Images Copyright K&S Media and Steve Francois
“In my efforts to understand the depth of Maui, I decide to try something completely new to me but old and cherised to the islands – surfing. Known as he’enalu, surfing was a pastime
that involved ritual blessings and divisions among the ruling class. It confirms the prowess that Hawaiians had for navigating the high seas, and their connection to the ocean. I glance over at the beaches near the West Maui town of Lahaina with calm exuberance. There are dozens of people paddle boarding and swimming. The usual butterflies that I would have when tackling a new challenge are nowhere to be found. I’ve wanted to surf for longer than I can remember- long after Point Break was released but long before Hollywood made the athletic female surfer girl in Blue Crush de rigeur…
Tim Sherer, a transplant from Long Beach California, came to Maui to work in marketing but got sidetracked working for a surf school in Maui. Countless students would urge Sherer to open his own school after spending time with him on the ocean seeing him come alive. He was not receptive. “I did that for a few years but wasn’t happy. I was like ‘what do I do?’” Sherer says, as an emphatic smile creeps over his face. He jumps up with intensity. “I remember it so clearly. I was standing right there [he points to a spot in front of his now surf shop] and it hit me, if I just do what I love then I won’t ever have to find a job.”…
I’ve internalized his lesson but everything around me has blurred out. It’s just me, the wave and my board. I slowly sit on my knees, pivot my feet toward my ‘truth serum’, gain my balance and let go. It’s probably thirty seconds in real time but it feels more like minutes, skimming the water, cruising on its surface. I’m elated and all I can think is ‘did I just do that? Really?’ I can hear some of the instructors (including Sherer) in the background yelling “yeah” and clapping. I barely have time to accept my own excitement, when Sherer paddles up to me with an enormous smile. “Thanks for listening that was amazing. Seriously,” he ushers my hand for an underwater high five. “Honestly, you know how incredible you just were. I’m so proud of you. Do you see there are no other surfers out here? On a level of difficulty, today is a ten. If you’re this good now, in a year you’re going to be amazing.” My adrenaline is so intense that Sherer’s comments just set me over the edge. His encouraging words are not a calculated ego boost that Sherer doles out to his students. He has a palpable passion for what he does and an unselfishly need to make others around him better. There has not been a minute during our lesson that he hasn’t been smiling from ear to ear. “The experiences afforded by interacting with the ocean go deeper than we might first realize,” he says as we paddle back to shore. “I fondly and humbly refer to my surf school as a school of transformation, due to the consistent evolutionary results that transpire in our two hour surfing lessons. Students play and connect with the waves and transform themselves,” he tells me. Sherer calls this ‘rubbing off”. Well, if so, then he has certainly left an indelible mark.”
Goofy Foot Surf School
505 Front Street, Suite 123, Lāhiana; (808) 244-9283;
Read more in the Summer 2010 issue of City Style and Living Magazine. Read More Here.