Surfing the North Shore for 5 Weeks Straight With Amber Lewis
Sep 27, 2021
Salt Life team member Amber Lewis recently went on the surfing trip of a lifetime. She spent more than a month on Hawaii’s North Shore surfing almost nonstop. It's a trip that has both changed her life and honed in her skills as a surfer. We sat down with Amber to hear all about it.
Here’s what Amber learned about surfing, the Hawaiian culture, and herself on her epic five-week trip to Hawaii’s north shore.
Packed Up and Headed Out
Amber was born and raised in South Florida where the waves are small and mushy. She’s been dreaming of crystal clear water since she started surfing at just 13 years old. In pursuit of pristine water and the perfect wave, Hawaii became her dream destination.
Eventually, her dream came to a head and it was time to take action. She quit her day job, packed a bag and her board, and headed out for the surfing trip of a lifetime. Amber explained that she’s not usually so spontaneous, but she felt that there was something more out there and she was determined to find it.
The moments experienced during her five-week surfing trip helped shape Amber into who she is today. She learned a lot about herself, including how to travel alone, something she’d never experienced before. She encourages everyone to take a solo trip before life gets too busy and stationary. One of the most important things that she learned was to make sure you pack light. “Extra baggage can weigh you down,” she explained. “Unless you're going somewhere remote, you don’t need more than the essentials."
Intense Surfing that Lived Up to the Hype
Amber’s main goal for her trip was to improve her surfing skills. She knew she needed to stay in Hawaii long enough to make that happen. That’s why she intentionally planned a month-long trip and eventually extended it for an additional week. If it weren’t for Amber’s family and friends back in Florida, she may never have come back.
Amber was looking for intense surf that would challenge her and push her to improve her existing skills, and that is exactly what she found. Her surfing growth was not without some scary moments. There were several times where she was caught in the surf beneath the surface for so long that she was thankful to reach the sand alive.
Eventually, Amber found the perfect training ground on Maui. With smaller and less powerful surf, the conditions enabled her to grow at a better pace. Her Maui experience was full of the crystal-clear water that she had dreamed about for so long, as well as perfect breaks. Amber was ecstatic to be accomplishing what she had traveled so far to achieve.
Amber had intended to surf every single day that she was in Hawaii, but due to some heavy surf and poor weather conditions, she had to find something else to do on days when surfing just wasn’t an option. That extracurricular activity ended up being hiking. Though she was not a boots on the trail type of gal before her trip, Hawaii paved the way for a new passion. She really enjoyed hiking up volcanoes, something that hadn’t been possible in Florida. One memorable moment was hiking up to catch the sunrise on top of the Haleakala volcano at 10,023 feet in 40 degree weather. You’ve got to be pretty high up to be cold in Hawaii!
Amber also enjoyed taking Ukulele lessons in Waikiki, visiting the botanical gardens at Waimea Valley, and singing karaoke with new friends at Breakers Restaurant & Bar on the North Shore. She placed 3rd in a skimboarding contest against Hawaiian locals and chartered a boat to scuba dive with the turtles against a gorgeous coral reef backdrop. Amber capped off her non-surfing highlights with a detailed tattoo on her shoulder of the Hawaiian islands and their mountains with the inscription - “Those who fly solo have the strongest wings,” the perfect sentiment for her trip.
Where to Stay on the North Shore
Amber stayed in different hostels throughout her five-week journey. Hostels are the most budget-friendly lodging option in a non-continental state that is known for high-priced accommodations.
Amber stayed at the Backpackers hostel while on Oahu where she made friends with fellow travelers. She recommends either bringing your own blanket or learning to go without as hostels often did not have extras available. She chose the latter, which was an important learning experience for Amber throughout her Hawaii indoctrination - “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Letting go of expectations is a grounding and humbling experience that leads to peace within yourself and your surroundings.
Amber’s Tips for Solo Travel
Amber recommends being open minded to new cultures while remaining cautious and alert. Be aware of your surroundings - people, neighborhoods, looks and feels, and only tell others that you are alone if you feel completely comfortable. It’s smart to always have some cash on you as you never know when you might need help.
Talk to every person you meet on your journey. They could be the link to your next adventure or a really good connection to have in the future. Try new things and be whoever you want to be. No one knows you and you have nothing to lose!
All in all, If you want to find what you are looking for, you have to go out and look for it.
One Last Thing - Keep a Journal
Amber kept a daily journal during her trip. Here’s what she wrote on the last page - we think it perfectly sums up her trip and what we all can learn from her personal adventure.
“When you conquer something you’ve set out to achieve, when it’s better than you expected, when you can’t believe your eyes, when you’ve created it and all the happiness around you, completely on your own, that is truly incredible.”
Ready for the ultimate Hawaiian adventure? Salt Life has you covered with the gear you need to keep you cool and protected from the sun.