Review – Aloha Clinic – Shawna Cropas & Matt Pritchard
Location – Maui, Hawaii
Wow, Wow and Wow again. I’ve only just got back into windsurfing after quite a few years bumbling along and have just had a fantastic time in Maui with the Aloha Clinic team of Shawna Cropas and Matt Pritchard. If I hadn’t made myself clear, the weeklong clinic was absolutely fabulous.
The weather gods had decided to bless us with light winds and low swells. It was light wind time but that’s not to say there wasn’t any fun to be had.
I had a blast. It was high time I had a decent amount of tuition and being kicked into shape. I had been wanting to seriously embark on my windsurfing apprenticeship and here in Maui I gave that journey a hefty reboot, thanks to Shawna and Matt.
I arrived in Maui, grabbed my rental car and windsurfing rigs for my weeks stay at a north shore beach front rental. I turned up, at what would be home for the week. Great sand, spitting distance from the beach and hot sunshine. Matt and Shawna gave a warm welcome; so did the rest of the gang who had assembled for the week. Our first day, everybody just wanted to get onto the water a.s.a.p. The first thing that struck me was how relaxed Matt and Shawna were to prodding us all in the right direction.
Over the next seven days, I found my sailing standards and maneuvers improve in leaps and bounds. The combination of being motivated by the Aloha Clinic team and my peers was incredibly inspirational. The opportunity to learn from everyone else making their breakthrough successes and also mistakes; makes for a powerful learning tool. Both Matt and Shawna have quite different but complimentary teaching styles. And there is time to find your own style amongst the wisdom being offered. Remember it’s a holiday/vacation, so if you do not want to sail and do your own thing, there is no pressure for you to be on the water if you do not want to. It never felt like boot camp, but I think everyone at the clinic wanted to improve and get better. So the commitment and spirit of the group was incredibly high despite some lighter winds at times. In fact the weather gave plenty of opportunity to improve our stance, our tacks, gybes, core technique and some freestyle. With photo and video analysis almost every day, there was a chance to get better at almost every aspect of sailing. The critique offered by Shawna and Matt was excellent, not too harsh and not too soft either. A good prod in the right direction, with a hefty dollop of technical coaching when it was required. All interspersed with encouraging motivated comments.
The Aloha Clinic team was always on hand throughout the day so that regardless of the conditions, everybody felt safe and under control. Both Matt and Shawna were constantly taking turns to be out on the water or taking photos. I was pretty stoked all week that both of them put all their energy into guiding us like apprentice wizards to become masters of our sails.
I had never been to Maui before and found the island amazing. Words and pictures barely do it justice; it is a captivating place on land and sea. For a vacation, not much beats it. Swimming amongst pristine coral reefs with some of the planets most beautiful sea life and also some great new friends. A chance to SUP on some great shoreline, snorkel and swim in warm seas. All topped off with very very happy memories recounted in the good bars and restaurants of nearby Paia.
When can I come back???? A massive thanks to both Shawna and Matt. Truly inspirational athletes who are genuinely infectious in their enthusiasm for the oceans and windsurfing.
B767 First Officer