For the last 6 weeks, Nate (our Vancouver GM, and Hawaiian native) has been down in Hawaii shaping and surfing his guts out. Here are his top tips for your next trip down to Hawaii.
1. Get A Car - If you are on O'ahu, you should definitely rent or get a car somehow. Yeah busing around is hip but waiting for days in the hot sun aint. Something with racks is preferred obvs.
2. Traffic - This is key, nothing worse than sitting in bumber to bumber when its 85 degrees out. Know when peak times are for the area you're surfing and plan around it. I stayed out west so my routine was Makaha (or the westside) in the morning and then to the North Shore for sunset sessions.
3. Eats - Poke. Acai. Teds Bakery. Spam Musubis. Pineapples. Cold Craft Beers.
4. Get Up Early - You can score uncrowded well known breaks if you time it right. Dawn patrol is a sure way to avoid groms and get a few waves before the crowds arrive.
5. Locals Only - The Uncles (pronounced Unkos) or the older generation pretty much own the lineups. Get on their good side. Dont drop in. Smile even if you get cut off. Have fun.
6. Know Before You Go - How many times I thought I was paddling out in fun 3-4 ft surf and it ended up being 8-10 ft plus. Many reports will be in 'Hawaiian' and locals will ALWAYS play down the size of a swell. For example a solid 4-6 ft Hawaiian swell is more like 8-10 ft faces. Die-hards will always say it's 2-3 ft.
7. Bring (Shape) The Right Board - Or Not. I only ever pack one board to the beach. Often it's the wrong one. But I still paddle out and just 'get used to it'. I wouldnt recommend this. Getting worked on my groveller in pumping 10 ft surf is only so much fun.
My go-to board is a 6'0" x 20" x 2.5" Single Fin with a classic tear drop outline and pintail. It holds in 2 to 10 ft. I would recommend poly/poly construction or poly/epoxy with slimmer rails to help cling into steep walls.
Shape a slight V into your tail or double concave to help get rail to rail. Almost all my boards down here are 20" wide so this is very helpful.
8. Variety - Hawaii offers tons of variety in wave types. Dont surf the same beach every day of your trip.
9. Down Days - Surf when it's good, dont when it's not. Go for a hike, spend time with your lady, have a cruise day, always keep a snorkel and mask in the car in case you get skunked. Surfing is great, but its OK to play tourist for a couple days.