Trying not to puke while stand up paddle boarding Oahu North Shore

My stomach began to churn. It did a little flip before breaking out into a not-so-happy dance. What was happening? I’d tried to stand up paddle boarding (SUPing) before. Why did I feel like I wanted to toss my cookies?

Oh, because there were waves there. I’d SUP’d in a bay and on a lake before, but never in the open ocean. Who knew there could be such a drastic difference between bodies of water?


While reviewing the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu I had the chance to do a little SUPing in the same little inlet that Katniss and Peeta hid in during the Catching Fire movie (book 2 of the Hunger Games). The waves were good enough that some other writers were taking their first surf lesson. I stayed towards the left where the water was a bit calmer. It was so quiet and peaceful out in the sun on the water. I didn’t realize until I started to take pictures just how much my board was going up and down. I immediately felt the first flip-flop in my stomach.

Was I really supposed to take Dramamine when I went SUPing? That not only seemed dangerous but like a real buzz kill. As I sat down on my board trying to calm my stomach so I could paddle back to shore, I was beginning to think maybe taking a few seasick pills wasn’t such a bad idea.


I lay down on my board stomach down. I rode a few small waves closer to shore, but eventually, I had to get back up and navigate myself to the landing sight or I was going to end up in a bunch of trees. Finally, I just had to suck it up, stick my eye on the shoreline of trees and start moving. Finally, after many strokes, because I seemed to have gotten myself out farther than I thought, I was back on dry land. I tipped off of my board, hauled the board up the beach and collapsed.

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Shaking my head in disbelief I related my tale to a few writer friends who had also gone back to shore. This hadn’t been my first time SUPing. What was I doing wrong? Well, a bay is pretty calm, even downright boring when it comes to SUPing and a lake is no different. You paddle yourself around with little to no waves unless the wind is kicking up. In the open ocean the tide is king, and on Hawaii’s North Shore, you better believe there are going to be a few rolls no matter how calm the water seems from shore.

Lesson learned I settled my stomach with some water and crackers, ran back to my hotel room to change and prepared to go on a helicopter tour of the North Shore. I would not be caught unawares this time. I popped a seasick pill, scarfed down my lunch and headed out. Helicopters and boats I knew bugged me. I guess I can add open-water SUPing to the list of activities that make me want to toss my cookies now.

Want a taste of stand up paddle boarding Oahu’s North Shore? Check out this little video I made with a Kodak PixPro 360.


Stand Up Paddle Boarding Oahu

Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach) on the North Shore via

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1 thought on “Trying not to puke while stand up paddle boarding Oahu North Shore”

  1. Oh wow! I’ve been in a bay where it was a beast to paddle against the current, but not in the ocean! I’m sure it’s a much rockier experience!

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