Sandy Beach, Oahu: Bodysurf Like a President
The beauty of bodysurfing lies in its simplicity — no gear necessary, anybody can do it, and who doesn't smile after getting tossed around in the froth? As for good bodysurfing breaks, they don't get more classic than Hawaii's Sandy Beach Park. Just east of Waikiki on Oahu's southeast shore, Sandy Beach is a big crescent of white tropical sand best known as the favorite spot of President Obama, who bodysurfs there (with perfect technique) when he vacations in his boyhood home. Sandy Beach can get crowded, but bodysurfing is not a "get off my wave" kind of sport. The vibe is friendly and everybody rides together. But novices should note that the wave's lip tends to lurch over hard and fast. "Many flippers, masks, and swimsuits have been swallowed in this beautiful yet unforgiving lineup," says renowned bodysurfer Keith Malloy. So remember bodysurfing's single most important safety rule: Take off at an angle — never straight down the wave face, which could lead to a painful (or worse) face-plant in the sand. The best way to visit Oahu is to relive the days when it was the very definition of a Pacific paradise. That can easily be done at the retro-classic Moana Surfrider (from $300 a night), which opened on Waikiki Beach in 1901 and is still the finest way to channel the island's evocative past.