Live Hawaii

From Wannabe Surfer to Stand Up Paddle Boarder!

Full disclosure…I really never thought about stand up paddle boarding in the past. I always wanted to surf and what is Hawaii famous for…surfing! I dreamed of hanging ten on my long board. I looked at hundreds of surfboards and told my wife, hey surfing is cheap…I can find a decent, used, watertight board for $100.

Before buying a board, my wife insisted that I take a surfing lesson to see if I could even surf. Well, the lesson didn’t go well at all. My surfing instructor was very patient and helpful but I sucked, really sucked! The lesson was at Ala Moana Beach Park which has the easiest waves you could ever ride (not Bowls but the gentle surf on the west side of the beach park).

Yes, I failed! Paddling out was fine. Catching a wave was fine. Ten times I popped up, ten times I fell into the ocean (thank goodness for the leash!). I gave up. I was exhausted and depressed…and I had to hear the wife’s, “I told you so.” I though about other water sports I could engage in. One BIG problem I have is space. I live in a studio with my wife, son & mother-in-law.

So, even if I was successful with the surf lesson, the longest board that could fit in my closet was 8ft, 6in…not a very long longboard :/ Kayaking was out since they are too long and heavy (I live on the 3rd floor of a walk up). Stand up paddle boards too long also (10-12 feet). Then I discovered the world of iSUP or inflatable stand up paddle boards. I can definetly fit a deflated SUP board in my closet!

Okay, now I was ready for a stand up paddle lesson. My wife thought I would fall in the water again 🙁 My thinking was, “Well, I’m 53 years old so maybe my balance has eroded.” So, I purchased a cheap balance board, from Amazon, and started to hopefully strengthen my stabilizing muscles. A couple of weeks later, I was ready from my SUP lesson.

I signed up for a lesson with Wet Feet Hawaii. It was only $99 for an hour lesson. There is no tax because the proceeds, from the lesson, are donated to the Stand Up Paddle Association of Hawaii (super cool!). I drove to Hawaii Kai and parked by Maunalua Bay Beach Park (near the canoe house). I met Jeff who is an experienced coach who works with beginners and pro paddle boarders.

I was nervous about standing up (I was shaky paddling on my knees). When Jeff told me to stand up, I stood up. I had no time for negative thoughts because Jeff was instructing me on the correct and most efficient way to paddle. The stablizing muscles, in my legs, were a little shaky but I didn’t care…I was paddling!

Thanks my fantastic instructor, I have a new hobby! Jeff said if I paddle board 3 times a week, I can have a six-pack (yea, I need to get rid of my spare tire!). I didn’t even notice that Jeff was taking photos and videos of my lesson…very cool! So if you want a great lesson (any skill level) or a tour, sign up with Jeff and Wet Feet Hawaii! You won’t be sorry.

Oh, I almost forgot. Jeff gave me some tips which might help newbie paddle boarders:

Paddle stroke
Torque your core when you paddle. Don’t use your arms only.
Paddle close to the edge of the board.
Paddle short strokes when it’s windy.
Don’t let the paddle drag behind you on your stroke.

Stroke paddle further out to turn in opposite direction.
Short backward stroke will help turn in the same direction.

Stand in the middle of the board, by the carrying handle.
Feet apart, shoulder width.
Slightly bend your knees, relax.

Fiction Books Set in Hawaii – Murder at Volcano House

Murder at Volcano House: A Surfing Detective Mystery
by Chip Hughes

Where to buy: Amazon
Price: $14.95

This is only the second book I have reviewed, on this blog, and it’s by the same author…Chip Hughes. The other book, in the surfing detective series, is “Kula”. This book “Murder at Volcano House” takes private investigator Kai Cook to the Big Island, specifically to Volcanoes National Park.

As a favor to attorney friend Tommy Woo (a man of many lawyer jokes), Kai agrees to protect the former CEO of a Geothermal company returning to the Big Island to attend the funeral of a former employee. Decades ago, Rex Ransom drilled in the Sacred lands of volcano god Pele causing much controversy and protest.

