Families Hang Out While Hanging Ten

Show your kids that mom still has some adventure in her at surfing school in Maui.

Standing on a surfboard in the sand at Breakwall Beach in Maui, practicing moves and foot placement on the long board, I felt like a fool. The only reason I was there was because my 7-year-old daughter, Sadie, wanted to learn how to surf. And the only reason I didn’t give up immediately is because she was standing next to me watching.

Besides never being particularly athletic or coordinated, I have always been a behind-the-scenes kind of person. This was way out there in public. Sadie had perfect form, our instructor Tim Sherer told us. She glowed while he repositioned my feet yet again.

Sherer, a transplant from California who started his business out of a van (where he also lived for awhile), is the owner of the Goofy Foot Surfing School in Lahaina on the northwest coast of Maui.

He’s come a long way from the van: Today he gives lessons to the likes of Jimmy Buffett. Because of his reputation, he gets booked early, so be sure to make a reservation well in advance. We felt lucky to get a private lesson with him. Sherer was so encouraging and positive that both Sadie and I felt instantly at ease.

Riding the Waves

After our land lesson, Sherer took Sadie out first while I floated on my 11-foot board. She was a natural, riding the gentle waves like she was born to it. It was my turn next, and I was ready to pass, but he convinced me that I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t go out and try. Considering this is what I say to my daughter all the time, I had no choice.

I will say this: I got up. With no grace and very little balance, but I actually managed to surf, sort of. The few seconds each time I was able to stand, I was exhilarated. However, in short order, I had enough and just enjoyed watching Sadie. She absolutely loved it.

It was a great experience for us. We both stretched to do something new, and I could see a newfound confidence in Sadie, especially when she realized she was so much better at something than I was. At 7, discovering that you have a skill that a parent doesn’t is a powerful (and healthy) thing. Learning that your child has a talent that you never knew or thought about is also a healthy thing. I came away with a new respect for her fearlessness and daring. I think she appreciated that her mom was willing to try something new, even if I was bad at it.

Private lessons with Sherer for two people for two hours costs $250. www.goofyfootsurfschool.com

Destinations: Hawaii, Maui

Themes: Beach Vacations, Family Travel

Activities: Surfing