Many of my favorite memories are from days I spent with my hanai big brother Brian Keaulana. Brian is a wealth of information when it comes to anything to do with the ocean. The first day I met him, he taught me how to standup paddle, canoe surf and tandem surf.
I literally laughed in his face when he said, “okay, jump on my shoulders.” I thought he was JOKING. I mean, really? Jump on your shoulders? Then I bet you want me to stand on them and hold my leg up in the air or something… ha ha ha! His response: “Yup!”
Here’s a photo from my very FIRST time tandem surfing with Brian at Makaha.
That’s how it all started. I’ve only tandem surfed about a dozen times in my life, but every single experience was such a thrill and I loved every second! Brian was trying to find me a tandem partner for about a year… unfortunately, every guy we thought of… ended up flaking! I’m not sure if it’s the time commitment – you need to train and practice. Their priorities – most surfers would rather surf alone if they have the choice. OR, the fact that since I’m 5’10″ I’m a lot harder to lift! My center of gravity is much higher than most tandem partner girls and I’m heavier since I’m so tall.
Regardless, I’m thankful for those that ARE willing to lift me! I’ve tandem surfed with Brian Keaulana and French pro, Rico Leroy (both world champion tandem surfers). I know… I’m a lucky girl! Several years ago, I pitched a series to Hawaii News Now – “Hawaii’s French Connection” – it was a longshot, but I actually convinced my bosses to allow me to do it (and my hubby to be my volunteer camera man)! One of the stories was about a tidal bore on the Gironde River in France. French watermen were surfing the bore on Hawaiian outrigger canoes and even tandem surfing! Here’s video
Brian is the one that suggested I do the story and suggested I tandem surf with Rico. So, our very first time tandem surfing together was on a tidal bore!… in the dark!! Later, I found out Rico was struggling because I had “wet noodle” syndrome – I need to be more tight and straighten my legs fully – poor thing!
Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever tandemed in the OCEAN with Rico! lol The next opportunity we had to tandem surf was at “The Wave Garden” in Spain – an artificial wave created by a foil. ha ha! Guess it’s high time we get in the ocean together!
Anyhoo… Back to the subject at hand – my Travel Channel shoot! Brian was out of town, so I’m so grateful Leleo Kinimaka agreed to meet us in Waikiki to teach us how to tandem on camera!
He brought along his tandem partner, Megan Talabis. The idea was to have Leleo and Megan teach us some moves on the beach…
… then split up so each pro would “tandem” with each of the co-hosts. Leleo with me – and Megan with Shane (Travel Channel’s Top 10 List Host). Thank for being such great sports you guys!
Especially Megan – Shane had never tandem surfed before so it was challenging… and maybe a little scary for her? lol ha ha! Everything went well though and we got some great footage! Leleo and I only caught a couple of successful waves (the feature image for this blog is one of them) but hey, I’m thankful for whatever I can get! It was such a blast!
#BrianKeaulana #RicoLeroy #TandemSurfing #WorldChampionTandemSurfer #BestTeacherEver #ThankYouForBeingWillingToLiftMe #NoOneElseWasGame #LeleoKinimaka #TravelChannel #LifesSwell
The Top 10 List Blogs: Tandem Surfing, Sandy’s Shorebreak & Surfing the North Shore, Seeing Oahu From The Air, Dirt Biking, Swimming With Sharks, Live Like Eddie, Making Ti Leaf Lei, Supsquatch & Outrigger Canoe, Hiking Kapena Falls, Eating Local – Kahuku Superette