Being on vacation in West Maui is about all one could ask for, especially as gray winter was hitting our home town of Bend with wind and wet snow. We were fortunate to have traded our timeshare for a spot at the Marriott Maui resort. As we drove up to much fancier digs than we needed, we were greeted by bell and valet staff both courteous and enthusiastic. Holy cow! We’re used to taking care of our own car and gear – especially the cool Naish 14′ Glides we had on the foam roof rack of our rental car. Would we fit in here and where would we put our boards?
We later learned that the friendly guy who cheerfully helped us get the raceboards onto solid racks inside a well protected surf storage room was Alex Sumibcay. Over the week we were in Maui we had our Naish raceboards and the Mana 9’5″ SUP surfboards in and out of the storage room numerous times per day. Over time we had great conversations with Alex in between his valet runs parking cars and helping guests. By mid-week we discovered that Alex had an artistic and entrepreneurial side to him. On Thursday we were greeted with a bag of some of the coolest “SUP Maui” branded stickers, hats and shirts. Stylish t-shirts and tanks in both men and women’s styles made our wardrobe for the rest of our trip (when we weren’t wearing awesome garb from Naish). Seriously, we felt a small part of the local culture.
Alex personifies the best aspects of SUP surfing and the sport we all love. We were riding some waist high fun waves at Laniupoko on West Maui along with a few other locals. I inadvertently took a wave about the same time as a young 30-something guy with exquisite tattoos and definite surfing skills. I cringed when I saw what I had done and promptly wiped out. Paddling back out I came alongside him and apologized profusely. I was so surprised when he simply grinned and said, “Hey. there are plenty of waves for everyone.”
I recounted this story to Alex, who obviously was mentoring his friend’s SUP surfing. Alex laughed and explained, “I love to teach my friends who used to prone surf how great standup surfing is. But, when I teach them the skills I also teach them to be gracious and share aloha on the waves.” Alex was a treasure to spend time with.
By the end of the week we had a full inventory of hats, T’s, tanks and stickers. You will definitely want to get some when you are in Maui. They can be found at Hawaiian Island Surf and Sports. if you can’t get to Maui you can order from Alex. He can customize his trademarked logo for any location. I am looking forward to SUPBend gear and garb.