"To see them learn and grow and respect the nature and beauty around us and to explore with them and surf with them has been the biggest joy for me in life."
Meet Sergio, Carly, Hadassah and Tekoa, the family behind Island Style Surf School. While Sergio helps locals and travellers experience the joy of surfing (often bringing along Hadassah and Tekoa to take on the waves with him), his wife Carly documents the family's most memorable moments spent together in Hawaii. We got the chance to get a glimpse into the Lima family's sun-soaked lifestyle and learn all about surfing and exploring with little ones.
Hi Sergio, thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us! We instantly fell in love with your family and were so excited to learn more about your surf school and everyday life in Hawaii. Can you tell us a bit more about Island Style Surf School and how it all started?
I’m from an island off the coast of Northeast Brazil called Fernando de Noronha, and I have taught surf lessons since I was 14 years old. When we moved to Hawaii in 2011 I started teaching lessons for another local company, but I knew I one day wanted to open my own surf school. A year later a friend helped me to start up my company and put my dreams into real life. Now I am able to share the island lifestyle through not just surfing, but also making personal connections with my students and many have become life time friends.
You have a gorgeous family! Can you tell us a bit more about your girl, Hadassah, and your boy, Tekoa and about what it’s like raising children by the beach? What part do they enjoy the most about living in Hawaii?
For me, to have a family is an amazing blessing. I come from a family that had no father figure ever involved and my mother was an alcoholic. I basically had to fend for myself growing up. So to now have the opportunity to be a father and teach my kids about the ocean and see them delighting in learning about surfing and the island life is beautiful. To see them learn and grow and respect the nature and beauty around us and to explore with them and surf with them has been the biggest joy for me in life.
Based on your photos, they seem to share your love for surfing as well! When did they first start surfing and are they regular visitors of your surf school? :)
Both kiddos started surfing at four and a half months old and have basically grown up being a part of the surf school. I would start them off sitting between my legs on a big stand up paddle board and I’d paddle them into the waves using a Hawaiian canoe paddle. They’ve always loved surfing and being involved in the surf world. They love being there for the lessons and interacting with people from all over the world. They’re always trying to jump on the board with me to show the people how to properly stand up :)
It must be so much fun teaching them something you’re passionate about. What has been your most memorable/proudest moment while teaching them to surf?
For me, seeing the smiles on their faces when they start riding a wave. When they were babies, I would balance them on the palm of my hand and catch a wave and they would stand there clapping and squealing and giggling and there is no better feeling. Everyone in the water would be screaming and cheering them on as well and it just brought so much joy to everyone around us! Our photos together doing that even made the news!
We find that there is also a lot to learn from little ones! What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from Hadassah and Tekoa?
I think for me, they show me so much about life in the way they are always excited and find joy in the smallest things and details. In anything and everything they are always finding excitement and joy- even the tiniest little shell is amazing for them as well as the big wave we catch. Doing life with them makes me stop and enjoy the little things.
We noticed that you offer family surf lessons (sign us up please!). Did you find that surfing, and spending time outdoors can connect families?
Yes 100%!!! When families do something together, especially surfing, it’s wonderful. To see a mom or dad catching a wave and their kids being proud of them and smiling and stoked for their parents and just letting loose and having fun together and learning together is really amazing. To see a kid who was so nervous overcome his fear and get on a wave and the whole family cheering for them and encouraging them is why I love doing what I do!
What do you enjoy the most about surfing with your family?
We do so many tasks together as a family- we work together, do the meals together, clean the house, do school and homework etc so to just be able to go surf and let loose together, it’s so important. We feel happy and connected and get to laugh together and catch “party waves” together because my wife will be on her own board and the two kiddos pile onto mine together! It’s pretty rad.
We’ve had the chance to learn a bit more about Hadassah through our collaboration, and see her take on the waves in our suits. What does Hadassah love the most when it comes to swimwear?
She loves suits that are soft and nice feeling on her sensitive skin. I personally love that they are recycled materials because we are trying to teach our kids to preserve and protect our oceans and that is a huge part of it! Making educated choices in swimwear is just as important for me. She loves to have long sleeves and keep out of the sun :)
When you’re choosing suits for surfing, what are the most important aspects you look for?
I like the long sleeves because it protects her from the sun and the rash from the surf board. I always provide rash guards for my surf clients, and the ones who choose not to wear them always regret it haha!
Besides the suits, what are the other beach favorites she wouldn’t leave home without?
She loves to dive and look for shells, so she always brings her snorkel mask and fins so she can swim like a mermaid! She also brings a mini foam surf board so she and Tekoa can catch baby waves by themselves in the shore break.
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