July 9, 2013

Nalu - Wave

It's not surprising that in Hawaii, most kids are comfortable in the water from an early age. It's not uncommon to see naked babies swimming underwater and preschoolers surfing. But if you live in a state where you're never more than 20 miles from the ocean, you have lots of exposure to the water. We are from Michigan, and if you're not up on US geography, it's a peninsula shaped like a mitten, surrounded by the Great Lakes. So we were used to the water. And were cool with nalu, waves. Or so we thought.

Back in 2010:

On our first visit to Hawaii, we took a trip to the North Shore to see the big waves. Unfortunately, they were so big there was a beach advisory and the kids had to be kept way back on the sand. The older guys thought they'd have fun body surfing.

Getting ready to dive in
They did have a great time, although getting out of the water was quite a dangerous task because the waves broke hard right on the shore and would proceed to suck you back in. And then hit you again. And again. Now we know better and we're so thankful no one was hurt!

Pretty sure lifeguards love when tourists do this stuff!
Back in 2011:

Despite Michigan having many lakes, our kids didn't have that much exposure to swimming. So when we arrived in Hawaii they were almost afraid of the water. The ocean might look almost the same as a lake to an adult, but for a child the waves are much bigger, louder and saltier! They preferred to play in the sand, only using the ocean to get water for their sand castles...

...and giant holes in the sand. Which, looking back are a great way to keep them from escaping!

Another haole mistake about waves. After we had first arrived, there was a big storm. Since it was winter, we thought going to the North Shore would let us see some killer waves. However, they weren't that great. And no one was surfing. That's because the wind in a storm causes waves, but the big swells you surf on come from miles and miles away. And most people don't like surfing waves in a storm. For obvious reasons of getting rained on and poor visibility, but also because it stirs up the sand and makes the water nasty. Now we know to actually listen to the weather and surf report to find out when to watch the surfers in action!

Now in 2013:

For safety's sake, it was nice that the kids were content playing in the sand without sneaking into the waves. However, we realized they might actually need to learn to swim one day. It has been a gradual process, and there might have been some long discussions about sharks, seaweed and being brave. Once they realized riding waves was fun, it was a good motivator.

Body boarding with a life jacket
They've both started swimming lessons, and although there's still a long way to go before they'll be surfing, it's awesome to watch them conquer their fears and be able to enjoy the nalu that grace our shores.


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