posted on August 07, 2014 11:00
St. Regis options: Relaxed to rugged
Hanalei Bay as seen from the St. Regis Princeville Resort
Source & Image: travelweekly.com
I took a pretty good beating the last time I tried to catch waves on a standup paddleboard.
During a recent stay at the St. Regis Princeville on Kauai's North Shore, I borrowed one of the property's 10-foot-plus standup rentals for a leisurely tour along the eastern edge of nearby Hanalei Bay, where I planned to explore the calm, olive-colored mouth of the Hanalei River.
However, a collection of tempting waves, breaking regularly on either side of the Hanalei Pier, proved too seductive to resist, and I scrapped my original idea for the chance to catch a good ride or two along with a handful of standup surfers gathered about 100 yards off Black Pot Beach Park.
I surf pretty regularly near my home in Honolulu, but it had been close to two years since I last rode a standup board, which requires a much different approach and a separate set of skills. Rusty from the long hiatus, I took all sorts of watery spills at Hanalei Bay, managing a nearly full airborne somersault before one splashdown that must have had a few onlookers at the pier giggling.
Knees covered in friction burns from the board, back and neck aching, arms approaching exhaustion from all the paddling, I finally rode down the face of a waist-high wave after about 40 minutes of mostly failures, turning some at the bottom to enjoy more of the ocean's push before eventually jumping feet first into the warm Pacific.
Hanalei Bay as seen from the St. Regis Princeville.The wonderful thing about surfing is it just takes a single fun ride to make your entire day. Sporting a wide grin now, I paddled beyond the breaking waves, pausing for a few minutes on my way back to the St. Regis to admire Hawaiian green sea turtles — one with a shell the size of a truck tire — while the setting sun painted the water purple and reddened the edges of more fleecy gray clouds than I could count.