The average windsurfer has most likely heard about if not experienced the awesome windsurfing conditions of Maui. There’s been endless footage and a gazillion magazine articles depicting Maui going off with insane monster waves and full throttle action images.
Yet there is another side to Maui’s daredevil ways…
Light morning breezes provide the perfect learning grounds necessary for total beginners. The wind strength peaks around one in the afternoon giving improvers time to get warmed up in lighter winds. While from the afternoon to sunset the winds blow steady giving expert to advanced sailor the ultimate experience.
Though Maui is more then just a platter of windsurfing possibilities as plenty of people come to visit Hawaii just to see the lush jungles, white sand beaches, hula dancers at Luau’s and all the other adventures Maui has to offer. Straight up, Maui is a gorgeous tropical island full of history, culture and natural wonder with every water sport imaginable available at your fingertips.
Maui invites you to visit and see for yourself why it’s the perfect holiday!
THE ISLAND BEHIND THE WINDSURFING
What’s behind the tourist one stop shops and get away retreats?
Is Maui really that postcard perfect?
Those of us who call Hawaii home live thousands of miles away from any other land mass and are, “the most isolated population center on the face of the earth” while “the Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the biggest mountain range in the world,” we live at the base of Mount Haleakala, the planets largest dormant volcano rising above 10,023 feet! Surrounding us is endless miles of open ocean. That in itself is the beginning of living on the edge without even mentioning dropping in on Jaws at 50 feet and riding waves at Hookipa with double over head close outs.
What makes this island so special?
The smiles on happy peoples faces works for me.
Temperatures that range around the mid 20 C’s year round. Not having to heat or air-condition our homes in Haiku as the trade winds keep the humidity down and we can grow fruit and veggies 365 days a year while approximately 300 of those days are windsurfable winds.
The MACC and the Hui No’eau bring us fine arts, foreign films, music and drama to keep us cultured and entertained. The surf never stops, just as the north shore shuts down the south swells come to knock. Healthy lifestyle alternatives and yoga studios litter the island. All this is surrounded by Hawaiian culture, song and story. There’s always the fun of picking bananas, oranges and coconuts off the trees to feed your kids and watching the evening news with it’s daily surf reports. I’ve forgotten what socks are and rarely put on a pair of shoes.
The island is crisscrossed form head to toe with pockets of different precipitations patterns, making for a sexy microclimatic outfit. There’s always something new to discover, from secret waterfalls, lush rain forests and brittle desert like conditions around Maui’s back. Up Poli Poli you can walk amongst the redwoods and pines in a much cooler north american like landscape, while the West Maui’s drop off from hundred foot cliffs into the sea reminiscent of Ireland.
Hana is our own version of the Amazon and the Haleakala crater looks like the moon. It’s a mystery how this all fits on approximately twenty-six by forty-six miles of lava rock! There’s so much to do on Maui, from zip lInes, deep sea fishing , exploring caves and lava tubes, swimming with dolphins, hula, horseback riding, polo matches, farmers markets, canoe races, whale watching, sunset strolls, golf and of course some of the best windsurfing there is to be had on earth!
There’s a reason Maui is called the Mecca of windsurfing. People pilgrimage here daily from around the world to pay homage to the winds and seas of Hawaii. A place for beginners, intermediates and professionals windsurfers to train or hone their skills in a warm climate all year round. Maui’s lifestyle is even more perfect for the well rounded water sports enthusiast from kitesurfing to windsurfing and SUP down winders as the wind blows most days and when it doesn’t there’s always surfing, snorkeling and hikes to do . It would be very hard to find a dull day on this stunning pacific island.
THE WORLD OF WATER SPORTS AND WINDSURFING
Just the other day as I walked out of the water, a local said something to me in Hawaiian that I didn’t understand so he said it meant… “Waves are Natures Gifts to us…”
That pretty much sums up why I live here. Maui is treasure chest of priceless gifts. Besides who wouldn’t want to live in place where catching waves was an integral part of their culture, as surfing is an ancient Hawaiian tradition. “… By 1779, Surfboard riding was as layered into the society, religion and myth of the islands as baseball is to the modern United States”!
Winter on the north shore of Maui is wave season. The surf is as they say, like “Chasing Giants”. It’s pretty typical to get 30 foot up to 50 foot waves hitting our shores during the cooler season. Watching Peahi break and the nutters who ride it is spectacular. Something like going to a rodeo, except it’s with a Goliath like bull of water. The usual winter pattern are lighter trade winds than summer and less days of wind. To be honest though I have usually sailed through the winters except for this last El Nino year. What’s great about Maui is even during days of big surf there is always flat water sailing on the inside at Kanaha for beginners and intermediate sailors. Sprecks is a fantastic in between venue usually with much smaller waves than Ho’okipa but great for bump and jump style sailing. In the winter Kihei is your flat water skate! Maui has got to be the best place on earth for intermediate sailors to improve, improve, improve. There are just so many different levels of windsurfing to try out on any given windy day, within a ten miles radius from Kanaha to Hookipa. Add a side salad of sun and you can have your cake and eat it too. To get away from arthritic joint forming winters and toss away that wetsuit forever is the icing on the cake of my happiness. Hookipa still attracts the best of the best sailors to her honey pot, year in and year out. A great place to watch windsurfing acrobatics if you are not able to perform in the ‘cirque du soleil’ of windsurfing yourself.
Spring and autumn are when higher winds are more likely to combine with the chance of decent waves on the north shore. It’s also the reason many professional windsurfers come to Maui during these months. Winds are not as consistent as the summer and waves are not always as big or as frequent as the winter months. But it’s the time of year where both conditions are likely to tango well with each other. Spring is also the time for photo shoots which is why Ho’okipa attracts yellow helicopters like bees to a bud.
