Hailey Minton

Writer. Photographer. Explorer.

October 31, 2017

Beginner surf lessons on an isolated beach

An excellent way for families to learn how to surf on an isolated beach.

I stepped onto the sand of Eisenhower Beach and walked towards their popup tent. The beach was vacant except for the instructors and the students getting ready to surf.  I asked Kelvin, the land photographer that day, if it is always this quiet.  He said there is always plenty of space for everyone to learn how to surf. “Sometimes it gets a little more crowded on the weekends when they open up the campground…occasionally people show up in our spot but it’s no biggie, we shift down.” There were consistent small waves rolling in, perfect for learning. Waves break parallel along most of the length of the beach so no one is fighting to get the ideal spot. Off in the distance I saw Diamond head next to the Honolulu skyline and they had a speaker under the tent playing current local Hawaiian music. This seemed like an ideal place for beginner surf lessons for a family.

An uncrowded lesson

Surf students here don’t have to worry about running into other surfers or having other surfers run into them. As someone who has gone through the learning curve, I see that as a huge benefit. It can be stressful learning how to surf when there are many people around because you don’t want to run in to anyone, or have anyone plow over you. You want to catch a wave but you don’t want to steal someone else’s, or worse, cut someone off. Learning on an isolated beach is a really good idea in my opinion.

Lessons overall

The Surf HNL crew made sure everyone knew the proper technique to stand up before getting in the water.  Kelvin said a quarter of each lesson is spent on land teaching technique. The adults practiced pushing off their boards, putting their feet in the right position and standing up. Rebecca taught the kids a simpler technique, “Knees, one foot out in front, stand!” and everyone practiced. They wanted all the students to know what to expect ahead of time. Each person was given plenty of individual attention on the land lesson.

Lessons with kids

The two kids that were out surfing while I was there were initially catching more waves than the adults! One instructor hopped on the board with each child. The instructors had fins on their feet to help them paddle through the water faster. After being in the water less than five minutes, the boy stood up and rode a wave. Later, his little sister pushed herself onto her knees as instructed, stood and rode the wave. As she and Rebecca, the instructor on the back, were coming to the end of the ride, the girl knelt down and got back to her stomach. They seamlessly turned around and paddled back out to catch another wave. The two siblings even caught and rode the same wave together!


The Surf HNL difference

I asked Kelvin what sets them apart from other surf schools. He said, “We teach them how to surf. People have come to us who have taken surf lessons in other countries and told us this has been their best experience by far. In big group lessons there is low interaction. Here we have one on one or two on one.” He backed up what I was already witnessing with my eyes. One instructor said, “Oh, you’re going to get up for sure. Be sure to smile and look this way,” as he gestured to his gopro. At the end of the lesson, one boy’s tired face lit up when he told his parents about his experience.

There are plenty of staff to make sure everyone is taken care of. Kelvin said, “We even have one extra person here with us today since conditions are a little windy. They are here to help in case someone starts drifting from the rest of the group.” Even at the end of the lessons the instructors helped the kids take off their life vests.



Several instructors had gopros and Kelvin took pictures with a cannon DSLR camera from the shore. Rebecca said “Guests have the option to buy the photos after they surf. People can buy them when they book ahead of time too.”


What kind of wildlife can you expect to see?

Kelvin said, “Occasionally monk seals and turtles drift in, check us out, and go on their way…We have never seen any sharks here.”

Amenteties available at the beach

Showers to rinse off at and chemical toilets.