From Ecuador to Hawaii...
As a pre Christmas Gift, I spent some days on the North Shore of Oahu. The North Shore is a place where you can still feel the real spirit of Hawaii. You can see the beauty of the Island, unlike the South which is littered with skyscrapers and busy highways. During my stay, I met three incredible people. Raul, Daniel, and Nina. Daniel and Raul were born in Ecuador, and they were long time friends. Nina hails all the way from in Switzerland. Together they created Pata Sudaka. Pata Sudaka is a Surf Camp in Haleiwa Hawaii. Pata Sudaka is not just a Surf Camp, though. Most of the Camps that I have been to were highly organized, and there was a manager sitting in an office making appointments. There were also rigid rules. If you weren’t there at 6 am to go surfing, you missed that class. Not so at Pata Sudaka. At that Surf Camp you can see Nina having fun in the white water with some new surfers, you can see Daniel preparing dinner, or you can see Raul going for a hike with the whole group. Although they are not originally from Hawaii, you can definitely see that they are pretty acclimated with the Aloha spirit of Hawaii. Nina told me that Oahu is perfect for surfing, but that not seeing the beauty of the island while going on adventures would be such a waste. They decided not to be a normal Surf Camp where they only go surfing. They go for hikes, snorkeling tours with turtles, SUP adventures, or they soak up the sunset at one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu after a long day. Staying at Pata Sudaka feels more like staying with friends, and its about spending the day with them in paradise.
Let’s see what they have to say about living the dream in Hawaii!
You were born and raised in Ecuador right?
"Yes Dani, I grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador just a couple of hours to the beach. My friends and I went surfing every weekend. We also had lots of adventures together, but that was not enough for me. I was looking for more time at the beach and more waves. I still have to say Ecuador is the best place in the world. They have great food, the people are very warm, the waves are super long and fun, the water is never cold, and they have a simple way of life feeling you can’t find in Hawaii. Someday I’ll come back."
How did you wind up living beachfront in the surfing capitol of the world?
"I always knew HI was the perfect balance between nature and economy. Its a place after long work hours you could just grab your surfboard and catch some waves before the end of the day. I was also looking for crystal clear water like Hawaii offers."
Has the feeling of living in paradise worn off a little, or is it still as magical as when you first came to Oahu?
"Actually that’s one of my favorite saying. I been living here for a little over 10 years, and, till this day, I stare on the stunning mountains or get totally lost in a rainbow. It’s impossible not to be grateful when you are surfing an amazing wave and then a turtle comes next to you. The water is so clear you can see the fish playing. Also, the sunsets are spectacular, and they surround the Aloha Spirit of all the people."
How does it feel to share that magic with people?
"It’s more than great. It’s so fulfilling to see people have epic moments. That’s why we are dedicated to make our visitors have the best experience here in the islands. We think if you are coming from so far away, then you should be sure you are going to enjoy 100% of all that O’ahu has to offer. That includes, surfing the right waves, hiking the best mountains, snorkeling at the special spots, and just seeing all these magical places only the locals know about it."
Most people think that Hawaii, and especially the North Shore, is only for advanced surfers. How do you feel about that?
"Yes, I have heard that a lot, but it is not true at all. Hawaii is considered one of the best places to learn to surf, because we have so many surf spots all around the island. It is really easy to find a nice spot depending on your level. We have taught so many people of all different levels, and we have never a problem where the surf is too big and we can not surf. If you are surfing for the first time, or maybe you already catch waves but you want to improve your surfing skills like if you want to learn how to ride the barrel or do a difficult maneuver, we got you."
How did you come up with the idea for a Surf Camp on Oahu? I did a lot of research, and I was amazed there weren’t any other surf camps. Why is that?
"Well, I know for a fact we are the only SURF CAMP ADVENTURE in O’ahu. It might be because it is very expensive and nobody wants to risk too much. Everything start because we had been giving surf lessons for a while, and we were also renting apartments. Our profession is also as a tour guide, and, more than anything, we love to host people all around the world and make them feel the aloha spirit. We do understand some of you have very hard jobs and very complicated lives, so we want to disconnect you from your routine. So what we did was to combine all of this and create a great Hawaiian adventure."
What makes the Pata Sudaka surf camp so special for you?
"I think it is special for many things, starting with, as you mention before, the fact it doesn’t feel like a surf camp. It’s more like hanging out with friends doing super cool adventures in Hawaii, which is the whole concept of the name “Pata Sudaka”. Second, I’ll say is the surf training. We film you in every surf session, and then we analyze your mistakes. Also, we cheers your achievements no matter which level are you. Besides that, we do many surf training exercises out of the water. Third, the combination of activities we offer is really important to me. If you are here already here, you might as well go snorkeling in crystal clear water with turtles or hike a beautiful Hawaiian mountain. I can guarantee these are going to be the most exited 10 days of your life. Hawaii is so beautiful you have to see it from all the angles, not just surfing."
Oh and what does the name Pata Sudaka mean?
"Pata Sudaka is like your sud-american friend/homie/bro. PATA is just someone you need when you want to do something and not want to do it by yourself. Example, You call me: Hey Daniel please be my “Pata” to go to watch this movie nobody likes, or travel somewhere or go to a special event or adventure. And SUDAKA means Sud-american but shorter and cooler. I think as Latin hosts, we are very warm and like to take care a lot of our guest. We like to make them feel welcome here, and so we are your PATA SUDAKA to adventure with in Hawaii. This is important because 90% of our travelers are lone-travelers. So you just need to come, and we will take care of you."
What does the future hold for Pata Sudaka?
"We have our new surf camps dates for 2018, and already a lot of bookings are happening. We just want to continue giving the best experience to our guests in Hawaii, and next year we start with our camps in Ecuador.
We just want to invite everybody who is looking for an adventure and wants to surf in the place where this beautiful sport was born. Come to hang out with us here in Hawaii. Let us take care of you and your friends, and you’ll have the best time of your life guaranteed. Aloha and Mahalo Nui Loa. "
Thanks for a great interview! I hope i am able to come back one day.