Return to Maui
July 7th -July 22nd, 2000
Yes it was time again to make a pilgrimage to Maui, mecca of windsurfing. It had been too long away from the wind/waves and pineapple. Bilking some frequent flyer miles I managed to scrounge a free ticket to Maui. Remember the phrase "Nothing is free?" I booked this flight 330 days in advance with Delta (The maximum time in the future that they'd let me book) and I still couldn't get the dates I wanted. But having saved about $1K, I wasn't really complaining. Escaping the sweltering heat of Tallahassee, I bid a not-so-fond good-bye to summertime in the deep south and headed for Paradise.
For this trip, I had my trusty shred-buddy Hugh. This was going to be live.
Day 1: Flights from hell...read nothing new.
Getting out of the Kahului airport, it was just about 7:30pm. The last vestiges of sunlight were bending over the tops of the volcano and it was awesome. The sky was filled with cotton candy pink clouds with vibrant blue green backing.....Yeah, now I'm starting to remember why I came. The 20 knot trade wind hitting me isn't hurting either.
Saturday July 8th.
After passing out at the advanced hour of 9pm, I sleep in. Rested I look at the clock: 4:14am...charming.
Hugh hasn't gotten much sleep in the past 4 days or so getting ready for the trip, so I lay in bed forever.....Ok, it's 5:33am now and I'm bored stiff....I'm thinking that Hugh isn't going to get much more sleep, my coffee jones is kicking in and I'm dying to get up and about.
6:30am Hugh decides to go for a run. I join. We start UP THE HILL, damn, this isn't Kansas anymore. The run is spectacular. The sun was rising painting everything pink, orange with the overriding color of green everywhere.
I was wondering if they had problems with Jehovah's witnesses as in this fairly remote area, every house had a "No Trespassing" sign. We ran through a 45 second sun shower which was refreshing, and the 15 knot trade wind kept things cool. Drooling on myself, 40 minutes later we're back. Hugh was a competitive distance runner, and I harbor no false illusions about outrunning him.
7:30am Head to the Cannery for breakfast to find the Cannery is closed, No worries, we head to Charlie's in Paia. Fond memories of the breakfast burrito beckon to me. I was not disappointed as the burrito must have been two pounds. The menu said that this thing had two eggs in it. Hugh joked with the waitress that the chickens must be HUGE...she calmly replied that it was two scoops of eggs....
Wow, good food.
8:30am We roll out of Charlie's and head to Kahului to the Maui Windsurf Co. They guys in the shop were energetic, friendly, helpful and positive.... I was suspecious...they must be pod-people or something. I keep looking for antennae or maybe a third eye.
I haven't sailed in a month, so we figure we'll do bump and jump first day. I rent a JP 260 wave and take a 5.0 and 4.5 North Voodoo sail. I was told the 260 had a "Lively ride when powered". No worries as I've sailed many a high-spirited slalom board.
10:45am We head to Sprecklesville and rig the 5.0's. The water is white-capping nicely and the stoke really kicks in.
11:00am We hit the water. I'm feeling like it's my 1st time on a board. I can't get dialed in, the board is twitchy, slow and spins out when I power up my back foot.
I head back to Maui Windsurf Co. to get a bigger fin. The 8.5 simply will not hold in. I sheet the sail in, the JP's back-end sheets out.....I'm swearing like a fiend at the board as I'm planing sideways down the chop. I get the biggest fin they have for this board.....a whopping 9.25", but it's something.
I go through gyrations of moving the boom, mast-track and sail tuning and manage to get the thing under some control, but it's not feeling comfortable, and I'd give anything to have my Fanatic Gecko.
The wind picks up like crazy, and I rig down to the 4.5.
Hugh is taking a break and offers me his board and rig. His board is a JP 255 and he's looking good on it.
I take the gear out, and it's like I can sail again. The board holds to the water and doesn't spin out if you look at it. It turns, it jumps and it DOESN'T SPIN OUT....wow. Sailing here is great, with the wind filled in, blue sky, beautiful beach it really is making the price of admission worthwhile.
I give the gear back grudgingly and take out the 260 for about 3 more runs. It's taking me about 4x the effort to sail back and forth and I'm spending much time swimming around this cursed board.
I figure that discretion is the better part of valor and decide to call the day at about 4pm. Hugh sails until about 5pm.
I head back to the shop and swap the 260 for a 255. Ran my experience with the 260(bad) by the guys at the shop, and their opinions were similar to mine. I was told that the conditions for that board are 17 knots and 5 foot surf. Something about a square-holed board and round-holed sailing came to mind...
Head to Sam Choy's for dinner. Expensive at $23 a plate for food, but it was some of the best food that I've eaten. Full with light wallets we head home..... 500 situps and a Heineken later, we turn in at 10pm.
Sunday July 9th,
Raining when we wake, I'm feeling the sailing and running, but some great nuclear strength coffee revives me. Head to Spreck's again after breakfast in-house. Rig a 5.0 and wait till 12:30am. Wind fills in and me JP 255 is feeling leagues better than the 260. Wind builds throughout the day, and by the end, I'm on a 4.5 and Hugh is on a 4.1. I am not liking the North volcano sails that I'm on. They have no range and feel soft. Have a pretty good day and Hugh is sailing quite well. Grab dinner at Local-boys restaurant and get great cheap eats. 1000 crunches round out the day's fun. Pass out at about 11pm.
