Maui Sports Adventure: Experience Maui with the Schweitzer ‘Ohana

m3I fell asleep last night dreaming about the day Ed and I had out in the Pacific exploring the backside cliffs of Lana’i and hunting for fish in the cobalt blue waters beyond.m1

From spinner dolphin to leaping pygmy whales, from silvery flying fish to massive schools of small tuna the water seemed alive with life. Best of all, we were sharing the day with Matt Schweitzer.

You can read about his experience (and that of the rest of the Schweitzer ‘ohana) here.

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Matt and Shawneen Schweitzer

We had already had the great experience of sharing some waves with Shawneen Schweitzer earlier in our trip. There’s nothing like her smiles and stoke on the water – whether the waves are big or small or if she’s on the water with novice or experienced surfers/paddlers.

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Matt and Ed talking story

So, it was no surprise to discover that Matt shares that same sense of passion for time on the water and contagious sense of wonder for the islands, the geography, the marine life and the ocean. We have spent thousands of days out on the ocean from north to south and east to west, but this day was a “bucket list” standout.

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Seeing the backside of Lanai – mixed with history and stories Matt shares – and feeling 100% safe on his Radon 26 foot craft – it was an adventure we hope to repeat on a future visit to Maui.

When you visit Maui be sure to explore the option of creating your custom and personalized Adventure Retreat.

This blog is read mostly by standup paddlers – and does Maui Sports Adventures have options for you. Explore some of the options here. Surfing or foiling or windsurfing? They can take care of you for any of those experiences too. No worries about accommodations. Without fail, if you love the ocean, check out the Waterman Retreat! Find video and images that will have you planning your Maui Sports Adventure immediately.

SUP Guided Tours

One of the most exciting aspects of stand up paddling is the ability to tour the coastlines. While on vacation on Maui you will notice that Hawaii boasts crystal clear water and colorful fish and turtle are abundant along the shoreline.Our expert stand up paddle guides are champion athletes and will take you on one of the most memorable SUP down-wind guided tours where you can coast with the wind and the ocean swells down Maui’s beautiful coast. All you will need is a camera to capture the breathtaking views of the islands from the water. We provide your gear which includes boards, and paddles and we will take you on a beautiful adventure tailored to your desires.

 

Sea Maui: Catch the”FunBoat” Family

seamaui-sunsetIt’s one thing to sit on the beach and watch the sun kiss the ocean with gold. It is quite another to be skimming over the Pacific on a beautiful catamaran – like the Sea Maui.

Over the past couple of years the Sea Maui team has worked extremely hard at becoming a staple on Ka’anapali beach and making sure their guests have that magical Maui experience. seamaui-interior

We were fortunate to have chosen the snorkel trip over to Lanai on a beautiful Hawaiian day. What an awesome team cared for each of us every minute. We have taken a few catamaran trips with other companies and this experience was far and away the very best. All of the staff is experienced, certified and knowledgeable sailors who take visible pride in what they do.seamaui-crew

From making sure to talk with all the guests, sharing local stories and spotting ocean life (whales, flying fish, spinner dolphin),  there is no mistake that this is Ka’anapali’s “FUN BOAT.” 

Our day began with a catered hot breakfast (with vegan option) but we chose the bacon, local sausage with our eggs and perfectly seasoned rice. Belly full, we lounged on the beanbags and savored a gorgeous passage over to Lanai.seamaui-me

On this 5 hour adventure we traveled to Lanai and snorkeled in the stunning Manele Bay fish sanctuary. We spotted a huge variety of tropical fish – butterflies of many varieties, parrots, tangs, and many more.  The sprawling coral reef seemed to go on forever with formations we hadn’t seen in other snorkel spots.

Once our snorkel time was over we all scrambled back on board ready for the incredible buffet lunch and a premium open bar. The service and attention to every need could not have been better. Because the Sea Maui limits the number of  clients on each trip there was ample time to connect with both the crew and the others on board. seamaui-chat

For a memorable sunset sail be sure to check out the Sea Maui Sunset Live trip! It’s the traditional sunset cocktail sail with upbeat and fun live music performed by popular local musicians. Spice up your night and hop on Sea Maui for some awesome cocktails, tasty food, and some great jams. They don’t call Sea Maui “Ka’anapali’s FUN BOAT” for nothing. These guys really know how to entertain. Real pros! Save your seat today! Book now.

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Jane McKee: Living Legend – Loving the Racing Life

A few days ago I was following some of Jane McKee’s recent adventures and channel crossings when I noticed Sean Sweet mentioned her as a “Living legend.”  I imagine Jane is simply doing what her heart and soul inspires her to – while having a ton of fun. I wondered, and asked Jane, “Who are some other living legends who have influenced or inspired you lately?” jane-gnarly

Jane replied with this fascinating summary from an inspiring waterwoman, “I just love being on the water. And I love racing! Racing forces me to be a better version of myself, not just physically, but mentally. There is something about pushing your body beyond its comfort level that helps you better able to deal with difficult situations in other parts of your life.

