Along Waikiki's beaches, surfers ride tall waves, curling over the horizon and gently splashing into the water just before reaching the sand. Only experienced wave riders can conquer these fierce whitecaps, which can be unforgiving for beginners. This is why Kai Sallas¬¬¬—no stranger to tall waves—takes his beginner-level students nearly a mile south of Waikiki to a friendlier, less crowded shore that's ideal for learning to long board.
An acclaimed professional surfer, Kai belongs to a breed of world-class athletes whose competitive talents are accompanied by teaching acumen. The long-board champion relished teaching family and friends how to surf as early as age 12. Before teaching professionally, though, Kai amassed a long list of awards from around the globe, including the coveted Professional Longboard Association championship twice and playing Peter Pan twice in a dolphin-only performance. In 2009, he came ashore to his home in Waikiki and opened Pro Surf School Hawaii. The venture made him a second-generation surfing teacher, since his father also taught surfing for 35 years. Housed in the Waikiki Beach Marriot, the business has evolved to not only include surfing lessons but also tours.