Plus, the most frightening experience the big-wave surfer has ever had in the water.

By Adeline Duff
May 25, 2016
Laird Hamilton & Gabrielle Reece
Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Cawley

Have you ever dreamed of getting a paddleboard lesson from big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, or training alongside Olympic beach volleyball champion Gabriella Reece? Now, thanks to the luxury resort One&Only Pamilla in Los Cabos, Mexico—one of last year's World's Best hotels, as voted by our readers—you can.

On June 10, the hotel is offering a one-of-a-kind health, wellness, and adventure experience hosted by the husband-and-wife team. Highlights include a three-night stay in an oceanfront room, a welcome dinner with Hamilton, circuit training with Reece, a daily custom-designed nutrition program, and more. The surfer has partnered with the resort in a few other ways—One&Only is the exclusive carrier of his clothing line, Laird Apparel, and his surfboards will be showcased during the weekend as well.

In advance of this major weekend, we caught up with Hamilton himself to get a few surf tips and find out how he varies his exercise routine.

Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Cawley

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming (or beginner) surfers?

“I think the number one thing is to make sure you’re having fun. Get good advice, get the right equipment, go to the right places—and don’t be in a hurry. You’ve got to take time and learn the basics. The basis for ocean activities is enjoyment, so if it's not fun, you’re missing the whole purpose of doing it. Surfing is a sport of passion.”

One&Only Palmilla Laird Hamilton
Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Cawley

You’re in great shape, and fitness is a passion of yours—what are your best tips?

“Diversity is incredible. I’ll do different types of yoga, different types of asymmetric training, I’ll do weight lifting, and work on balance techniques. We have some incredible pool training exercises that we do—a lot of thermal regulating with heat and ice. I like to use seasonality as inspiration for my exercise routines—in the winter, I’m in Hawaii and the surf is big and I’m focused on the ocean, so I don’t need heavy, extensive workouts, because it’s just not productive. When summertime comes, I’m a lot more regimented in my gym training. The more you can keep the body guessing and have it adapt to different things, the more efficient it is.”

One&Only Palmilla Laird Yoga
Credit: Jennifer Cawley

Where are the best locations for big-wave surfing?

“Hawaii is the mecca. But there’s giant surf in South Africa, Portugal, Spain, and in the South of France. Also, Northern California and some other locations along the West Coast as well, like Todos Santos, Cortes Bank, and Mavericks. Ireland has some monsters too—there’s a great place called Aileens on the West Coast.”

What’s the most frightening experience you’ve ever had in the water?

“I’ve had a lot—more than I can count. I was lost at sea once for a day. I’ve had scary moments when I’ve been held down at the bottom of the ocean and didn’t know if I was going to come up. I had a friend that almost died, and I had to tourniquet his leg. Shark encounters are pretty brief. They don’t really want to have anything to do with us—most serious shark encounters have to do with things around fishing and bloody fish, because you’re taking their food. But when we’re surfing we don’t incentivize the sharks, and they don’t like to be in the big, breaking waves that much. But I’ve had a big hammerhead come up to me, I’ve had a 20-foot tigershark come by me while paddling—I’ve seen a lot of large creatures. But for the amount of times I’ve been in the water, I can count the times I’ve seen sharks on one hand.”

The “Live Life Alive” experience is offered from June 10 to 13, 2016, starting at $2,747 for one person or $3,900 for two people. To book, please contact resort reservations at 888-691-8081 or via email at