Ransom’s wife, Donnie, believes that her husband is a target since two former employees have died mysteriously at the hands of Pele…or did they? Kai believes the threat comes from a human source but is shocked when he sees a young woman in a red dress (a common Pele guise) shortly before Ransom is found dead at the bottom of a steam vent.

Who dunnit? Pele herself? There are plenty of human suspects…Ransom’s ex-wife, Ransom’s bitter former partner, a protester who attacked Ransom in the past, an escaped mental patient who fancies herself as Pele’s younger sister Hi’iaka.

Follow Kai as he travels from Oahu to Hawaii Island to Kauai. There’s also a side case he is working on involving a fatal crash on the Pali Highway. Kai also tries to help a girl, at the lei shop below his office, who is being terrorized by an ex-boyfriend.

Even with all the action, the surfing detective needs to catch some waves. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never been to the islands or have lived in Hawaii all your life, Chip Huges does a masterful job of expressing the island vibe whether it’s China Town, Volcanoes National Park (visited myself this year!) or Hanalei.

About the Author
Chip Hughes began surfing, in San Diego, during the late 60’s. In 1981, he earned a Ph.D., in English, from the University of Indiana. Hughes taught at the University of Hawaii for nearly 30 years before becoming a full time writer.

The surfing detective mystery series began in 2004 with “Murder in Moloka’i” (I read it!) followed by “Wipeout!” in 2007 (I read it!). “Murder at Volcano House” is the fourth book in the series of six planned volumes.

Spouting Horn – A Natural Wonder of Kauai

On the Koloa district on the southern coast of Kauai, you will find the Spouting Horn…a majestic blowhole and one of the best photo ops on the island. I live on Oahu, have been to the Halona Blowhole many times and have never seen anything except crashing surf! The Spouting Horn put on quite a show shooting water 50 feet, into the air, again & again & again…

The view deck is kind of small and it can get crowded so some patience may be needed as you wait your turn. Bestest thing: free parking and restrooms! There is also a covered flea market, with local vendors, selling everything from Hawaiian type gifts to fine jewelry. I’ve been told (don’t quote me) that you can find the best prices, for genuine freshwater pearls, here!

Across the road is the McBryde Garden & Allerton Garden which is acturally two botanical gardens Allerton – 80 acres and McBryde – 50 acres. They received good reviews from Yelp and Trip Advisor but we skipped them since it was raining.

Back to the Spouting Horn. I came across a wonderful story about the origin of the Spouting Horn as told by the late Uncle Louis Almodova Jr. (Da Mayor of Salt Pond):

The Legend of the Spouting Horn is about a lizard family, consisting of a brother and two sisters. The three left their homeland for a swim. After they swam a long way they spotted two islands. The closer one was named Niihau and the farther one was named Kauai. The brother could see that, although far away, Kauai was beautiful and lush. He wanted to go and visit Kauai, but the sisters were too tired and wanted to rest. So they decided to stay where they were on the beach on the island of Niihau and let their little brother explore.

The brother headed off toward the island of Kauai. He swam and swam. As he got near Kauai he could see beautiful green mountains in the distance. After a while he got tired and decided to land as soon as he could. He came to rest at the old Koloa Landing and waited there for his sisters. He waited a long time, but they never arrived.

He was lonely and being that they didnt come, he swam back to Niihau and went looking for them. When he landed on Niihau he searched and searched. All he found were two large rocks, boulders really, near where he had left them on the beach. At last he realized that the two large rocks were all that was left of his sisters.

Sadly he swam back to Kauai. He cried and he cried, and when he got near Koloa Landing he was caught by a big wave that pushed him along the shore. He missed Koloa Landing and passed Kukuiola Bay and then was shoved by the wave under a lava tube just short of Lawaii Kai. He has been trapped there since. Whenever the waves come back you can hear him moan and see his breath bursting from the lava tube at Spouting Horn.

Don’t believe? See the video below: Protection Status