Maui in Style
Oceansource's Ed Texier makes his pilgrimage to the 'Mecca of Windsurfing'
This trip was planned when the pound was strong with Gordon Brown preaching about the promised land. A proud time for the UK and a time to plan the holiday of a lifetime to the Mecca of windsurfing, Maui.
This wasn't going to be another ordinary windsurfing holiday, this had to be done in style. OK, we've had an economic disaster and the pound is worth little more than a Rupee but I know that you know that I know that you know that very little gets in the way of a windsurfing holiday, right? In hindsight, perhaps this should've been an exception to the rule!!
Anyway, following some initial research, we decided that the best place to stay had to be along the Maui North shore, amidst all the action. We found ourselves a dream pad, near the surf town of Paia, right on the water overlooking the famous 'Sprecks' break. Travelling with my non-windsurfing wife and our two little kiddies, it was important to find a spot that offered good beach access and suited us all, this was looking good.
However, on our first morning I wasn't exactly expecting to be greeted with the sight of humpback whales leaping out of the ocean and Kai Lenny (the 'next Robby Naish') casually walking past to do his daily routine, whether that be windsurfing, surfing, kitesuring, SUP'ing, trust me, this kid can do it all. I instantly felt this place was something special.
As the days slipped by, I slowly worked my way back to fitness and spent most of my time at Sprecks. This is relatively small, playful break just a couple of tacks downwind from where we stayed. The waves come rolling in about waist to head high making it the ideal starting point to gauge the Maui conditions, predominantly side-shore. It's also a very picturesque spot where the various windsurfing brands like to strut their stuff and do their photo shoots. I remember one particular moment when sailing towards the shore across bright turquoise waters whilst enjoying the company of various pros strutting their stuff, all staged in front of stunning back-drop of palm-fringed beaches and mountains like you’ve never seen before.
After a week or so of full-on action (it had been blowing 4.2 every day) and some non-windsurfing activities, the road to Hana is truly stunning and a must for anyone visiting the island, it was time to give my man Robby 'Swifty' Swift a call. I am sure that little introduction is required but Robby is a JP/NP sponsored team rider doing the PWA circuit and now local resident to Maui. He spends his days getting super-fit at the gym and doing what he likes best, wave sailing and slalom racing. He's also available to offer one-to-one coaching and so I decided to sample this service for myself as I was there for another reason…to crack the elusive back loop.
At the point of meeting Robby, I can safely say that I was a beginner at the whole back loop game although I had been toying with it for a couple of months by now, to little avail. Robby's service not only offers you a hands-on recap and break-down of any move you wish to learn but does this with the aid of expensive video equipment off and on the water. He sails alongside with a headcam whilst his accomplish zooms in from the beach to take a second perspective - all very swish indeed!
At the end of the session, we reviewed the video footage on his computer (photo) which proved very useful indeed. Ok, no back-loop yet but I am definitely two-steps closer!!
By this time the holiday was very much in full-swing. I had managed to windsurf pretty much every day, got some whale watching in with the family, done the road to Hana but there was one thing left the menu, Ho'okpa. Now Ho'okipa may not be everyone's cup of tea as after all, their local reef is a graveyard for smashed kit and pros with bruised egos but it IS the Mecca of windsurfing in my opinion. This is the very location where Robby Naish shot to fame in the 80s, footage of which we have been admiring ever since. And guess what, he is still there today...every day, at least when the wind blows. On the two days that I went to Ho'okipa, the god of windsurfing was there clearly demonstrating his passion for the sport has not diminished one iota. He may not have all the new skool moves required to get you on the PWA podium these days but has that natural, fluid motion of the wave unrivalled by most. He's also a very nice guy and extremely approachable and to be sailing alongside the legend himself is an experience I shall never forget.
Neither is the moment when I surfaced without my gear after taking a pummeling, only to see Robby Naish within feet away from me having to bail out of another quality ride to avoid taking my head off. For a minute I thought I had died and gone to heaven...
So, is Maui the ultimate windsurfing destination? In my opinion, yes, because nowhere else in the world can you sail in such a stunning location, in consistent cross-shore conditions and alongside so many pros. The time to go is March to April when the whole windsurfing circus show is in full swing with pros and brand managers rubbing shoulders alongside the general public. It really is a spectacle and perhaps THE Ultimate Windsurfing Experience.
For further information on our Maui holiday package, please contact email@example.com or call us on +44 (0)1243 776337