Racing has a meditative effect. When you are out there for hours, you sort through all kinds of things. Sometimes emotional pain is worse than physical pain so I know if I can go out and be on the water, in any capacity, my worries will sort out. It’s like they say, salt water heals. So paddling has a much deeper meaning for me.

nappy.jpgSome people that have inspired me would be my friend Nappy Napolean, who still paddles well into his seventies. He just loves to paddle! And he is such a great  ambassador for the sport. I think the fountain of youth is to keep moving, and he  is a classic example of what you can do.

Jane seemed to excel in so many disciplines throughout 2018. I wondered why she loves each of them each and asked for a hierarchy of how each might serve to cross train the over age 50 water athlete.

Jane shared this: I had a really good OC1 season this year. I never came in less than third place overall in our winter series, including the M2M, Molokai to Oahu one man relay with partner Alan Goo-Frasier, and Olukai races.

jane-sailI came in 8th out of 24 in the Molo solo and won two M2M races on the one man this summer. I also participate in the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Racing series with Team Hui Nalu. We sail the entire main Hawaiian Island chain over the course of the summer. I have been canoe sailing for 18 years and it is just amazing. I raced the Napali one man race and the Napali Challenge 6 man race recently.

I just completed my first M2O SUP race with team mates Jen Fuller and Kristin Thomas. We had a blast and won our division!

I had decided last year to not race with a club anymore for 6 man. I have been paddling 6 man for 26 years and realized that summer offers a whole new world of opportunities for fun racing in all venues that I had been missing out on.

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Photo Credit: M Pauole

It is interesting, that since I have been paddling SUP, my OC1 paddling has improved. SUP provides the strength training and OC1 my cardio and speed, they really compliment each other. I say padding a SUP is like Crossfit on a board!

I cannot even contemplate such a full schedule of events – especially across one sweet summer. Jane seems to be hopping from event to event, I asked her to describe her in-between training routine. To what does she attribute your success?

This response came easily to Jane: I think my success is attributed to the love of racing and paddling. I love the excitement of racing, getting ready, the nerves at the start line and the knowledge that it ain’t over till it’s over! I won some of my races last year by a hair, literally down to the second, so knowing that will push you to the end.

As far as training, I try to split the workouts between SUP and OC1. I find I can only do SUP about 2-3X a week so have to hop on my OC1 to rotate muscle groups so I don’t get over use injuries. I am a huge proponent of massage therapy, I go on an average of once a week.

Okay, you made it this far in the article and now comes the “STORY!” Enjoy it!

Jand McKee and the 2018 M2O

100SO! I had been escorting people for the M2O for a few years, Armie Armstrong from NZ, Annabel Anderson, and a Brazilian Prone paddler last year. I have crossed the Kaiwi channel more than 50 times between OC1, 6man and sailing canoe, but never on a SUP.  Kristin Thomas and Jen Fuller from California were my Facebook friends and I knew they were good paddlers, so I threw it out to them to do a team together.

They were keen, so we were all set to race! We decided to call ourselves Team C&H (California and Hawaii, get it?) They came a few days before the race and we did a few downwinders, and that is all the practice the got before the channel. I was really proud of how they did especially because it turned out to be one of the toughest channels in a decade. A dumping tide made it sticky, crazy disorganized swell, everyone said it was hard.  I have a lot of respect for the athletes that do M2O solo. 100-award

I think the best part of the race was coming away with some wonderful new friends! I had always heard such great things about Jen and Kristin and now I have a whole new group of amazing women athletes as gal pals! We laugh that we will be doing this race together until we are 100.

 

Love Your Ocean – Treasure the Whales (and all the marine life)

judyIt is possible to standup paddle all the way from Maui to the Molokini “seems like a crater but isn’t” area off the coast, but the weather and your paddling buddy need to be spot on. So we were fortunate to get aboard the Pacific Whale Foundation’s boat, Voyager, for a snorkel trip with entertaining and so capable, Capt Doug Hunt. The day dawned sunny with barely a breeze. Whales were breaching and rolling, nursing their young and putting on a show all the way out. (Learn more here)

boatThe snorkeling was great in spite of hundreds of people in the water. Once eyes were aimed at the reef and the antics of the wide variety of tropicals it seemed like we had the area to ourselves. On board, we were served fresh fruit, breads, juices and coffee by highly experienced crew, all with degrees in some form of marine biology and environmental studies. They were personable and shared information in the most engaging manner. download

ornate-butterflyHuge mahalos to Emily, Karin, Mel, Liv, Jamie and Mariah!!! After our second dive at Turtle Arches (wow, even cooler diversity of tropical fish) we had the best cookout! Veg burgers, ballpark steaks (beef hotdogs) and grilled chicken – with sides … and there were cookies! Can’t get all that on a SUP!