Maui’s usual summer trend, is blasting trade wind by the afternoon hours and small to zero waves. This time of year is optimum for people who want to learn how to windsurf for the very first time or for those who really want to improve their sailing skills as the wind blows virtually everyday. If you’re hell bent on finally cracking your waterstarts, getting into those footstraps/harness or flying around your jibes without getting wet, this is the time of year for you.
Summer time on the island also brings us race season. On every second Saturday the Maui Slalom Series are held and it’s a blast to watch in more ways then one. It’s certainly a great place to get tips for going much faster from some of the best. For those who like a little wave action there seems to be a one to three foot wind swell at Hookipa on most days. The winds blows hard enough and consistently enough through out the summer that if you live here, it can rattle the nerves after a while. On those days it’s a relief to slip over to the south side to catch some fun, lazy and glassy long boarding days. During Maui’s summer months, you’ll find most of the local community with their trucks piled high with SUP boards and sweeping the ocean clean, as it’s the perfect season for down winders from Malico Gulch to Kanaha. Another local summer exercise is going down to Ho’okipa to run under water with boulders in your arms to strengthen your lung capacity and endurance or to just snorkel and check out what actually lives under water at the infamous break of Ho’okipa other than turtles. I’ve personally seen cuttlefish, eagle rays and lobsters.
Hawaii is a melting pot of different races and ethnicities with no one being a majority, though the first people to populate Maui were the Polynesians from Tahiti and the Marquesas. This recipe of people makes for a delicious cultural meal. I personally love the abundance of asian cuisine! There is a huge percentage of retired windsurfers from decades past as well as still in action athletes. Actually the athletic level is so high, the average ego problem is lowered by the shear amount of insane physical talent out in the water on any given day.
This is a small pond full of huge fish.
Speaking of huge, Maui is also the breeding ground for Humpback Whales during the winter months. Just this morning I enjoyed watching the whales dance out to sea while waiting for waves at Ho’okipa. Maui has a vast array of creatures in and out of the sea.
There are generous amounts of colorful people living on the island from celebrities and ‘raw scented types’, lifted trucks and Pitbulls to the decadent introspective individuals. The other day I was checking out at the grocery store, when the cashier man lifted a hand made sign which stated, ‘Hello’ in black marker pen. On his t-shirt was taped the words, ” I’m having a no speaking day”. As he lifted yet another sign to say, “Have a nice day,” I laughed and thought, ‘only on Maui!’ All types seem to find their place amongst this human safari. The true richness of Maui is the Hawaiian culture, from the signature of their music and the hula to the concept of Aloha, ” Which is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect”.
SMOOTH SAILING WINDSURFING TIPS
Windsurfing on Maui is what helisking in Canada is to skiers, what chocolate is for woman and sex is for men. Maui is the ultimate taste of windsurfing perfection to windsurfers. It’s windy most days though you aren’t allowed to enter the water with your windsurfer until 11am as surfers and free divers get the water until that time. The other rule to be aware of is at Ho’okipa if there are more than 10 surfers out, windsurfers are not allowed to sail Ho’okipa…..Windy or not! Other than that you can sail everywhere else starting at 11am until sunset. The best place to sail if you are a beginner or improver is Kanaha Beach Park. Kanaha offers huge grassy areas for easy rigging under the shady protection of the trees. Though they are Kiawe trees so you have to be careful of their huge thorns and wearing foot protection is recommended. Kanaha is a flat water venue on the inside which is great for learning to waterstart, start using your footstraps and harness or for getting around your carve jibes while on the outside are the reefs with breaking waves. Half way in-between Ho’okipa and Kanaha you can find Sprecks which is a great intermediate sailing venue with more bump and jump style sailing. Unfortunately there is only sand to rig up on so be careful about getting your masts stuck together! Finally there is Ho’okipa with waves that break only a 100 meters from the beach. It’s definitely a very advanced sailing venue with a tricky shore break and sharp rocks to deal with before you even get out. All three places are found on the north shore of Maui and work when the winds are blowing trades usually starting up at Ho’okipa and filling in all the way down to Kanaha. If the winds are blowing north then head for Kihei where wind is sure to be found.
The best way to find affordable accommodation is through word of mouth via the locals. Otherwise you should be able to find medium to high end accomodation and car hire via the internet. Check out www.velawindsurf.com for travel information and bookings. For private lessons and Aloha Windsurfing Clinics on Maui email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For equipment rentals: Adventure Sports Maui (www.neilprydemaui.com) employees are helpful fellow athletes with loads of experience on the water and with the equipment. Adventure Sports Maui is packed full of every water toy there is on the market from windsurfers(Pryde/JP-AUSTRALIA), SUP boards, Cabrinha kites, tow equipment, long boards, body boards, wetsuits, Kaenon eyewear and high fashion surf wear!
WINDSURFING IS FOR EVERYONE
Shawna Cropas and Matt Pritchard run week long Aloha Windsurfing Clinics on Maui through out the year. Expect a lot of fun in the sun, big smiles and a first class coaching experience. These clinics are for both male and females from improver to experts. Maui is their diamond in the mix as the flatter waters on the inside are great for learning to get into your footstraps, commit to the harness, or fly through your jibes while the manageable waves on the outside are perfect for introducing you to wavesailing, improving bottom turns or cracking forward loops.
Our clinics are an ideal way to continue having fun windsurfing in a social environment where you’re able to improve your windsurfing dramatically. Aloha Windsurfing Clinics run six times a year, if you’re interested in a fun, in depth, week long coaching experience join us. For more information check out http://www.shawnacropas.com/alohawindsurfingclinics/
If you are a beginner and want to get more into Windsurfing and SUP please check out our Four Seasons Aloha Clinic Event at the top of the website page!
written by Shawna Cropas