Photo by Ryan Brower
No surf in Oahu.

By Ryan Brower

As I walked off the plane into the Miami Airport I turned my cell phone on for the first time in a week. Seven voicemails, not really surprised. The first one is from mom, wishing us (for the billionth time) a good trip. As I begin to delete it I am overcome with a strong desire to travel right back to Panama and never return.

The second message is a little more intriguing than the first: a woman from Monster Energy drinks telling me that I have won a trip to Hawaii? I assume it is a total gag, something that has to be a scam, so I delete it and chuckle under my breath.

The third message though is again from this same woman saying that she has been trying to get ahold of me. This sparks my attention. She says that I have been chosen as one of the sweepstakes winners for an all inclusive trip to Oahu for two to see the Pipeline Pro Event. No way!?

The fourth message is the same thing.

OK, so I begin to think that it might actually be legitimate, there’s no way a scam would call three times. Then it hits me, I’m getting to go to Oahu, for free! After the initial shock set in and the days that followed with excitedly disclosing to everyone I know the details of my luck, it was back to school and just waiting for the date to arrive.

The North Shore in the middle of the winter — I thought there was no way I wasn’t getting in the water because of a lack of surf. In fact, I actually feared the opposite; that it would be too enormous for me to surf. But the thing I thought about the least, but feared the worst in the back of my mind, came true; having no rideable surf.

By the time my dad and I got over to the North Shore on the first day the wind had already switched to onshore, and killed the fading swell. The next two days were flat and we spent them driving around the entire island searching for a surfable bump. The following two days brought gusting every which way winds and 30ft+ Pipe with the most ridiculous victory at sea conditions I have ever seen.

Needless to say, we didn’t get to paddle out once. I was distraught for most of the trip and didn’t feel like I should’ve for being in Hawaii. So I came home feeling unfulfilled, having been to the world’s surfing Mecca, and not even getting to surf a single wave.

Looking back, though, I realize that lots of trips don’t get as you plan them, just like most of life. A free trip to Hawaii was a great thing, and waves would’ve just been icing on the cake. And even though I was especially ticked off during the trip because of this, I got to see a lot of amazing places, for free, as well as spend some more quality time with my dad, which is hard to come by in our hectic lives.

So even though I’m mad I’m not going to dwell on it and all I can do is look forward to the next waves we get and the next trip I take.

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