Monday, June 27, 2016

The Beginners Guide to Maui Surfing

So your tour of Maui’s north shore has you all kinds of excited to try your hand at surfing. The big time wave riders at Jaws surf break stirred that sense of adventure in your loins. You’re committed to ripping up the modest breaks just outside your hotel room on a foam-top longboard rental. We completely support your decision and would like to help you on your quest to become a modern day Moondoggy with this beginners guide to surfing Maui.

Know Before You Go

Before you go full-on “Endless Summer,” there are a few things to make note of like the weather conditions. Maui is known as the windy island for good reason. Side-onshore winds, meaning wind that blows from offshore onto the beach at an angle, typically picks up around 9 a.m. This is the time when kite- and windsurfers take to the water. Novice surfers will want to avoid these aquatic bullet trains.

The crowds can also be a problem. The best surf spots will be the most crowded, and it is really easy for beginners to get in the way of the more experienced locals, causing tension. Always be aware of your surroundings and wait your turn. Surfing early in the morning means less wind and less crowds.

Many of the surf breaks you’ll want to ride are caused by reefs. This signals two important things: you’ll be in shallow waters filled with dangerously jagged coral and potentially dangerous sea life. Hey! Nobody said this was easy. When you fall off the board, go completely starfish and roll face up. Throwing your body as flat and wide as possible will help you stay close to the surface and above the reef. Also, be mindful of your surroundings. If you see a school of jellies, take a break.

What You’ll Need

If you plan on renting a board from one of the myriad surf shops on the island, they’ll outfit you with everything you need. However, there are a couple additional items you might want to consider buying. During the winter months, you’ll most likely sport a wetsuit. Don’t paddle out in the summer without a rash guard. Basically a shirt meant to get wet, it prevents the rash that occurs from rubbing your torso against a waxed board all morning and keeps the sun off your back. Another item worth the investment is a pair of reef booties. These life savers keep your feet warm, provide extra traction and prevent cuts from sharp coral.

Where to Surf

Known as The Cove, this surf spot at Kalama Beach Park in Kihei is ideal for first-timers. The waves are consistent and tiny, and the break is only a short paddle away from the shore. A handful of shops across the street offer rentals, and nearby Taqueria Cruz offers some of the island’s best Mexican food. Guardrails is a fun spot to surf for the slightly less-novice novice. It’s just off an unmarked stretch of the Honoapiilani Highway about five minutes south of Lahaina between mile markers 18 and 19. There is seldom a crowd, and you’ll find left- and right-hand breaks that offer long rides. Be warned; getting in and out of the water can be difficult thanks to the rocky shore and occasionally rough surf. Reef booties would be a good idea.

Surfing certainly isn’t the easiest hobby to pick up, but it will offer a lifetime of enjoyment, and Maui is the perfect place to learn! Consider paddling out in the early morning hours to avoid crowds, know your limits and take the proper safety precautions. You’ll be doing your best Johnny Utah impression in no time! For more Maui travel tips, follow VegasDaze on social media!

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