Have you ever had that oh-so-comfortable pair of shoes you wear way beyond their fashion or appearance window? How about your “lucky” baseball glove or standup paddle you hesitate to change? Anyone who knows me well knows that when I get equipment that works for me I stick with it.
Fortunately, the team at Naish Maui Pro Center (cool story about their team here )combines excellent advice and careful guidance as they encouraged me to try the Naish Hokua 9’0″ during our recent trip to Maui.
Back story: I have paddled flatwater, downwind and surfed on an Amundson 11’3″ for the past 4 years. As an all-round SUP board it has served me happily and well. During the 12 months between May 2012 and May 2013 I caught exactly 4 waves and surfed a total of 2 hours at Pacific City on the Oregon coast. To say the least, my surf skills had not been honed or improved. Moving toward the sort of high performance boards in the Naish Hokua line seemed, well, scary! I was used to a barge under foot not the v-design of the Hokua.
Outrageous, wonderful surprise! The first minute out on the water with the Naish Hokua 9′ 0″ had me knocking knee wobbly, then it clicked. A mere paddle stroke or two had the Hokua accelerating steadily. The first thigh high glassy swell rose over the mid tide reef at Launiupoko so I went for it – and caught it! All day I played from that start. Late take-offs? The Hokua and I laughed our way down the faces, it seemed made to rise out of the water and with a mild press of my back foot I could get a lot of tail kick right or left. This had never been part of my skill set before! The Hokua has a super nice “between-the-feet” feel that allowed plenty of fun while waiting between sets and just paddling over the gin clear water above the reef.
While the 9’0″ is great for riders 30-60 lbs heavier than I am, even at my age, size and weight it felt zippy, maneuverable and tons of fun! If you’ve been sticking with the SUP board that’s been your go-to equipment for some time, take a demo, rent a Naish Hokua if you get the chance. You may fall crazy in love like we did – see GoPro video below for the full story!