Guest Author - Gordana Liddell
When in Rome...well, the same goes for Hawaii.
How could you possibly travel to the mecca of surfing and not surf?
A little too daunting an idea for you? Fear not! Sunset Suzy will take care of you and show you the ropes.
A veteran of the high surf and a knowlegeable and easy going girl, Suzy will make sure you catch that first wave, or help you perfect your already impressive skills.
I met with Suzy for an afternoon at Chun's Reef and had a chat with her...after we spent a couple of hours surfing first of course!
Me: How long have you been surfing?
Suzy: Oh 20-25 years, mostly Hawaii, this is where I learned to surf.
Me: Did the first time change your life?
Suzy: It changed my life forever! I just traveled around the world looking for waves...
just catching waves and teaching people how to surf. Basically life kind of revolves around surfing.
Me: Are you a lifeguard?
Suzy: I was a lifeguard for a long time out here on the north shore and I got all the stations like Sunset, Pipeline, Waimea Bay. It was fun, it was exciting, and all the guys were really cool. I was the only girl so they kind of treated me like I was their little sister. And then, with my surf school and surf camps, I just got too busy to lifeguard anymore.
Me: Your surf camp, what does that involve?
Suzy: I have surf camps for women, guys camps, and co-ed camps and we all stay in a beach house. And it's mostly just about surfing. You surf all day as long as you can until you get tired. Then we go jump in the waterfalls, go hiking, swim with sea turles, tour around the island, and we go to luaus and we do hula dancing...
Me: I guess after a week everybody kind of gets to know each other.
Suzy: By the end of the week everybody's totally tight and we all make friends that sometimes last forever.
Me: When did you surf school open?
Suzy: Around 2000.
Me: Primarily women?
Suzy: Not really, I just wanted to teach everybody. It was mostly women, now it's men, women and children; anybody who wants to learn how to surf...bring it on!
Me: Does it still affect you when you see someone catching their first wave?
Suzy: Totally! I still get goosebumps. I see the smile on their face because they are so excited.
Me: Because you know what they are feeling, right?
Suzy: Exactly. I can remember when I caught my first wave and it's just the most incredible feeling in the world! I can so relate. Sometimes you get tired or sometimes you forget, but most everyday I thank God for the life he's given me out here.
Me: It shows.
Me: Do you have any good stories? Any surf sessions or wipeout stories?
Suzy: Oh ya! Surfing Sunset is pretty brutal because it gets pretty big and gnarly. It was a big 10 foot day, like double overhead, and this big set came in and held me down and I was getting dizzy. When you start getting dizzy and your fingers start tingling that means you're losing all the oxygen in your body. I was trying to get to the top, kind of like in Blue Crush, and I couldn't. Then another wave hit me and I just barely got one breath, and another wave got me and another and it was like five or six waves, and it just washed me all the way in. So that was really scary. Hawaii has some of the most powerful waves in the world. We are little volcanoes out here, there's no real shelf to slow the waves down so they hit us with all the momentum and all the speed they have when they travel through the ocean. Whereas california, when those waves come in they slow down because of the Continental Shelf. But on the north shore it just drops off 1000, 2000, 3000 feet so it's really powerful surf out here!
Me: What was your best session?
Suzy: Probably Sunset again! It can either be total joy or total death. It can go either way,
that's why it's exciting. Every wave is different and you never know what the session is going to bring you.
Me: Can you tell me about Baywatch and Blue Crush?
Suzy: Baywatch, I was a stuntwoman. The main stunt I did was they needed a crazy girl to fall off a battleship, and there was this other guy, we were falling together...and we were falling next to David Hasselhoff...it was funny!
Blue Crush, they needed surfer girls and I did some background surfing where we would surf around the actresses and stuff. And we did a lot of party scenes. They just needed local people that knew how to surf. It was fun.
If Suzy has the skills to guard the surfers on the monster waves of the north shore, she and her team can comfortably keep you safe during your lesson. She'll take you to a beautiful and manageable spot where you can get up on that board and discover what all the fuss is about.
$75/pp for a group of 3 or more people
$85/pp for 2 people
$95/pp for a private lesson
$1 350/pp for 1 week surf camp
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