Search: Advanced | Preference
Traveling Boy means the travel adventures of the Traveiling Boitanos
Travel adventures of Eric Anderson Boitano
Travel adventures of John Clayton
Travel adventures of Deb Roskamp
Travel adventures of Fyllis Hockman
Travel adventures of Brom Wikstrom
Travel adventures of Jim Friend
Travel adventures of Timothy Mattox
Travel adventures of Corinna Lothar
Travel adventures of Roger Fallihee
Travel adventures of Tamara Lelie
Travel adventures of Beverly Cohn
Travel adventures of Raoul Pascual
Travel adventures of Ringo Boitano
Travel adventures of Herb Chase
Travel adventures of Terry Cassel
Travel adventures of Dette Pascual
Travel adventures of Gary Singh
Travel adventures of John Blanchette
Travel adventures of Tom Weber
Travel adventures of James Thomas
Travel adventures of Richard Carroll
Travel adventures of Richard Frisbie
Travel adventures of Masada Siegel
Travel adventures of Greg Aragon
Travel adventures of Skip Kaltenheuser
Travel adventures of Ruth J. Katz
Travel adventures of Traveling Boy's guest contributors

Ketchikan Bed and Breakfast Service

Panguitch Utah, your destination for outdoor discovery

Alaska Sea Adventures - Alaska Yacht Charter and Cruises

Colorado ad

Sorrel ad

Polar Cruises ad

About Ringo   write me    Feeds provide updated website content        

Ringo Boitano: Surfing Hawaii

Hans Hedemann surfing at Turtle Bay Resort
No, not me. That's Hans Hedemann himself, riding a big one at Turtle Bay Resort.

How to Catch a Wave
Surfing Lessons in the Land of Aloha
by Ringo Boitano

had become one with the wave. To be honest, I couldn't quite believe I had even made it up. But here I was, a rookie surfer, riding the 20 ft. crest of a monster wave with the Hawaiian sun at my back. Some of my companions at the surf school waved and shouted in encouragement, others just laid on their boards, watching in awe. But I was not to be distracted; I was committed to riding this baby to the end. As I headed towards the shore, little heads peered out the water. On closer inspections, I could see they were jagged rocks. This I was not ready for. Should I force a fall or take my chances through the rocks? With the adrenaline pumping, I guess I had no choice.

A deafening crash consumed my world. I jolted up in bed. The room steward at the Turtle Bay Resort had dropped a plate outside my room on the hallway floor. I glanced at my alarm clock. 5:05 A.M. I had a few more hours before I was to begin my first surfing lesson at the Hans Hedemann Surf School on the North Shore of Oahu. I wondered if I could go back to sleep.

surfers at Waimea Bay
A surfer surveys the scene at Waimea Bay. Photo by Deb Roskamp

Back Story

Surfing has long been a central part of ancient Polynesian culture. When Tahitians migrated to Hawai'i, they brought with them the paipo (belly) board, which allowed them a quick way to get ashore with their daily catch. The art of wave riding upright on long boards was perfected in Hawai'i and is considered the true birthplace of surfing. Hawaiian royalty were the most skilled surfers in the villages with the best beaches reserved for them alone. The rest of the villagers were not allowed on the same beaches, but could gain prestige among the populace by their own mastery of wave riding.

The first account of surfing was written by English Lieutenant James King in 1779 after observing locals on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawai'i. "On first seeing this very dangerous diversion I did not conceive it possible but that some of them must be dashed to mummy against the sharp rock."

The sport of surfing was popularized by Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku in the 1920s, whose statue rests on Waikiki's waterfront. Today Hawai'i is regarded as the surfing capital of the world.

instructor giving pointers at surfing school
Han's giving pointers at his school

Hans Hedemann Surf School

When the clock struck seven, the monkey-wrench tightening in my gut reminded me that I was to meet Hans Hedemann and staff in an hour at his office located right at the hotel. Why was I so nervous? Yesterday, doing a survey of the North Shore's various surf beaches --- Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, Waimea--- it all looked so, well, easy.

