Reef boots=kooky?

Discussion in 'Hawaiian Islands' started by JohnnyUtah, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. JohnnyUtah

    JohnnyUtah Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    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.
  2. Stranded in Smithfield

    Stranded in Smithfield Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    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: Aug 5, 2012

  3. RobG

    RobG Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    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.
  4. Zippy

    Zippy Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    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.
  5. yankee

    yankee Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Do what makes sense. Do what keeps you healthy.

    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.
  6. funkyspec

    funkyspec Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2012
    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.
  7. mudpuppet

    mudpuppet Member

    Dec 16, 2010
    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.
  8. NJAZguy

    NJAZguy Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    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.
  9. Koki Barrels

    Koki Barrels Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    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 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
  10. JTS

    JTS Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    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.
  11. ND081

    ND081 Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2010
    as far as the whole kook thing goes, if i saw someone wearing booties (or anything out of the norm for that matter) in the lineup i honestly wouldn't care a bit. probably be happy to see someone who wasn't so damn self conscious when surfing all the time. the amount of thought people put into their "image" these days is ridiculous. locals however, might think differently. i've never been to maui so i have no idea what it's like there, but in puerto rico i have seen locals wear reef boots, not very often though. people there won't give a **** what you wear as long as you don't drop in on them, the people are just way too colorful to pay attention to every little detail of someone's getup. the reefs there are probably just as sharp, maybe sharper (not to mention the unfortunate abundance of sea urchins). i've been cut a few times, but i could have avoided most of them by not letting my feet down after bailing. the biggest problem there is usually paddling over coral because unless you're in the right keyhole, you can find yourself stuck in extremely shallow water. that's one of the reasons there are so many body boarders, they can just zip right out by kicking with their fins.

    i guess if you have to literally walk on top of the coral to get out to the lineup, then having boots would make sense, but other than that you should be okay. get them just in case and see if you like them, if not at least you have them if you do end up cutting your foot on the reef.
  12. superbust

    superbust Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2008
    buy them, bring them, use them when necessary
  13. ND081

    ND081 Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2010
    we have a winner
  14. JohnnyUtah

    JohnnyUtah Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I got it! FLESH COLORED BOOTIES! Thanks for the feedback gents.
  15. Masterjasson

    Masterjasson Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    I hear that, I pulled some dumb ass shiznet in PR last winter, ended up filleting a section of my heal off with my bud's razor sharp carbon slater fin set. Ended up traipsing around downtown afterwards with flip-flops. By the last day my vein was running, and I could no longer bear weight on my right leg.

    I needed a set of reef boots, and a football helmet.
  16. purpleheadedyogurtslinger

    purpleheadedyogurtslinger Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    +1 booties when necessary. F*ck urchins
  17. Erock

    Erock Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    Here's what you do:
    Walk and then paddle out into the lineup with your reef booties, bring an inflatable float, some rope and a heavy rock. Take off reef booties and attach to rope along with the float at one end and the rock at the other. Drop the rock--it will act as an anchor and the float will let you know where it is. Surf all day and retrieve your stuff when you are ready to go in.
    This could also work in higher crime areas if you have a dry bag to keep valuables in.

    We use this system when bottom fishing offshore to mark a reef, wreck or to leave the anchor in one spot if we want to troll around but still not lose our position when returning to bottom fishing.
  18. SJerzSrfr

    SJerzSrfr Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    cant hurt to have a pair. they are pretty cheap. i bought a pair like 10 years ago and brought them on every trip i went that had some kind of reef break. never wore them once until i went to the mentawais last year. started the trip wearing them on and off depending on the shallowness of the reef. got confident and took them off for a couple of days and almost ended my trip on day 4 with a laceration that went along the entire length of my foot. for the rest of the trip i wore them as did the rest of the guys on the boat.
  19. oipaul

    oipaul Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2006
    You probably won't "need" them but might be nice to have a pair along just in case. I live in Kona and always have a half-healed cut on my feet somewhere. Most of the cuts happen on the entry and exit as there's not a whole lot of sand here just coral and lava rock. I wear reef shoes at only one spot as it requires a 20ft wade out over rock/coral. Maui (west maui/lahaina) seemed to have a lot more sand so easier in/out. Just remember to fall flat and make every effort to not contact the bottom with any part of your body once you leave the sand.
  20. leetymike808

    leetymike808 Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    what he said^ fall flat. I live in maui. No the locals dont wear them unless your fishing. It is a sure fire way to be spotted as a visitor, but then again the lack of tan gives that away as well so thats no big deal.

    In reality you shouldnt walk on the reefs any ways cause its bad for them, generally on reef breaks theres a channel you should be able to paddle through.