SUP Love: Sounds Like Hokua

Ah, love is in the air – it’s May and warm – but better yet, salt is in the air.  Ed and I are on Maui just as weather at home is figuring out how to move from winter to spring.

We are a salt-craving duo. I started surfing in 1965 with the same guy I am surfing with now. Yup, heading into our 43rd anniversary we’ve still got the love.  That said, I must confess a new crush – a wild and wonderful new crush on something fresh, sleek, sporty and fast – the Naish Hokua 9’0.” So, here’s the story.

naishmay1
Savoring the day after a sweet training paddle and surf session on the Naish 14′ Glide

My surfer guy, Ed, and I had a 40 year hiatus from surfing and re-discovered our love of walking on water in 2005 as we launched into standup paddling – and surfing.  Now it’s May and we’re on Maui prepping for the tradition and adventure of the Olukai Ho’olaule’aHo’olaule’a – literally, it means “celebration”, according to Olukai, it’s also an expression of gratitude. We feel that way as well.

Since enjoying the small, “fun,” version of the Ho’olaule’a last year we have had the great fortune to meet so many great friends, professionals and athletes connected by Maui’s culture and events.  What a treasure. The team at Naish Maui Pro Center stands out as a key part of what has made the experience what it is.

Talk about in-depth experience, passion for their respective board sports and endless patience for questions and sharing advice – and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Have you ever rented SUP equipment during a vacation? It can be a real grab bag of choices. Many times we’ve headed out with less-than-amazing equipment, heavy paddles and a wave good bye once the credit card has been swiped. The team at Naish Maui Pro Center lives a very different vibe.  Martin never stops smiling as he fine tunes and repairs the rental fleet maintaining tip top condition and appearance.  Sam has a knack for considering our abilities and matching that to the breaks that could provide us the best experience on any given day.  Jay is obviously proud of both the retail and rental aspects of the shop, as well as the culture that’s been developed. It was fun to chat with a few Naish riding Maui locals out at the break as they inquired where we got our Hokuas. The moment we said, ” We rented them over at Naish Maui Pro Center,” they immediately shared a similar story or two.

Be prepared to be an SUP kid in a candy store at the Naish Maui Pro Center. Rack after rack of Naish board choices spread as far as the eye can see. There’s something for every ability and size. It was there in front of the area holding the Hokua line that I saw it – the Hokua 9’0.” I surf an 11’3″ all round board and love it – but sadly, it couldn’t hold a candle to this sleek and snappy  Hokua calling my name. Heck, at my age (63) and my surfing ability (you’ll see in the video) would I be able to stand on it, balance and even catch a wave? I didn’t care, it was too beautiful not to take as my board of choice for surfing this week. Take a look at the 1-minute video collage of an afternoon of glassy awesome-ness at Launiupoko.

In love there is always “that moment!” While I had plenty of fun rides and better bottom turns than I’d ever enjoyed, there was that moment of connection. A larger than usual set had come in with a chest high swell rather than the thigh highs of the day.  This glassy wall peaked in front of me and the lip took a sudden and crushing fold down, breaking right in front of me. I dug in my paddle and braced, expecting to the be tossed in the drink.

HA! Not so. That Hokua easily broke through the wave, the power of the crest whipped past my ankles and I did this quick turn, and (SURPRISE) caught the next wave in the set.  We’ve seen the pros make the Hokua perform. How cool that it can bring even the novice to a new level of SUP fun!

(The BIG Story:  Naish 14′ Glides  for the Olukai Ho’olaule’a on Saturday)

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