A Full-Moon Surf Session

night surfing
Photo by John Hook

Do you like calling 2-foot waves “bombs”? Do you like being cold? If yes, you should go night surfing.

Do you like calling 2-foot waves “bombs”? Do you like being cold? If yes, you should go night surfing. I have no idea who started night surfing, or when, but I’m guessing it was a bunch of dudes who were surfing Waikīkī one evening and kept telling themselves, “Okay, this is the last wave in,” and then kept catching waves all night.

WaikĪkĪ happens to be the perfect surf spot to go night surfing. The waves are not terrifyingly dangerous, the lights from the city reflect onto the water and help you find waves, and there are never any shark sightings (which is comforting to know when you are sitting in the ocean and you can’t see your legs because the water is so dark.)

All you need are some friends, a full moon, and a surfboard, and you’ve got yourself ten additional hours of surf time to work with. Surf at 2 a.m.? Why not? It won’t be that crowded. You’re definitely going to need your friends there to keep your ego in check, because in the dark, you will think you are surfing pretty damn good—your friends will be there to confirm or deny. “I think I killed that wave” is a common idea that pops into your head after you surf a wave without falling off.

Catching and surfing waves is the easy part; the hard part is paddling back out in the dark, completely terrified that someone is going to run you over because basically, you’re invisible on the surface of the water, like a black blob floating on top of a larger black blob. Sometimes you can wear glow sticks on your body so people can identify you out in the water, but on the downside, you look like a raver, and that hasn’t been cool since ’99. So you’re stuck out there trying to get the attention of the surfer on the wave flying toward you, and you make loud, high-pitched noises in hopes to echo your location to him like a dolphin.

Have you found yourself not surfing as much as you used to? Have you found yourself working that 9-to-5 job, and that when you’re off, the waves aren’t good enough to convince you to not take a nap? Night surfing will get you out of that slump. There’s definitely time. It’s possible to surf any of the 24 hours of the day. Waikīkī has some sort of wave breaking all spring, summer, and fall. Just get a longboard if you don’t have one already. You don’t even need to wait for a full moon (that only happens once a month anyway).

I’ve paddled out in the summer in the middle of the night, with no moon in the sky. It felt like I was floating in space, facing out to the horizon, no clouds in the sky, only the Milky Way above me, black water in front of me—it was wild.

On a side note, it is funny that when you’re in Waikīkī at 1 a.m. and you see a guy with no shoes and no shirt sitting on the sidewalk, you don’t think twice and just walk by without giving him a second look. But when you walk through Waikīkī at 1 a.m. with no shoes, no shirt, carrying nothing but a surfboard, people look at you like you’re crazy. But yeah, you should go.

FULL MOONS IN 2014: July 12, August 10, September 8, October 8, November 6, December 6

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