The best part of the experience was the knowledge that more than 80% of our ticket price goes directly to the Pacific Whale Foundation, everything we purchased in the store and our membership dollars all support dedicated people serving the source of “every second breath we take” – the Ocean.

If you love watching the whales of Maui at play – or wish you had…. go ahead and learn more about the Pacific Whale Foundation>

 

SUP Surf Photography: Maui

launiupoko217Sometimes I wish we had a drone with a great camera – and of course, some sweet editing skills to really document the fun we have had on knee to chest high waves on Maui this week. The zoom on our iPhone can’t quite capture the take off, far out from shore. Sometimes a still shot catches the wrong image. The videos show a small dot moving across a sweet wave. What can we do to really grab the most amazing images from a special trip?

 

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This image was taken by Dennis Oliphant from the water at a spot in Mexico, no zoom needed.

So, I have no great pictures from this week, but I do have a strategy. I have a collection of images captured in my mind. It is a skill I learned from my son about 15 years ago. I requires an active and vivid reflection on the experience you want to save as an “image in the mind.”

I was out at Launiupoko and it was bigger and different than it had been the past few days we’d been there. I got some rides and I got hammered some. To be 68 and to get pounded is cool in itself. Anyway, I was taking my last wave in and I caught a chest high glassy swell. It was a right (my fav) and the wall held up so that I could carve up and down the face of that beauty.

I can feel my feet on the my board, the rail responding to shifts in weight bring me from the left angled take-off, to a bottom turn toward the right. I see the green blue of the wave face shimmering ahead of me. I usually find a breaking wave in front of me, but on this ride the wave held up and I carved toward the top, then slid smoothly back down. There was time to do this twice, so rare for me. With very little effort i can bring the image to my mind at will. I believe that ride will stay with me for a long time.

The funny thing is, the ride is a lot more beautiful and extraordinary in my mind than it likely would have been even if the best videographer captured it. I invite you to hone your mental-image photography skill.

I cut out of the wave, went in and now we had a Big Swell IPA while watching the US Open at a bar on the beach. Life is so good.

 

Pe’ahi Challenge: An Epic Day

The air was electric with anticipation, the athletes quietly checked equipment as the rhythm of swell surging in Kahului Harbor reinforced the truth. While one water athlete would reign victorious by the end of the day, each knew the true opponent was a wave named, Pe’ahi. There would be no beating her, only the chance to be patient enough to wait for her to deliver the right wave and then ride it with a lifetime of experience blended with courage and focus.

IMG_1564In the pre-dawn darkness we arrived at Kahului Harbor as the boats and jet skis were being launched in preparation for the first paddle-in event  at Jaws, the Pe’ahi Challenge. We were there to observe the pule, the traditional moment of prayer shared by the athletes as they gather in a circle offering their gratitude, asking for safety and protection, blessing the endeavor they will experience today. One image comes to mind.

One of the competitors emerged from the cabin of his boat with a handful of ti leaves. Traditionally ti leaves are used in ceremonies for protection and to call in good luck and spirit. The young man shared the ti leaves with drivers of the jet skis, the link to safety for the athletes. No words were needed, the jet ski drivers knew their role was crucial and one that was built on training as disciplined as that of the athletes.

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Always ready for rescue, the safety team took some hard hits in the impact zone – Photo TAG Heuer

One by one the boats headed out for the long ride to the deep channel just off the shoulder of Pe’ahi. We had the good fortune to be on the cliff with a bird’s eye view of every ride. Within earshot of the spot-on commentary and “talk story” gift of Dave Kalama, we were fully immersed in an epic day that will go down in history.

Before the comp even started, Kai Lenny caught what looked like the best wave of the day, a huge barrel, moments after Shane Dorian’s monster drop. Kai’s wave was caught on camera but from a distance. People continued to remark throughout the morning that it was easily the biggest and deepest (made) barrel they had seen. If you want to see the footage, FOLLOW Kai on Instagram – and prepare to be blown away by that video.

With near-perfect Jaws conditions, the best big wave riders on the planet were queued for heats and a chance at the the wave of their life. Yes, there was a hefty purse of $100,000 – but at the moment the laser focus was on the swell, on the power of Pe’ahi. Before the event even started, things got crazy. Mark Matthews took off on a bomb and separated his shoulder. Every ride had a price tag.

