Paddling is a way to play on the water in Hawaii. This appears to be a family outing — mom on a stand-up paddle and dad in a kayak with the kids. I saw them from the sailboat as we toured Kaneohe Bay. We often see stand-up paddlers quite far out on the bay. The water is fairly calm most of the time inside the bay. Also, some head out to the sand bar — a spot in the bay where the sand is just below the surface of the water most of the time. People get out and walk around on it, playing football or throwing frisbees.

This outing caught my attention for several reasons. First, there are many more ways to enjoy the water than I would ever have imagined, not having lived near an ocean before. Second, the big ocean waves don’t hit directly on the shore in all places in Hawaii. Bays like this one are protected from the waves. In other areas, the water near the shore is still fairly calm – surfers go a ways out to meet the big waves. That allows even beginners to explore paddling or wind surfing or kite boarding in relatively safer waters. Third, there are lessons in every imaginable activity available on beaches popular with tourists, such as Waikiki and Kailua. You can rent all the equipment you’ll need to enjoy the water in a new way.

Finally, note that the kids are wearing life jackets, everyone is wearing rashies (tops with sleeves) and hats for sun protection, and they are watching out for one another. As accessible as the sea is, accidents can happen anywhere. Prudence is always in season.

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