I've been back from Maui for a week now, and still haven't been able to muster up a post about it. I can't figure out exactly what I can say about Maui, or how I can offer some insight or perspective about it. It's freakin' Maui. It's this tropical paradise that's a 5 hour flight from anything. The water is transparent and teal blue. Giant sea turtles are all over the place. You cruise over big white UFO shaped pieces of coral. You can sail to a variety of reefs where waves pitch and break, or gently crumble, depending on your cup of tea. These waves often jack up on your starboard broad reach so you can fly through as much airspace as your courage can handle. Point towards a flat part of the wave for distance. Point toward the pitchy part if you want to go straight toward the heavens. No need to think about technique for jumping. Just go fast and target something steep.
It feels like windsurfing on a movie set. Maybe that's because of the ingrained images of chase helicopter shots bearing down on Robby and Laird cruising at Mach 1. Maybe it's because you really feel like you've crossed into another dimension of existence. A dimension with warmer, clearer, water. Organized waves bombard all shores a few at a time, but take breaks so you can paddle out to surf them. Unrelenting wind that just finished a 2,000 mile journey fills your sail, accelerating at the finish line stretched across Haleakala and Mauna Kahalawai, Maui's towering twin volcanic mountains.
It's freakin' Maui. Windsurfers talk about it all the time, mostly complimentary, with some squeaky wheels who love to point out so-called shortcomings. The conditions are just like what they look like in the pictures. The weather changes more than you've heard. There's more to do there than you've heard. The locals are nicer than you've heard.
It's mecca for us. If you haven't been there, go. Don't let anyone tell you it's not worth it. If you feel so compelled, face west and pray toward it. If not, hitch a ride on your own one hundred fifty ton interdimensional flying steel tube, sit for several hours and see for yourself.
It's freakin' Maui.
Here are some pictures, since I know that's all most blog browsers look at. I have an addiction to hemorrhoid medicine. See? I'm not afraid to admit that because I know that no one actually reads windsurfing blogs. You're just here for the pictures.
This was a SUP race put on by Naish called the "doggy paddle" for obvious reasons. I drove down to check it out on a windless morning, and it 'twas rather fun.
A sample of what the conditions look like, with blur, at the spot we sailed at Kanaha beach state park. This was a windy day, 4.2 for me. We got a few of these and that really help us learn a lot about which boards ride big vs. small and are controllable overpowered. That's huge for most people because we can't all afford to also have a 70 liter board for nuking conditions.
Windsurfing babe Sierra returned for the 2nd year. She and a few other Mauians helped out with the test, which is very fortunate, since it takes a lot of work riding a ton of boards when one could be going out there just to ride and have fun for yourself.
Ultra-friendly financial guy Canadian Carl Speiss also returned. He's wearing his "I looped today!" smile because I believe this was his first day hucking them. He says I had something to do with inspiring him to go for it, but I think people mainly are telling me that because they say "damnit Aaron sucks, I can do it if he can!" Which is just dandy by me.
I sometimes see some exotic things going on with windsurfing gear in the bay, but if you really wanna see some crazy stuff, check out the beach at Kanaha. Windsurfing tinkerers are everywhere, but Maui has got to be the most concentrated place for these types.
My really great friend Dave Harrell, who flies for American Airlines.
I'm always skeptical when meeting windsurfing legends about what they're really going to be like as people. Francisco Goya is one of the coolest and most friendly people you will ever share a slice of pizza with. Write that down.
The last windy day, and I went back to my old devices. I had a pretty nice Starboard loop attempt on a gusty 23-35 day... went to waterstart, and just was too lazy to get planing before hooking in. Results above, and actually more painful than it looks.
Even better than going to Maui is enjoying it with good friends. Jake helped with the video work and Russel Faurot guest tested from the pro's perspective despite a dinged up ankle. Silly good times are what it's all about, to me.