Surf lesson(s)

Nathan “Sparki” Metzger of Kauai Surf School © Barb Sligl
Learning to surf in Kauai offers a larger lesson about attitude dancing

A lesson I’ll long remember came to me in Kauai. It was delivered with no bullshit by a bearded, tatted surfer. I had been mumbling (okay, whining) about my fear, lack of skills, the reef I would fall into…and declared that I wasn’t going to be able to surf. I was letting negativity taint the entire experience, cloud the bright morning and mar the lesson—before it even started. Sparki, as he’s called, simply looked me in the eye and said, “If you say you can’t, you can’t.” Truth, brah.

So, if you’re going to learn how to surf, do it in Hawaii. Better yet, do it on the south shores of Kauai, where the sun is hot, the water warm, the sand like sugar and the surf is for everyone—beginner to pro. And do it with Nathan “Sparki” Metzger. Co-owner of Kauai Surf School, this former pro surfer (who’s surfed with the likes of the legendary Andy Irons) could, as one student put it, teach a pig to fly, let alone surf.

Think yoga in three simple steps: lying on the back end of the board, push up, bring one leg up into a lunge, step forward with the other leg…and ride a wave. Simple. Seriously. Sparki—grinning and cheering—stood with me in the water and timed my first wave: “Start paddling”…eyes on the beach, a few fast arm strokes…“now stand”…eyes on the beach, and steps one, two, three…

I pushed up, planted my feet and rode a wave all the way onto the beach my first go. Eyes on the beach, I was there.

Gnarly! Well, not really, it was beyond tame by surfing standards, but radical enough for me. Something clicked on Poipu Beach in the Garden Isle of Kauai. A lesson learned (and one that I need constant reminding of).

Like another Hawaiian surfing legend, Gerry Lopez, once said:

Surfing is attitude dancing.

Thanks Sparki. Φ

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