Wish You Were Here: Maui

Aloha Girls,I am writing to you while sipping a Pina Colada poolside in Maui.  Life is hard. We are staying on the northwest end of the island in Kapalua, which, other than being incredibly windy, is absolutely gorgeous. A surf spot called Flemmings is right on our beach and Honolua Bay is just a short car ride away.Flemmings, which is basically right outside of our door on D.T. Flemmings beach, is a deep water break. There are rights and some lefts (if you are fearless about heading into reef and rocks). We have seen the most size at this spot during our stay. There is basically one take-off zone and it loses power as you move out onto the shoulder, which is a good thing in that you can stay out of others way by paddling out in the channel, but hard in that you have to be exactly in the right position to get a ride. If there is size, the wave pits out and gets pretty hollow on take-off, and I saw a couple of locals take the elevator drop straight down without landing. Definitely not a beginner spot! I caught a few and my daring boyfriend did an excellent job at this adrenaline rush of a spot, but I preferred the mellower longboard break over at Breakwall in Lahina.After a morning of frustration for me trying to jockey for position at Flemmings, we took a drive 11 miles south to Lahina. Lahina is a total tourist destination in Maui. Here you can find high-end shopping, get your Hawaiian kitsch on at the ABC store, eat at a chain restaurants or experience fine island dining. In Lahina, the sun was shining and there was a lovely breeze, but not the chilly wind like we had at our place. Lahina Breakwall is the ultimate learning spot, has a very fun longboard break outside, but can get reefy on a low tide (which was evident the next time we went and there was no where to surf). Many surf schools are held in the inside sections.  I rented a long board and paddled out to the easy waist-high waves in the perfect sunshine with a killer view of the mountains.  We found our own area, taking as many rides as I wanted until my arms felt like limp spaghetti. Starved from a day of surfing, we grabbed burgers from Cheeseburger in Paradise. It’s a total tourist trap, but hard to say no when they serve yummy burgers right on the beach.

Soon it was time to head back to the hotel to receive my Lomilomi massage. (I know, it’s hard to like me.) Have you ever had one? It is a great massage, sort of like a traditional deep tissue, but more rhythmic and spiritual. It is said to reconnect you with your spirit and have healing properties by finding congested areas in the body and releasing them. The masseuse used kneading techniques and long strokes for a very relaxing massage. After a steam and a primp, it was time for dinner where I sipped on a dirty martini, effectively ruining the benefits of my massage, but boy was it good.

The next day we took a drive to check out Honolua Bay (known locally as “the Bay”), which may be the most beautiful surf spot I have ever seen. It is at the bottom of a cliff, and while it was windy around the area the spot seemed to remain calm, the water was beautiful and clear. Honolua Bay picks up swell from the north and west and when it gets big in December hosts the Billabong Pro. Stupidly, we never surfed this break, even though the waves were a very mellow waist high. Instead, we went to a place aptly named “Shit Falls.” I had heard good things about it; it was supposed to have long rolling waves and be a nice intermediate spot. The wind there was so fierce that as I was putting on my leash, the wind picked up my board and flung it into my leg giving me a Charlie horse. This should have been a good indication that it was time to go. Instead I got in the water and started paddling out, and paddling, and paddling. I couldn’t get past the damned white water. Frustration was setting in. The wind was whipping. The waves looked manageable, but still. My boyfriend paddled back over to me with a look like let’s get out of here. But just then an opportunity came up and I made it out past the break. He mentioned he cut his foot, but it was too crazy and windy to see. We decided we hated this place and caught one in. (Well caught one might be overstating it — got pushed in like a bunch of kooks was more like it.) My boyfriend’s foot was bleeding like crazy.  The wind was howling and we got the hell out of there.  (Please let me know if you have had a more pleasant experience there. I hear its fun.)

But it was nothing that some plate lunch couldn’t cure. And so despite the surly attitude of our counter woman, the teriyaki beef, white rice and mac salad put everything right again.

Wish you were here,

Planning a trip to Maui?  Check out www.visitmaui.com, www.surfmaps.com (which, for a small fee, will give you a list of the surf spots on Maui), and www.omaui.com  (for surf reports).

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