Greetings from Hawaii and Liliana
I’ve dreamt of going to Hawaii ever since watching the movie ‘North Shore’ when I was 5 years old, so I couldn’t pass on the opportunity when it came up earlier this year. It was my very first solo trip overseas, but I wasn’t nervous at all waving goodbye to my parents in the airport. I was nervous however at the thought of going through customs on my own. I didn’t have to worry though as I had good company and was greeted with many Alohas and shakas from the moment I stepped foot off the plane. I was stoked to be in Hawaii.
Before I left Australia, I wrote a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do during my stay on Oahu, this was my list;
Have American McDonalds
Take a photo in front of the Wings in Haleiwa
Go rock jumping
Have the Hawaiian version of acai Bowl.
Go to Waimea Bay
And obviously surf as much as possible
I was lucky enough to be staying with my good friend and Hawaiian longboard shredder Kelis and her lovely family right near the beach at Waikiki. I met Kelis in Noosa 2 years ago at the Noosa Festival of Surfing. Her family and most of the Hawaiian crew have come over for the contest each year since and boy do they dominate.
It was summer holidays in Waikiki so we immediately went down to the beach to catch up with everyone else. It was awesome to meet people face to face after being insta friends for so long. I ended up surfing until dusk and met so many amazing people within my first 24 hours of arriving. I even got to tick the first thing off my list by going to Maccas. They had trouble understanding my Australian accent and didn’t know what I meant when I asked for ‘hot chips’ and a ‘soft serve’. In the end I got my ‘french fries’ and ‘cone’.
Hawaii was turning out to be just as awesome as I had hoped. So, this became my daily routine – eat, sleep, surf, repeat. I loved that all the local groms can store their boards at the local surf shop (Moku’s) which is right on the beach so you don’t have to worry about carrying your big heavy log from home. It’s the best set up.
I was blown away by the flora, fauna and beauty of Oahu. The local surf spot in Waikiki was called Queens. It is a right and left A frame peak that stands up on a patch of reef then runs into deeper water. Most of the locals here ride longboards, and Queens is perfect for this. However just down the coast at the harbour entrance there is a super fun short board wave called Kewalos. This little bit of Hawaiian coastline had all my needs covered, and every surf whether it be on my short or longboard would leave me feeling stoked with a smile on my face.
When there wasn’t any surf, the only options were to hang out or wait until high tide for ‘knock offs.’ Knock offs was a wall, about a meter or so high, ten meters away from shore. You would have to stand on the wall and try to stay on as waves came and knocked you off. Falling off was the worst! If you’d fall off you would get sucked under water for ages, to the point where you couldn’t breathe! It was dangerous but that’s what made it so fun.
After about a week of hanging out every day in the Waikiki area it was time to check out somewhere different, so we packed the car and headed across the island to the iconic ‘North Shore’. On our way, we drove past large sugar cane fields and the famous ‘Dole’ pineapple plantation. We arrived in the small town of Haleiwa and I recognized some of the buildings from the Northshore movie. On the out skirts of Haleiwa, we found the beautifully painted wings which were on my Bucket list, so we stopped to snap a few pics and headed along the Kam Highway to our next stop, Waimea! When you think of Waimea, you think of 30 foot monstrous mountains of water crashing into the bay, but on this day, it was as far from that as possible. We were greeted by crystal clear aqua water and not a wave in sight. Not so good for surfing but a great place to jump off some rocks. Our last stop of the day was Pipeline! It was so flat we couldn’t even tell where it would break, but at least I can say I’ve been to Pipe. I’ll have to wait till next time to surf it.
Back on the south shore I ticked off all the remaining items on my list, and even added some pretty special extra things, such as winning my first ever overseas surf comp, celebrating Independence Day, celebrating a Sweet 16th (prom themed) and shooting on location with one of my favourite photographers Tara (aka @ladyslider).
I was sad to say goodbye but I’ve come back home with amazing memories, more Aunties and Uncles than I had before and some amazing friends who don’t seem that far away thanks to the internet. I will remember this trip forever but there is no doubt that I will be heading back there soon. Maybe in the winter to challenge myself on the North Shore! See you next time Hawaii!