Handshakes were exchanged between the seven rookie surfers and surf school staff. Hans, a charmastic man who seems to make a personal connection with each participant, immediately put everyone at ease. Born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands, Hans spent 17 years on the pro surfing tour circuit, winning many distinguished competitions, including the first person to win back to back ASP World events. Interestingly, his reason for starting the schools (he has another on Waikiki) is that his initial introduction to surfing as a boy was an unsuccessful and negative experience. At the end of his years on the pro tour he realized the importance of proper surf instruction. In 1997, he launched the schools to also enrich the authentic Hawaiian surfing experience. Beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers of all ages are welcome to attend his schools.

Bobby Davison riding a wave
Bobby Davison rides the wave that he fell in love with.

Surfing USA

The group was led down to the beach where we were instructed on proper water safety, and then given drills on the techniques that we would later use.

Before I knew it, we were in the water. Surfing begins with climbing on your board and paddling out to waves on the horizon. Our instructors would maneuver us so that we were facing the shore. Then, when the big one comes, give us a push, matching the wave's speed. Once the wave starts to carry you and the board, you jump to your feet and ride down the face of the wave, staying just ahead of the breaking part "white water" in a place referred to as "the pocket."

I was textbook prepared, but quickly learned that the surfer expressions, "cutback," "tube riding" and "hanging ten" were not destined to be part of my own personal experience that day.

My goal: simply to stand up on my board and ride a wave.

Countless times Hans and his assistant, Bobby Davison, would patiently push me out to the pocket, and countless times I would fall. They were both relaxed and encouraging, diligently critiquing my moves and giving me pointers.

In between waves, I asked Bobby, a native of Vermont, what made him settle in Oahu? "I was visiting the North Shore," he replied. "And I fell in love with a wave." Such is the passion of the surfer in their quest to find the perfect wave, making surfing a major component to today's travel industry.

the Turtle Bay Resort
The stunning setting of Turtle Bay Resort. Photo by Deb Roskamp

Did I ever make it up? Well, yes. I did make it up once. It was probably only for five seconds, but the memory of that sensation that will stay with me for an eternity. I really had, at least momentarily, become one with the wave. Perhaps it was love at first sight. * *

Feedback for Ringo

I love Ringo's piece on historic hotels. I once stayed at the Laurentian in Montreal - is it still around, is it historic? And then there was the Heups in Bismark.

It is interesting that two of your entries are in CANADA.

Brent, Seattle, WA

It's no mystery that you are great at what you do.

Sandee, Seattle, WA

* * * *

The Mystery on the Oasis pics are very funny!

Ramon, Kansas City, MO

* * * *

Ha ha ha ha your "schtick" Ringo!!

Dolly, Las Vegas, NV

Hello the travelling Boitano's hope you enjoy. Best wishes.

Elsa Magdalena Berno-Boitano, Laussane, Switzerland

My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it? Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks for blazing the trail!

Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA

* * * *

No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.

Key Logger, New York

* * * *

Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest bar.

Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL

* * * *


Thanks for taking the time for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.

- Ringo


I thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.

To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then. The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda" been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this to yourself all these many years.

Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.

Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA

Hey, Ringo –

Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos, too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.

Mick, Greenbay, WI

* * * *

Mick –

Now that football season is over --- I’ve often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off season ---- it’s great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy. Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products, and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations --- you know, what’s a city, which one is a town, ect – so better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to argue about any subject.

- Ringo

Name: Required
E-mail: Required
City: Required

Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

Charlie Chaplin and the Chaplin Museum
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch #14)

a dolmen at The Burren

The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape known as The Burren.

Go There

John Clayton's travel blog/review
Buckingham Palace – It's THE Most Popular Tour in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)

Buckingham Palace exit
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I know that's an odd question, but if you grow up – as I did – in London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of Tahiti and Her Islands

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.

Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination

Christmas card
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis, too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes of 12th century working people.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds. Repeat.

Venice street musicians
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.

Go There

© All Rights Reserved. 2015.
This site is designed and maintained by WYNK Marketing. Send all technical issues to:
Friendly Planet Travel

Lovin Life After 50

Big Sur ad

Herzerl Tours ad

Tara Tours ad

Alaska Cruises & Vacations ad

Dude Ranchers' Assoc. ad

Cuna Law Yacht ad

Cruise One ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Park City ad

Visit Norway ad

Sitka, Alaska ad

Montreal tourism site

Visit Berlin ad

official website of the Netherlands

Cruise Copenhagen ad

Sun Valley ad

Philippine Department of Tourism portal

Quebec City tourism ad

AlaskaFerry ad

Zurich official website

Zuiderzee Museum ad