West Oahu SUP's staff of professional surfers and lifeguards rent out equipment, lead tours, and conduct lessons on a secluded beach flanked by mountains on both sides. Their passion for the region’s natural splendor defines their tours. The guides can pinpoint the best times of day to spot sea turtles or take advantage of the calmest breezes; lead groups to their favorite lava formations for midday dives; and remember the satisfaction of discovering the sea by paddleboard and kayak for the very first time.
Sergio Lima was only 4 years old when he caught his first wave. His board may have been nothing more than a piece of driftwood, but that experience ignited his passion for surfing. Eventually, he was selected to represent his native island, Brazil's Fernando de Noronha, in an international competition. The waves eventually landed him on the north shore of O'ahu, where he and his wife, Carly, who is also a photographer, operate Island Style Surf School.
They take advantage of the year-round waves of the North Shore to train first-timers along with experienced wave-riders. They provide the board and leash, the rash guard, sunscreen, and a towel—their students need bring only their swimsuits and their Fish-to-English dictionary.
Designed to recreate Hawaii's native volcanic rock and its thrilling climbs, a multitude of climbing surfaces erupt throughout Volcanic Rock Gym's 3,000 square feet. From 16 feet in the air, a large top-out boulder hangs over an expanse of traversing walls, campus boards, and safety mats. Traditionalists can scale a vertical wall with the reassurance of a physical anchor on the top-rope routes, and rebellious climbers and mountain-goat impersonators can attempt the crack-climbing walls and bouldering façades. In addition, curious spelunkers can explore the bouldering cave, negotiating its ceiling holds and stubborn bats to emerge back in the gym from a massive overhang. Climbing routes change every month to present new climbing challenges and dissuade cheaters from memorizing all the foothold nibs before testing their climbing prowess.
Sanoe Garcia-Suguitan, owner and founder of Akala Dance Studio, leads a team of instructors in teaching hip-centric movements during hula and Tahitian dance classes. Across three different dance spaces, the 45-minute classes impart basic steps in a fun, noncompetitive setting, ranging from the smooth, foot-grounded sways of hula to the energetic rhythms of Tahitian dance. The studio also puts on productions, in which professional dancers don grass skirts and colorful headpieces for special events such as weddings, luaus, or amateur competitions.
Under the tutelage of the legendary surfer "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani, the instructor who now runs North Shore Surf Instruction learned how to surf on Hawaiian beaches. Today, he relates those same lessons to surfers of all ages, all the while emphasizing the importance of "aloha"?a word that has many meanings, including peace, compassion and mercy.
In a protected cove, safe from the larger ocean swells, beginners will first get their bearings on land. There, they can practice standing up on the board, paddling, and waving wildly to passing parasailers. They can then take to the water on a traditional surfboard or stand-up paddle board, ready to catch some waves and explore the scenery.
Born and raised on the North Shore and in Waikiki, Buttons Kaluhiokalani started surfing at the age of 7, earning his way into the 1973 US Championships at the age of 13 and planting himself in the pages of Hawaiian surfing history. At Buttons Surfing School, newcomers can learn to ride waves from a master during 90-minute lessons that cover proper technique as well as safety and etiquette out on the water. Visitors can also rent out the school's boards or take lessons on stand-up paddleboarding.