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Frequently Asked Questions

What surfing level do I need to be at to participate in Darrick Doerner’s SEA Adventures?

The SEA Adventures program is for intermediate to advanced level surfers who already know how to surf and want to take it to the next level. The North Shore is known for its powerful waves, and most surf spots are not suitable for beginners. For recommendations on beginner surf schools on the North Shore, please see the Recommendations page.

How can I tell if I’m an intermediate surfer as opposed to a beginner surfer?

Being an intermediate-advanced surfer means:

  • You are experienced in waves that are 6 feet plus and you have the right boards for it.
  • You have a quiver of surfboards that enables you to ride everything from small to big waves.
  • You have a semi-gun or gun shaped for big wave conditions.

In other words, you’ve taken the steps necessary to get the right boards for various conditions. This is really important in order for you to take it to the next level. This is where Darrick can step in and teach you the little secrets that are going to help you in bigger and more powerful surf conditions. As your surf guide, being an intermediate-to-advanced surfer is where Darrick would like you to be.

Will I need to bring my own equipment?

YES – You will need to bring your own equipment as we DO NOT provide surfboards. Please be sure to bring surfboards, leashes, wax, rashguards, wetsuits, fins, sunscreen, towels, and anything else you would normally bring on a surf trip. If you break your board while you are here or the boards you bring don’t suit the conditions, then we will take you to one of several surf shops in Haleiwa that sell new and used boards, including HIC, Wave Riding Vehicles, Tropical Rush and Surf N Sea.

What kind of boards should I bring?

While board recommendations will vary based on your weight/height and experience level, below are some general guidelines and information:

The waves on the North Shore are a lot different from the waves on the mainland US or just about anywhere else in the world. Because there is no continental shelf to diffuse the power of the swells, the waves pack a lot more power and move faster than your average mainland wave. Therefore, you may find that while your regular shortboard works well in up to double overhead waves in California, the same board is barely enough to get you into double overhead waves on the North Shore. Strong offshore winds and deep water surf spots such as Sunset Beach are additional factors to consider when choosing boards to bring to the North Shore.

The average wave size varies throughout the North Shore surf season – Winter (November to February) tends to get a variety of wave sizes from medium to very big (head high to triple or quadruple overhead), so it’s very important to bring appropriate boards. Fall (late September to October) and spring (March to April) can also get huge swells but they’re not as frequent. In general the waves will be medium to big (head high to double overhead).

It’s recommended that you bring at least two surfboards because:

  • If one breaks you’ll have a backup.
  • The conditions can change drastically from one day to another and you don’t want to be stuck with the only board you have, which is wrong for the conditions. It is typical for a North Shore surfer to have at least 4 or 5 boards of different sizes in his or her quiver.

FALL is the first part of season and it is recommended that you bring a shortboard or longer shortboard with a backup gun.

WINTER is the next part of the season and the most intense part, so it’s recommended that you bring your biggest shortboard and a gun. In the SPRING a shortboard and longer shortboard is recommended. No matter which season you come, you should be prepared to buy a board in Hawaii in case your break one or more of the boards that you bring with you.

What is a regular shortboard? Typically up to 6’6″
What is a longer shortboard? Typically 6’6″ to 7’6″
What is a gun? Typically 7’6″ to 10′ plus

Even in the spring, it might not hurt to bring a gun if you have one available because anything can happen at this time of year. Being prepared for a good size swell is always good. There’s nothing worse than having a good swell and no board.


Longboards are more for smaller, fun waves rather than for extreme conditions. Of course there are professional longboarders like Bonga Perkins, Lance Ho’okano, and Rusty Keaulana, who rip and take longboarding to the next level. But for 75% of longboarders, it’s more about cruising small to medium waves.

Longboards have more surface area and it takes a really good surfer to make a longboard work in bigger waves. When you wipe out in a big wave, a longboard has the tendency to snap (break) more easily because it is big and wide (has more surface area). It’s not a good idea to take a longboard out into big wave conditions because you’re stepping into a league that’s way different from typical longboard conditions.

Do you have a daily rate?

Yes, we do. This is ideal for people who are on a family vacation and can’t spend an entire week surfing. Please contact us for the price.

How many surfers will be there be at a time?

The maximum will be 2 (including you) so that it feels like you’re surfing with a couple of friends rather than surfing in a group. The idea is to blend in with the locals, not stand out. If you are interested in a one-on-one with Darrick we can also arrange that.

What if I’m a longboarder?

Longboarders are more than welcome. However if you are coming to the North Shore in the wintertime, we recommend that you bring guns rather than longboards. Please see the “What kind of boards should I bring?”

Are there surf shops, grocery shops, pharmacies, etc. available?

Yes, there are plenty of stores in the town of Haleiwa, the main town on the North Shore.

What if I get injured?

There are several good hospitals on Oahu and we will make sure you receive good care. We highly recommend that you get travel insurance prior to your arrival, especially if your regular health insurance does not cover areas outside of where you live. Travel insurance doesn’t cost much but will give you peace of mind, knowing that you will be covered in the unlikely event that something should happen. There are many travel insurance companies listed online (try a search on Google or Yahoo) and signing up is easy.

Can I get my surf sessions photographed or videotaped?

We will be videotaping some of our sessions. Not only is it fun to watch the footage at the end of the day, but it is also a really good learning tool and will help you improve your technique. We can also arrange for a photographer to shoot our sessions. At the end of the day, you can check out the photos on their website and purchase the ones you like. There is no obligation to buy.

Will there be waves in the summertime?

Yes! Although the waves on the North Shore are smaller in the summertime, there is plenty of fun surf in other parts of Oahu. The East Side gets plenty of wind swell, and the South Shore and West Side pick up the south swells.

What if I’m a girl?

Girls are absolutely welcome! Lots of girls surf in Hawaii.

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