Hi, I'm heading to Maui this september and was wondering if I'll look like a dork if I buy a pair of surf boots. I surf both coasts on the mainland and have very little experience with coral reefs and the one time i surfed Kona, i have to admit the sharp reef at my toes did freak me out.
yup you answered your own question... in my experience, while you might not get wounded feet you'll....
1. loose respect in the eyes of locals (people will look at you differently... they just will)
2. It'll make you self conscious cuz no one else will be wearing them
3. With topical wax they're too sticky like once your feet are set it feels difficult to shuffle
and besides your complexion nothing identifies a non loc quicker than reef booties
Last edited by Stranded in Smithfield; Aug 5, 2012 at 09:34 PM.
I was just in Kauai a couple months ago, you don't need them. Just be careful getting in and out of the water and watch where you are stepping. I did get a minor cut on the side of my foot getting out of the water one day but overall surfing over the reef was an awesome experience.
They may look kooky but I wish I had them on in el Salvador when I kicked the rocks after a minor fall. This was over 3 months ago and not even over a coral reef. The scar and marks are still there and it actually still hurts if you touch it. I hit the rocks with my thigh also and I have scars and some minor pain still. There is some nasty crap in that tropical water. Not sure if that warrants wearing them but if I did I wouldn't still be hurting, at least on my feet.
Who cares what people think. You don't star in a tv show where your livelihood relies upon your fashion / functionality. Cool? Who cares. Wear what the conditions warrant.
Reminds me of the saying, what is it, people don't die of cancer they die of embarrassment.
Something like that.
Been to Central America many times. Many of the best surfers there wear baseball caps or surf hats. I can take a hint. I always wear a surf hat in Nica & CR. With tons of applied zinc. My friends here, when they see the pics, say what's with the goofy hat? I want to come back as pale as I arrived there.
I always answer, to people who mock my stylin ugly arses surf hat, lol, have ya seen people with melanoma? Do ya understand how they treat it? Only one way: they start cutting afflicted pieces off of you, plain & simple. I know a guy who the surgeons cut his ears to pieces, one small chunk off at a time. friggin nasty, open wounds, raw meat; for years, my boy didn't believe in sunblock for his ear lobes & he thought the hat was 'uncool.'
Few years ago, surfed south shore of Oahu one day. By the time I came back, it was low tide. Had to flip my board over, fin up, & try to maneuver in over 200 yds of razor sharp coral. Didn't work out so well. Board got scraped up. Had to walk the last 50 yds over coral that tore my feet to shiiiite. Took forever to over that reef. My buddy who lives in Diamond Head says to me, you gotta toughen them feet up brah. To which I say, toughen mah feet up, brah, wtf, I'm back in the office on the east coast in 5 days, are you outta your mind?
My 2 cents based on my own bonehead experiences....Just do what works for you in terms of staying healthy.
When I lived on Oahu, there was one semi-secret spot on the west side where we would wear them. You had to walk over sharp lava rock to get in and out of the water, which did make it somewhat painful on the feet - which was one reason it was a "semi-secret" spot, never crowded and lots of sessions we'd be the only guys there. And yep, we looked like kooks wearing the booties. (I would wear my wetsuit booties that I brought with me when I moved to Hawaii from Norcal, so I looked even kookier.) But sometimes we would see other surfers or bodyboarders wearing them. After surfing there for a few years, I lost the booties. The last few years I surfed there I just sucked it up and didn't wear them.
I guess I'm sharing this because there are some places in Hawaii where it makes sense to wear booties.
I've surfed Honolua and Maalaea Harbor on Maui and you don't need no stinkin' boots for those places though.
the barnacle covered rocks at punta roca take a little time getting over/ around cut my knee instead getting out of the water no booties. Going on a 2 week trip surfing just coral reefs and just ordered a pair not sure I will use them but it would suck not to have them if I did. So I guess Im only a partial kook until I wear them.
I was in your shoes (no pun intended) back in February when I surfed my first reef break in Puerto Rico. I wish I had them. First day out, had an awesome session, I came in about 20 feet away from the normal entrance area (it was getting dark so I couldn't tell exactly where I should have been) and I stepped on some sharp coral. Wish I had the booties. Next time I surf a reef break I will definitely have them.
really depends on where you plan to surf while your in Maui. I surfed there for a solid week and didn't get a scratch, I did however tweak my ankle...it got caught in the breaking section of the wave as i was punching through and that hurt. My buddy cut his foot the one day we went to Lahiana. We surfed waves on all sides of the island, well except for the south, there wasn't anything happening down there. And i will tell you, there are a couple outstanding beachbreaks in Maui. Take a drive and discover gold. If your careful, and conscious of not smacking the bottom, i would roll without 'em and save the money for $10 a gallon milk..i love Maui
I bought a pair of reef booties years back. I bring them with me when I travel, they are light and don't take much room at all. Sometimes I don't use them - But on the last few trips I have used them. tore my feet up in El Salvador- having the booties made it MUCH easier to surf. Broke a toe in Nica, taping it up and using a bootie allowed me to surf the rest of the week.
As far as being self conscious - I never even thought about it. Never had an issue with grip on wax either. I found them to be worth the investment.