Until last week.
Last Thursday, BroBible senior editors Brandon and J.Camm flew to Hawaii with Mountain Dew Kickstart to go surfing FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. Like, ever. In desperate need of warmer temperatures and sunshine, we were crazy enough to fly 22-combined hours from New York to Honolulu to shred tubes and live out our wildest Point Break fantasies for 48-hours (sans the dead President masks). With the help of Brian, our yodi ombudsman guru from the Hans Hedemann Surf School of Oahu, we successfully popped our surfing cherry at Waikiki’s Publics break near Diamondback. Boasting 92 milligrams of caffeine, Mt. Dew's new morning drink, Kickstart, got us sufficiently amped to surf, but our own mental and physical shortcomings caused us to not exactly resemble Kelly Slater on the water. Here’s our recap.
J.Camm: MY GAWD surfing is exhausting, isn’t it? All I can say is that it sure as hell ain't golf.
Brandon: Very. Like an idiot, I thought it’d be like skiing with less clothes on. I love skiing. I’m good at skiing. But it was nothing like it.
J.Camm: Yeah, I didn’t expect to be sore from it. My ribs still feel like they’ve been hit repeatedly by a riot baton. Tender to the touch, in the worst way possible.
Brandon: The pain from paddling in my arms and shoulders hasn’t gone away, which isn’t atypical the first few shred days on the mountain in a season. But that goes away quickly. The surfing pain has stuck around for a few days. Now I’m feeling it in my knees. For some reason my left knee bruised three days after spending it on a surfboard. It was fine right afterward. What the is that?
J.Camm: Whatever you do, don’t WebMD “unnatural bruising,” it’ll for sure diagnose you with leukemia. TRUST ME.
Did the experience meet your expectations?
Brandon: In some ways yes, in some ways no. Going into it, I had no idea the amount of paddling it took. I didn’t expect it to be so easy to get up on the board, though. I figured I’d lose my balance three out of four runs, fall, and eat shit on the ocean floor. The one time I did, I ended up with a nasty gash.
J.Camm: Ha! Nasty gash.
Brandon: Screw it, I’ll post it, for the sake of the story. Hawaiian tattoo, brah. How’s your wound? What the hell happened?
J.Camm: Our instructor, Brian, told a few untruths while trying to calm my “am I going to get sliced to shreds on coral?” paranoia. He said “there is hardly any coral on bottom, nothing to worry about.” I learned this to be wildly false the first time I fell off the board. While doing a half-jog in the water trying to fetch my board, a piece of coral that was roughly shin-high dug itself into my shin. Bleeding quickly commenced, which then opened a whole new can of paranoia: Sharks.
Brandon: Why couldn’t you get the bleeding to stop?
J.Camm: Um…WebMD informed me that “blood not clotting” is linked to leukemia, so I've got that going for me. Seriously, though, I really have no idea why it bled for so long. But even after the coral incident, I was less worried about the bleeding and sharks than I was about a fun little condition called SURFER’S PARALYSIS, which Brian briefed us on right before we entered the water.
Brandon: Sans the gash to my left lower quadrant, that was the most terrifying part of the whole experience. During the “how to” class, Brian quietly lectured us about all the blood being cut off to our brains from laying on a surfboard for too long. The condition is called “Surfer's paralysis” and it’s apparently NOT to be messed with. Before we even entered the water, it moved to the very top of my “fear” list, right up there with snakes, food poisoning from my favorite restaurant, and getting my boys stuck in a meat grinder. Brian was a pro at telling us to sit up on our boards and chill out.
J.Camm: I thought “SP” (what I’ve come to affectionately call Surfers Paralysis) was a foregone conclusion when I got on that board; thought my spine was fuckin’ toast.
And let me just say that as much as I liked Brian, I was kind of hoping for a mid-forties, sun-scorched dude with long, rarely-washed hair and skin more crisp than charred bacon. A real weathered son of a bitch, you know? And I wanted him to be named something like Keaweaheulu, which is the Hawaiian name meaning “cool breeze over the mountains.” I wanted him to inform us of what his name meant without being prompted and midway through the lesson I wanted him to pull me aside, tell me I was a prodigy, and nickname me Keokolo, which, of course, is Hawaiian for “gift of god.” I wanted all of that. Instead I bled for 8 hours because of Brian's cavalier attitude towards the goddamn coral.
Brandon: Didn’t you think a beach in Hawaii would have more sand?
Brandon: How’d you do getting up on the board?
J.Camm: Now you’re just trolling. You know damn well I did the worst of the three of us. But I caught my waves, bro…I caught my waves.
Brandon: I surprised myself. I got compliments for my ability to get up on the board and finesse from Brian. Once I was riding, it was downright exhilarating. It’s the type of thing I could see myself getting into if I lived out of the New York City in a warmer coastal climate. Before that happens, I need to spend a lot more time conditioning my upper body to gain strength in the water. Hell, here's a pic, just so people can laugh at how small the waves we were riding were:
J.Camm: Paddling was probably the thing I was best at. Although they didn’t say it, people had to be in awe of my technique.
Do you think it’s something you’ll continue to pursue or do again? Or are you a one and done?
Brandon: I’m a sucker for hobbies with a certain element of “oh shit” danger and a community culture. Hence why I love skiing, fishing, and all that outdoorsy granola stuff like hiking. As long as I have a health insurance plan, there’s no doubt I’ll do it again. It’s more an issue of geography and going with people who know what the heck they’re doing. Like, I can’t imagine surfing in the Northeast’s cold, green-grey Atlantic water. Until I grow a bigger pair, I need at least a 74 degrees water temp and turquoise-blue surf. Also, not sure I can justify dishing out a couple hundred dollars for a board, wetsuit, and the gnarliest boardshorts money can buy just to hit up beaches in the Tri-State that are only accessible via a hellish public-transit ride. I mean, I know the breaks at Rockaway, Long Beach, and Montauk are legendary, but it’s going to take some serious gear-investment and upping my game to get me out there. It will probably be a vacation activity for me. TL;DR: I can see myself buying a surfboard before a motorcycle in the non-desk job “living the dream” phase of my life.
J.Camm: I’m kind of on the fence on my future participation. If I have to choose between surfing and staring at chicks on the beach while my body bakes in the Lord's spotlight, I think I’ll choose the latter. Unless, Keaweaheulu approaches me and tells me Poseidon called my mother a whore. Then it’s on.
O.K., enough about surfing, what was your favorite thing about the trip?
Brandon: Getting the hell out of cold, grey New York in February.
J.Camm: You're right, it was obviously being in Hawaii and not NYC for three days. But I'll tell you what, the one thing that might stick with me the longest was when we were at dinner on the first night and I overheard a lady, mid-conversation, say to her daughter, “Boy, we really lucked out at Pearl Harbor.” BLEW MY MIND. Until I learned later that she was just referencing the fact that they missed the rain while visiting the memorial earlier that day. Next time she should choose her words more carefully.
Brandon: Last question: Who was Bodhi and who was Johnny Utah?
Jason: Based on my blood loss, I’m probably Bodhi.
Brandon: That makes sense because you are one radical son of a bitch.
J.Camm: Can I tell ya something? That’s awfully kind of you to say.
*No, that is not a picture of a BroBible editor gracefully shredding ric gnar in Hawaii. HAHA. But it's good to have dream, you know? PIc of Surfer on Blue Ocean Wave in the Tube Getting Barreled via Shutterstock.