One word comes to mind after running another year of Maui Surfer Girls, blessings!
Words can never describe the gratitude I feel everytime I surf with my students in my “office” each morning. Sharing the warm and inviting waves at our two “office locations” at Puamana Park’s “guardrails” beach and Ukumehame park’s “1000 peaks”, is truly a gift for both myself and my students to enjoy such great learning conditions in a friendly off-the-beaten path location. I love what our instructor “Sharky” says at the beginning of his amazing land lessons, “Surfing was the sport of kings in Hawaii, and it is a privilege to learn and share the joys of the sport with everyone today.” I feel blessed to give the gift of surfing to so many tourists and locals alike.
So many of us need time away from the fast paced grind of life to downshift in the waves, and have a healing respite from iphones, ipads, and the insanity that can happen when we’re too disconnected from nature. I’ve seen it in many lessons, the softening of stress lines that turn into big smiles and child-like giggles. It’s a really cool transformation that can occur in just a two hour surf lesson. What’s even more life altering is witnessing the transformation that happens to a teenage girl that attends our 1-3 week program — where they have to unplug their iphones, ipads, and facebook for the duration of camp, and plug into the true source — mother ocean. Some girls gladly give up their phones, while others cling onto their facebook status updates on their one afternoon/week phone privilege. It’s hard to imagine we used to be worried about girls using the onsite payphone and now we confiscate the myrad of smartphones and computer notebooks out there. We even wrote a camp technology policy form for campers and parents this summer.
It’s been quite an amazing ride. I thought surfing “Jaws” was exciting, but riding the wave of MSG has been the most thrilling and rewarding ride of my life. I’ve been blessed to meet such amazing and talented young girls at our surf camp each summer. And the hundreds of surf lesson students have also made lasting impacts on me, especially the ones who stay in touch like Tam, who just sent me a cool trucker hat from So Cal, and Han from NYC who loves surfing each year with us. Or Susan Moulton, who came to our surf school in the most tragic of circumstance, after losing her son in a horrible car accident at Ukumehame beach park, the day I was teaching a surf lesson. She has become a dear friend through the years.
Someone told me once, that I have built quite a family out of Maui Surfer Girls. Being an only child, I think there’s a bit of truth to that. I see all of our students and my staff, as one big “O’hana”. Again, I’m so fortunate to have been surrounded by incredible students and surf instructors, while surfing in the beautiful ocean “office” of Maui. Blessed beyond believe!
Here’s a slideshow of some of my favorite pictures from this summers surf camp! Hope you enjoy!