each other.
  • Always. . . Surf with confidence!

Now tell us: What's on your fitness bucket list?