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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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There were five lessons I learned during my surf lesson that extend way beyond the water.
There were five lessons I learned during my surf lesson that extend way beyond the water.

Surf's up

I've been avoiding writing this blog since it means I am reflecting on my visit to warm, sunny Maui, which in turn means I am back home in the cold and back to the daily grind. The sour part of me wanted to muse on reasons not to take vacation since re-entry into real life is so difficult, but then I couldn't fathom the reality of a year without escape from everyday life into some tropical wonderland.

Instead, I have chosen to tap my fingers away for a much better reason – to share my adventure getting on surfboard for the first time at age 36 and the lessons I learned from the Papa heʻe nalu. (That's surfboard in Hawaiian.)
My husband and I went Maui bound for the second year in a row and this time, had only one thing on our leisure radar – surfing. Chuck set up a lesson at Maui Wave Riders where they specialize in "beginners and cowards."

I qualified for both. The ocean is an intimidating force when you were mostly raised on pavement. It's only been in recent years that I have even been exposed to open water and braved the waves. But, we were resigned to learn to surf on this trip. We were amped to yell our "Cowabungas!" and "Shaka Brahs!" (We learned real surfers actually say these phrases! Well, maybe not "cowabunga." And I learned there is a difference in the direction your hand faces as you flash "hang loose" with your fingers.)

We arrived in Maui late on Friday night and rose a few hours later stoked to catch a wave. We were the first students to arrive at surf school and as our co-pupils trickled in, we were impressed with the diversity of the bunch. But, we were completely fascinated with the instructors, each a living, breathing example of Maui surf life. They were amazingly friendly, relaxed and very tan.

Our instructor was yet to show up, but we were intrigued with stories about the sole female teacher, aptly named, "Sol" who would be our guide on the water.

Some sort of station wagon/truck/van (basically a vehicle exactly like you …

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