Flying into Honolulu is always a joyous occasion for this wannabe hula girl.
Leaving behind the stormy Sydney weather for a balmy Hawaiian spring is just the ticket to separate what would otherwise be a much longer flight to Los Angeles.
My heart skips a beat as I see the palm trees sway and I breeze through customs to hail a cab straight to Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Checking in with the duty manager, I am directed to level 17 of the infamous Rainbow Tower where my ocean front room welcomes me with a view that is beyond breathtaking.
Spacious and modern, room 1705 is the perfect place to reacquaint myself with all that I love about Honolulu.
There’s not much time to rest though as the plan for the afternoon is to experience a very exciting ‘first’ and what I also like to classify as a ‘must do’ when in Hawaii…surfing!
The long boards line the lagoon and, whilst try to calm my nerves about my afternoon exploring the great blue yonder in a different way, I spot a six-year old girl beaming at the upcoming experience and know that I just have to ‘woman up’.
Rashies donned, instructor Freddy takes us through the basics on the beach before we carry our long boards two by two to paddle out for what seems like kilometres to the safety rope.
Keeping his advice to ‘help him, help me’ top of mind and to never stand up in the water just in case we step on a sea urchin or sharp rock, I paddle out with the group.
Starting off strong and confident, a few of us start to lag behind as our necks, backs and shoulders feel the ache. I have a newfound respect for surfers and an understanding now as to why they have such amazing arms!
The water choppy, I hold onto the safety rope firmly as I watch my teammates conquer their first waves.
I run through the steps in my head…
I watch one, two, three people stand…before I watch one, two, three people fall into the water.
My name is called but I’m not ready…lack of sleep after a long haul flight and nerves get the better of me but those instructors are patient and Hilton Hawaiian Village’s resident beach boy Errol Kane Jr. calls out words of encouragement.
So I take the plunge and hope it isn’t literally as I let go of the safety rope and paddle like my life depended on it to where the waves break.
If the young children in our group can ride the waves with smiles plastered on their faces, what do I have to worry about?
So I ride the wave…on my knees…
The water photographer calls out to lunge forward but my desire to stay on the board is too strong and I scream with exhilaration as I fly towards the shore.
Then the board wobbles and my desire to remain afloat is thrown to the trade winds. Kicking to the surface I try to keep my mind off sea urchins and sharp rocks as I try to remember what to do to turn my board back over and get back on.
Waves crash against me but the water photographer, Derrick, coaches me through the steps and before I know it I am paddling back to the safety rope.
I may not have technically surfed but in my mind at least, that goal can now be safely crossed off my ever-growing bucket list!
It’s time to return to shore and reward myself with a mai tai at the Halekulani where a Hawaiian band and former Miss Hawaii turned hula dancer, Kanoe, performs for a large audience.
The best spot to view the sunset I am told, the Halekulani offers a vast menu of cocktails and dining options and offers me the ideal place to celebrate my first night in Hawaii with my local hoaloha (friend) Tracy.
No first day would be complete without at least a spot of shopping and, with Ala Moana open until 9pm, the cherry on my ice cream of a day in Honolulu was arriving back to my hotel with carry bags filled to the brim with bargains.
That two 64kg bags of luggage kindly provided by Hawaiian Airlines will certainly come in handy methinks!
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A