Sandi and I are very different travelers. I’m a Southerner with a thirst for adventure and Sandi is a Northerner who leans towards leisure. Because we have contrasting views about what to see, do, and eat in just about every destination we visit, we are sharing experiences in a series of His Way / Her Way posts. One destination – two views!
There are few places in the world as enchanting as Maui. There’s something about this tropical paradise that invites you to step out of your comfort zone to explore and experience her treasures in ways beyond the norm. So rather than engaging in activities that we’re particularly good at, like lounging around the beach, we took the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with Hawaiian paddlesports. Naturally we chose different adventures. Here’s how we experienced Maui’s paddlesports His Way and Her Way.
My initial desire to visit Hawaii came from watching episodes of Hawaii Five-O when I was a kid. In the closing credits of each episode there is a scene of five Hawaiian guys paddling an outrigger canoe in perfect sync over big waves. That was something that I wanted to experience long before I even knew what a bucket list was.Forty something years later, on my first visit Maui, I was offered an outrigger canoe adventure with Hawaiian Paddle Sports. Of course I jumped at the chance! DUH!
After meeting a group of fellow adventurers to signed the obligatory release forms, we hiked to the beach along a hot, sandy trail through tropical vegetation and lava rocks. We learned the importance of team work right away as we had to move the heavy canoe from it’s makeshift dry-dock some thirty yards from shore to the water’s edge.
We practiced paddling techniques on the beach for about 15 minutes, it was finally time to push out into the water. We each took out place in the canoe as the instructor called our number. Within just a few seconds we were paddling our way out to sea, gaining speed as we got in sync with each other. The Hawaii 5-O theme music running through my head with every stroke.
Part way through the journey we stopped to do a little snorkeling. The clear water made it easy to see sea turtles, rays, and sea urchins. The entire experience was exhilarating.
Taking SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) to a different level (Sitting)I think my panic began as soon as we pulled up to in the peaceful cove on Makena Beach on Maui’s sunny south shore and I saw waves crashing into the shore. In reality, they were by no means what most would even consider a wave, but more like a sea foam gently kissing the soft silky sand. I don’t have a lot of confidence when it comes to my (non-existent) athletic ability, so the thought of having to stand-up on a paddleboard in the Pacific Ocean suddenly became terrifying.But, the beauty of Maui Stand Up Paddle Boarding is that they totally understood my fear. They made me realize that safety was their number one priority and that I could actually do this.It’s not easy to try new and physically challenging things after living six-decades, but it is possible. And while the others on our paddleboard excursion were both young and physically fit, I was still able to participate and feel part of the group at my own pace.
My pace was mostly ‘sitting or kneeling’ but it gave me a sense of belonging as I watched my youthful counterparts snorkeling side by side with giant sea turtles, doing backbends on their paddleboards and leaping into the Pacific with carefree abandon.
I loved sitting on my board, drifting taking in stunning views of Molokini, Pu u Olai, and Lanai while listening to our instructors Megan and Laurie talked about their mission to empower guests to discover a deeper appreciation and connection to Hawaii’s maritime environment. They succeeded.
Which paddlesports would you most like to experience?