Losing Your Shorts at Hapuna Beach
Have you ever heard anyone talking about "fast twitch" muscles? Yeah, I don't have any of those. I played high school football for three years, but was effectively in a witness protection program otherwise known as the offensive line. That's what you do with your big slow guys...put them on the line. As another data point I offer you my baseball experience. The highlight of my career was getting hit in the mouth by a line drive off a tee (yes, tee ball) from a guy sporting a mustache in third grade (could have really used a birth certificate check on that guy). I couldn't raise my glove quickly even with my teeth on the line. So when a friend's Dad said let's go to Hapuna Beach, athletic feats never crossed my mind.
Kona, Hawaii was last week's workation destination. I was stoked because I'd never been to the Big Island and was keen to peep some hot lava, fact-check the world class rating on that coffee, and pay a visit to Kona Island Brewing Company; producer of the only variety pack in my local bodega that's not overloaded with IPAs. Unfortunately, research before lava patrol revealed it actually quit flowing in August last year...booooo. The crew decided to plug that hole with a beach excursion -- which is where Doug's (my flight attendant's father) suggestion came in. I already had a good recommendation from a buddy that had logged some days on the Waikoloa shore, but Doug (a Kona local) said, "no man, you gotta go to Hapuna Beach." So that's what we did. And it looked a lot like this.
Now back to that discussion about my God given talents. I feel confident that he's called me to do things, but those things are not characterized by speed, grace, agility, or balance. Which is why it's all the more perplexing that I decided to wade into the body surfing melee in progress. It started simply enough, wading out to look at the big waves. Hmmm...I can handle this. Next thing you know I'm jumping forward of a wave and riding it in ass to the heavens. I emerged from the surf 100-feet closer to the shore with my pants precariously hanging; a comical mash-up of Sasquatch and the Coppertone Kid with at least a half-moon shining in full daylight. A woman shrieked. A child laughed. I dropped...into the water to adjust my pants. I think that'll just about do it, I thought to myself before traversing 200 feet laterally in the shallows to emerge shamelessly in front of a new group of observers who'd seen much less of me. Now a little closer to the lifeguard stands, I heard warnings about broken necks and spinal injuries that left me saucer eyed and determined to do a little googling. Sure enough, Hapuna Beach turned in a second place finish in the state with 31 recorded spinal injuries from 2009 to 2017. Needless to say, the feet-high body surfing exhibition by the esteemed representative from Alabama was over.
But the waves were fascinating and I could easily watch other people making poor decisions for hours on end (lots of YouTube time invested there). So I grabbed my camera and found some rocks near the south end of the beach. A couple of locals were putting on a show. I shot a few other people, but it was fun to try and capture them doing it right. Enjoy!
Later that night....
Local at dinner: "You guys body surfed at Hapuna Beach?!?!"
Collectively: "Yeah, waves were no joke!" - "I lost my sunglasses" - "I almost lost my shorts and definitely lost my dignity"
Local: "You know that's one of the most dangerous beaches in Hawaii right?"
Me: "Doug.....did you know that?"
Doug (our local): "No man...I had no idea!"
Collectively: "Thanks Doug. Round of Tequila for everyone please."