Body Surfing

[I’m actually writing these last entries at home. Things got a little hectic in our last few days on Oahu. This was Thursday, April 14.]

Whitney visited Hawaii with her grandma when she was 13. They spent a lot of time at the beach, playing in the surf and riding the waves. She’d like Spencer to have the same experience.

But body surfing has changed since then. First, it’s bodyboarding now, since almost everybody is using a short surf board, there are web sites and magazines dedicated to the sport, and there is an appetite for a wilder experience.

The local gossip is clear; the "best" bodyboarding is out at Sandy Beach. But some further research led us to questions what "best" meant. Sandy Beach is well regarded as an expert’s body sufing spot, but the link above is pretty typical: two sentences about how wonderful it is and five paragraphs about the dangers. Armed with information but confused, we asked the towel boys what they thought. (The towel boys also rent the beach equipment and give lessons between refreshing our towels.)

The were most discouraging, and urged us in pretty strong terms to avoid the beach. It was getting clear that Sandy Beach was double black diamonds, and we probably were green circle types. Spencer was undaunted, but I’ve ridden down the ski mountain in an ambulance with him on a back board, so I daunt more easily.

The boys recommended starting out at Waikiki, but we had been there for Spencer’s surf lesson, it was crowded, and we hadn’t seen much of the rest of Oahu, which means we were under-utilizing the rented convertible. So, we grabbed the guide book and headed to the Windard shore.

Along the way we stopped by Sandy Beach. There were a lot of folks out there, and the waves were breaking into a smallish tube. Everybody seemed to be having fun, but I’ll bet it was more fun to watch the surfers and the boards fly in every direction when the waves crashed than to be in them.

After Sandy Beach, there are a couple of similar beaches in the immediate area until you get into the Kailua area, where the beaches are nice, but the water is flat. So, after too rough and too flat, we could hope for just right.

And we found it at Laie Beach, in the town of Laie (where the Polynesian Culteral Center is). The beach is also called Pounders Beach, for reasons that might make sense. The surf was interesting without a vicious break. There were a bunch of kids boarding in the highest surf, but we sat down 100 yards from them where the entry was a little less crowded. Spencer, Whitney and I all had quite a good time there.

The only real drawback to the day was that in order to have a quick bite as we got to the park, we stopped at McDonalds for grossburgers for the family.

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