Monday July 10th.
Start the day at 6:30am with a 20 minute run and 100 pushups. Breakfast at Charleys. Headed to the surf-shop and get JP Freeride 90l board for a bit more floatation. While turning in my JP 255 I realized that I've dinged the nose of the board. Strange, I've had no-nose boards for years and have never dinged one. Ok that's $55 for the repair, no worries.
Head to Hookipa and rig the North Style 5.4. Wind is starting to fill in, and I'm just about to join the 5 people on the water when a rain squall stops the show. 3 of the 5 sailors on the water had to swim in as the wind dropped to 3 knots. One of the windsurfers resorted to paddling into Mama's Fish House. We stopped to see if he needed a ride back up the beach, but he had one coming.
Figure we can take a tour of the South Shore with our rained out day. My biceps are. killing me from the previous two days of sailing, so I'm actually looking forward to a non-sailing day.
Get to Kihei and it's cranking. I rig a 5.4 and Hugh rigs a 5.0 and we get 3 GREAT hours of bump & jump sailing.... The Style sail feels much more crisp than the volcano, and after I moved the footstraps back on the freeride things are feeling right and clicking like mad....that is till I burn in on a jump, check the nose now that I'm paranoid and find out that I've dinged ANOTHER $!$W#@! JP board. This is getting old. I haven't had anything that remotely qualified as a SERIOUS wipeout and I've cashed out 2 noses....that sucks.
I figure I'll repair the dings myself and keep sailing this board till it's time to turn it in. I don't mind (ok I do) another $55, but if these things ding at the drop of a hat, I'd just as soon only pay the repairs once. Looking at the nose of the board in the morning, I reconsider doing the repair myself. I could do it, but it would take a weeks worth of sanding, and I'll just pay for it. $65 this time, and in retrospect $65 for repairing that nose was a steal.
The wind seems light as I wake, but we'll see how the day goes. Breakfast is at Charles in Paia, and Josh Stone and Dave Kalama are there enjoying the food. Pretty cool to see windsurfing icons everywhere.
Turns out there is no wind (Thank god). I've done more sailing in the past 3 days than I have in the past 2 months, and I'm feeling it. Hugh, obviously on crack, takes out at 5.5 on my JP 90 liter board in about 15 knots. He plays Captain Nemo for a bit, but actually manages to get planing every now and then. On a biffed tack, the powerless sail came down on the nose and gave the JP a minor crack. This things supposed to be a wave board for crying out loud. Crack is small enough to repair ourselves, so a tube of "Ding Stick" to the rescue.
I take the opportunity to relax and wait for the trade winds to build back to full strength. Dinner at Paia Fish House. Pretty good and not terribly expensive. Do 1000 crunches and pass out.
Get home and do some consulting work.
They're back..... I'm awakened by my open window getting slammed back and forth by the gusts. I do a brief 20 minute run and we're off to the shop. I trade in my 5.4 for a 5.0 and grab a cheap breakfast at Jack'n the box (Hold the saminila please.)
Kanaha is the call as I have a loop lesson through Action Sports at 2:30 pm. I rig a 5.0 on the 90 liter JP and shred the morning. 1:45pm, my harness line snaps and I make an energy sapping run to the shore. Hopping in the Plymouth Caravan Turbo (No I'm not joking), I head to Maui Windsurf Co. In short order I'm back at the beach and meet my instructor Dave. He seems like a good guy, and we go over some loop theory. Pretty good stuff, then we go for 'sail spin' exercises. The wet version of what you do with the sail during the loop. Good instruction, but I think I should have spent more time here. After a whopping 2 sail spins, Dave declares "It's time".
Heading to the break I'm feeling reasonable about the process, but wonder if I should have spent more time on drills. No time for recriminations as I'm going airborne. I do just about everything wrong and burn in. I have a wetsuit and the fall isn't bad.
The next two hours were me getting the sail mechanics right, but not getting a decent jump, or getting a good jump and forgetting everything I was taught. Methinks more practice is in order, but Dave assures me that I have all the pieces down...we'll see as I only have 10 days left to put myself back in traction.
Small note: Dave lends me a helmet. This turns out to be a "Good Thing". Not so much from head trauma as it really protected my ears on the burn-in's.
I'm amazed that by the end of the day neither Hugh or myself have cashed out the nose of a JP.
Dinner is at Milagros in Paia, and the mexican pasta was big , tasty and about $20
Wake and the trades don't seem to be blowing as hard as the previous day. Breakfast at Burger King and a quick trip to the shop to get a 5.4 sail and we're off. Head to Kanaha and rig the 5.4. I rig up next to Alex Aguera one of the legends of the sport and a current shaper for Seatrend. I chat with him about the new AVS boards that he's taking out for a photo shoot. Seems like a nice guy.
