BY CAMILLE NALUAI
Many visitors to our island home want to get right to the beach, enjoy the sand, and maybe get in a little surf time.
For the novice surfer, it won’t hurt to check out the beach boy stands at Waikiki Beach and ask them for a surf lesson. They aren’t free, but if you haven’t surfed before, it’s worth forking over a couple $20s to learn from someone who gets to surf all day everyday.
Most concession stands charge by the hour, and depending on what time of year you visit, you may have to book an appointment.
The Christmas season is ALWAYS busy and the summer months can get crowded too.
- Admit that you are not an expert, and do not attempt to be one. Ask lifeguards for advice.
- Be honest about your swimming ability. The ocean is not a swimming pool.
- Never turn your back on the ocean. Being hit by a wave while you’re not watching can cause serious injury. Waves can sneak up on one.
- If you get caught in a current do not struggle against it. Rip currents are usually narrow, so calmly swim perpendicular to the current direction to get out of it, and then you will be able to swim back to shore.
- If you need help, shout “Help” (and not a family member’s name) or wave an arm to get attention.
- Always remain calm and relaxed in the ocean, whether you get caught in a current, hit by an unexpected wave, or bump into a turtle. Panic leads to drowning because of uncoordinated movement, sporadic breathing, and increased oxygen usage.
- Never take your eye off children in the water, no matter how calm the ocean.
- After watching the ocean for 30 minutes, only enter the water if you can handle waves 2x the size of what you’ve already seen. The only way to get a good idea of what the ocean is capable of throwing at you that day is to check the local surf report or ask a life guard.
- Remember, people also drown after being swept off rocks. Watching big waves from rocks next to the ocean is a very dangerous activity. Know the surf report before you approach any exposed location.
- A current can pull you away even in waist high water.
- Boogie board in conditions that suit your skill level. However tempting, don’t follow local kids when the waves aren’t breaking nicely.
- Don’t over estimate your swimming ability with snorkel gear. Snorkeling is a strenous activity.
- The ocean can be extremely inviting even in dangerous conditions. When in doubt don’t go out.
Too many rules to recall? Then remember just one – swim in front of life guards.