Surfs Up!

Happy International Surf Day!  I don’t think any of us happened to know this, but when I posted my surfing excitement on Facebook, I was promptly told by a jealous friend, who at the moment was sitting in an office. (Riddle me this, why was she on Facebook at work?) I do admit, I have been checking in every now and then, posting pictures, and updating statuses.  I would prefer to be completely unplugged during my vacation, not have to deal with emails, texting, the outside world, but it happens and seemingly when one receives a Smartphone, it’s pretty difficult to completely disconnect.  Anyways, it is a worldwide celebration, usually centered on the summer solstice or longest day of the year, and was started back in 2004 by the Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine.

Our surfing location

While I may not drop my marketing degree and become a pro surfer, I do have to say, it was the best morning yet.  We signed up for a semi-group lesson with KONA Mike’s Surf Lessons, which consisted of a quick demonstration, little surf booties, a foam board, and two hours of wave action.  We also were graced with two guides, Desi and Lahiki, who would help us get up by pushing our boards into the waves at the precise moment.  I have pretty good balance, but would need to work on my timing and arm strength to get anywhere.

Hawaii really does have the laid-back surfing mentality that we stereotype or exaggerate in the movies.  I thought it was extra hilarious when we saw a kid skate up on his longboard, throw it into the back of the truck, ready to surf.  We thought it was just another kid ready to surf with his buddies, but nope, that was our guide Lahiki.  What a great way to start the day.  Wake up, skate to work, and sit in the waves for a few hours.  As Desi put it, there really isn’t too much to do out here, so it starts when they are little, as little as 4, and any down time they get, they head for the waves.  There was even a tiny girl, about 7 years old, who was tearing up the waves on her smaller board.

Kona is where the World Championships Ironman occurs each October. Someday I think it would be a dream come true to compete in such a race, but that is sure lightyears away. The entire race consists of: 2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike, and a 26.2 run along the humid lava rocks. Talk about tough!

We were out of the water around 11 and had considered stopping for an early lunch, but ended up driving around Kona to take pictures of the bay and fill up the car with gas.  By the time we reached our lunch destination, it was almost 1pm; so much for the early lunch.  Lunch was at a small fish & chips stand inside the Waikoloa shopping village. My dad had read some good reviews about Island Fish & Chips, so we thought we would test it out.  It was just a small window on the side of the lagoon, with Japanese tempura style fish and chips.  My mom, dad, and I sampled the catch of the day variety, while Meghan sampled the chicken basket.  The way the batter formed around the flaky fish easily absorbed the sauce before each bite.  Being the Queen of Sauce, I experimented with BBQ sauce, guava jelly, ketchup, and tartar sauce.  Everyone else stuck with one selection and mom was in seventh heaven with her tartar sauce.

What’s funny to me is that each time we are near a grocery store it seems we need to restock food and drinks. We really are only gone for a week, but even at home, we seem to make a trip to the store daily, if not more.  At school, I tend to shop every couple of weeks, maybe with the exception of a trip to restock milk or fruit, but never every day.   So, once we had picked up more fruit, cheese, juice, and crackers, we hit the road for some R&R on the beach.

Tonight’s dinner was a great little change in pace from the Hawaiian pupus, tropical music, and ocean waves.  In fact, we were in a whole different part of the island – on Kahua Ranch! Did you know that Kahua supposedly used by King Kamehameha to train his armies and then was used as an R&R site for soldiers during WWII? It is also located on the oldest volcano on the island.

This is Pu’ukohola Heiau or the “Temple on the Hill of the Whale.”  It was constructed by King Kamehameha, the only king to unite the islands, between 1790-1791. It was built to fulfill a prophecy that would help him achieve this great task of conquering and uniting the islands. It is built out of water-worn lava rock, which was passed from person to person along a 20-mile human chain.  Imagine how long that must have taken!

We were picked up by Sue, who has been working as a tour guide for the past 30+ years.  She and her husband had been on the island since 1990.  She was a very fascinating individual, sharing some of the island’s stories, some of her own, and pronouncing every last syllable in such a precise manner, you could tell she was a tour guide.   By the end of the night, we joked that she was omnipresent.  She drove us up for an “Evening on the Ranch“, greeted other guests, helped clear the dishes, taught us all the Electric Slide, and then when you thought she was finished, she was there singing songs by the campfire.  Got to love her.

After a booming welcome speech from the ranch owner’s son, we all found our way to the buffet line and out to the ranch porch. He reminded me of my Uncle Tom; a man with a booming voice, great sense of humor, and very outgoing personality.

I found the meal to be completely scrumptious: steak, huli huli chicken, sweet beans, salad with a papaya seed dressing, garlic mashed potatoes, and a macadamia nut pie that was similar to a fall pecan pie or coconut pie.  I’ll have to sample this recipe out to share with you!

Coffee anyone?

After dinner, they brought one of the wild pigs, Piggily Wiggily out to play.  Well, they really fed her a heaping basket of rolls, as we all ooed and awed and snapped pictures.

From there, there were lassoing lessons (in which I failed), s’mores (as if we weren’t stuffed already…I passed), and branding.  Don’t worry, I didn’t brand my sister or anything living for that matter.

As the night came to a close, we hoped back into the car with Sue and she drove us back to our hotel.  I think I truly enjoyed the ranch BBQ because it was something different.  I adore trying new things whether it is activities, meeting new people, or sampling new foods.  The country/how-down vibe did seem a little familiar to our tribes to the Alisal Ranch, up near Solvang, California, but it was a unique experience.

Fun Fact:  Did you know the Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters?

{A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W}

Sadly, my name isn’t completely Hawaiian, but I’ve found a way to translate it! Kaitlin = Keikelani.  Now, doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?


1 thought on “Surfs Up!

  1. Pingback: Marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate OH MY! | California Endless Summer

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