The predicted swell delivered with power and resulting carnage that had every spectator holding their breath until the athlete popped up out of the churning foam and grabbed the rescue sled. Commentator, Dave Kalama, explained that after a crushing wipeout the full focus is on getting a board (in so many cases the board has been splintered by the impact) and getting out there as soon as possible for another ride. You have to get out there and go again before the realization hits you. What an absolutely insane path you have chosen as yours.

The day was full of rides that brought gasps, then cheers. Dave Kalama called Greg Long’s cavernous deep 9-pointer “one of the biggest waves ever paddled into.” Every heat brought incredible rides and the gnarliest of wipeouts. One of the runaway jet skis, hammered sideways by the wave, was pounded toward the rocks, then methodically smashed to bits in the crushing foam. Watching that gave each of us spectators a full understanding of the forces the athletes endured at any misstep or wipeout. Their preparation and training mixed with courage and absolute passion for what they do is nothing less than heroic.

Huge cheers erupted in the VIP tent when Albee Layer threw down some incredible tube rides. It was nail-biting good to be seated next to Peter Walsh (father of competitors Shaun and Ian).  Shaun Walsh’s steep drop, which Shane Dorian said was one of the steepest of the contest, gave us all chills. Ian Walsh’s heat before the semi-final was a collection of one strong ride after another. From one of my favorite Maui paddlers, Peggy King, “Maui Local boys ruled today and Billy Kemper deserved the win!” Right on, Peggy.

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Heading out for some little fun waves at Launiupoko, Maui

The very next day we took our boards to Launiupoko on the West side for the polar opposite of waves, a gentle 2-fit swell. We always have fun at our favorite Maui beach – does what we do count as “real” surfing?

We got some insight later that day. It was really cool to read a post by Kai Lenny that made us feel a connection to one of the world’s best – simply because we hunger for time in the ocean and on its waves, “2ft to 20ft the fun is the same to me. I’m just happy to be in the water everyday!”

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At the end of the day at the Pe’ahi Challenge, Billy Kemper won the well-deserved prize. Every competitor provided the honor of participating in this historic, inauguaral event was also a winner. In the biggest picture – we all won. Our sport is gaining fans and appreciation from surfers of all levels and non-surfers as well. Thanks to the World Surf League (WSL) and TAG Heuer for the vision to collaborate to bring us this event.

 

Maui Magic: Surf and Downwinders

Home sweet home when on Maui - Naish Maui Pro Center

Home sweet home when on Maui – Naish Maui Pro Center

Months of planning and dreaming precede every trip to Hawaii or any of our favorite surfing and paddling destinations. When we head to Maui, it is so relaxing and cool to know exactly where we will rent top quality boards and feel “local” from the moment we walk in the door.

Just minutes from the airport, we usually change from mainland shoes to our Olukai’s at the car rental booth and shoot right on over to grab our boards. Then it is off to the Naish Maui Pro Center.naishimport1

A quick phone call was all we needed to chat with Coach, Jay or any member of the team. We discussed December weather, surf probability – and got our Hokuas and our downwind Naish ONEs for fun all week,

Jay, Coach and the entire Naish Maui ProCenter team is YOUR local connection on Maui

Jay, Coach and the entire Naish Maui ProCenter team is YOUR local connection on Maui

Not only is the shop filled with great kiteboarding gear, apparel and awesome boards – but local knowledge and a casual willingness to share. For instance – the wind was blowing crazy, a Kona wind and we were not familiar with that. Jay let us know (by checking the computer right at the counter) where the protected bays and surf spots might be (Launiupoko not Ka’anapali Beach).

There is a culture that oozes from Naish Maui Pro Center. Naish is a company that builds awesome boards for every water sport – wind, kite, surf and downwind. Beyond the top quality manufacturing we expect from Naish, how often do you think of the culture behind the brand. Seriously – Robby Naish has soared past his 50th birthday and continues to seek adventure and challenges, records and fun on the water. (More here). That is the creative energy driving the company.

Team Naish includes gracious, community-building and off the charts phenomenal water athletes like Suzie Cooney (training), Kai Lenny, Kody Kerbox, Casper Steinfath, Riggs Napoleon, Manca Notar and more. When you walk out of the shop with your Naish boards, paddle and maybe a sweet Naish rash guard you simply feel, COOL.

We will be back for the Olukai Ho’olaule’a in May and the fun race the last Saturday in April. If you want gear for that week – Reserve now! Whenever you head to Maui – be local, be a part of the ALOHA that is Naish Maui Pro Center. Whether we are surfing or downwinding (YES, the Naish ONE rocks) we find what we need at Naish Maui Pro Center (and can trade out as wind and weather dictate).naish4