Pretty cool as he hits the beach being chased by a helicopter with photographer in tow.
At about 1:30pm the wind seems strong enough for my JP 90 liter board and NeilPryde 5.4 NR sail. Head out and the wind fills in. After playing slalom tag with Hugh for a few hours, we head to uppers in Kanaha. The small but well formed waves are the perfect ramps and jumps keep getting higher. I managed to pull off my first good tabletop jump there and was pretty stoked. Heading back toward land at the end of the day was great. The volcano and upcountry were lit up by late-day sunlight, and a large rainbow was camped somewhere around Haiku. Great sailing and spectacular views.
Ran into a Shell Pointer Mike Boll who was getting completely stoked with the sailing. Mike is getting more dialed in and his enthusiasm is contagious.
Dinner is at Charlie's in Paia, and the calzone was huge, cheap and great.
Body is showing serious wear. Had to stop sailing to take some ibuprofen as my left arm was just about falling off. Hugh is showing wear as well, and the ibuprofen and Twinlab Joint Fuel are never far away.
Tomorrow if the wind is good, Hookipa.
Hookipa. I've seen the videos, and I've seen the rocks, so I've got a pretty good pucker factor rigging despite the not-overwhelming look of the ocean. Rig my 5.0 and wait till about 1pm for the wind to fill in. It seems to be gusty. Pick up gear and wait for a puff. Get a small puff and I pump like mad to get past the shorebreak. About 20 yards out I hook in just as a 30+knot gust pitches me like a tank top wearing fool at a black tie dinner. Not a particularly auspicious start. Get up and the wind levels out. Get dialed in and head into the break. 1st bottom turn was pretty weak, but the wave is building again, so I try again. Stick the off the lip and as I redirect down the face fully powered I look up in time to see rocks about 25 feet away and approaching FAST.
My plan? First I plan to soil myself...ok, now I execute the tightest snap gybe of my life and head back out to safety. The wind is fluky on the inside so Hugh and I head downwind about 1/2 mile to Hookipa Lanes.
Hugh and I are the only guys at lanes and we get the break to ourselves. The rain comes and I remember the last time this happened. During a squall I point up wind like a fiend and race back to Hookipa. The wind has increased seriously and I've got my 5.0 working against me in the now 30 knot winds.
Back upwind, the wind dies to about 3 knots on my last reach......WHOA, ok, now it's blowing high 30's and I'm trying to sheets out and stop tail-walking.....ok it's back to 24ish.
Hit the beach and figure I'll grab some much needed ibuprofen, but alas, Hugh has the key. I climb up on Hookipa's rocks and look towards lanes, there he is.
Ok I'll take a break. Hugh is having a time working upwind as the wind is really on and off. 45 minutes later I head out to see what's up (and get the key). Wind is extremely fluky and seems to be going 0-40 at random intervals and duration. Hook up with Hugh about a mile offshore and we head into the beach.
Figuring the wind would be smoother downwind a bit, we pack up and head to Kanaha.
Wind is not as fluky, but seems to be building and waning 7-10 knots each way from about 24. Head to uppers at Kanaha and have a blast. On the downwind white knuckle run I snap ANOTHER $!#@! harness line. I'm not liking multiple runs holding on with my deteriorating arms.
Get into the beach breathing fire. Head to MWC and swap out boom. I feel bad for the nice shop guy as I was raging when I got there. A new set of lines back in place and a few more aspirin to stop the throbbing and I get back to Kanaha in time to derig, the wind had died.
Dinner at Jaques. I was told the waitresses are the bomb at Jaques, and apparently it's the place to hang in Paia. The waitresses were pretty nice looking, but I must be spoiled by the Leach Center at FSU and none seem to be drool-worthy. Dinner was excellent.
Rig 5.0 at Kanaha, as the wind and waves at uppers seemed better than Hookipa, and when you take away the rocks and current it was a clear winner. Beat upwind to uppers and spend the day getting ROCKET AIR. Pretty cool feature of Maui is looking down on the other sailors when you jump. You can get a good feel for your height using them as a reference. The wind picks up and I re-downhaul the 5.0 and at 4pm Hugh convinces me to: "Keep sailing this, it's almost the end of the day".
Ok, more rocket air and now I'm trying not to tail walk as I've got too much board, fin and sail.
4:45 I decide to try to head back. Heading downwind sounds easier in the brochure. The wind has picked up to about 35 knots and I'm stuck in a catch 22. If I pull the mast track back, the nose of my board wont stick into the water, but it's tail walking all over the place. When I more the track forward, the board smoothes out, but the nose starts sticking.
Can I once again state that wave sails do NOT sail nearly as well overpowered as slalom sails. MY KINGDOM FOR A SINGLE CAMBER INDUCER!
I manage after about 6 runs to work downwind a touch, then see the monster building on the outside. It's a vertical face about 10-12 feet high. It's not pitching but it's setting up. I muster strength and stick the picture perfect carve onto the face. Sailing clew-first on the face I'm smiling as I prepare to gybe the sail. Yeah baby goes to OH SHIT as I my harness hooks in at the instant I release my back hand.
The clew flipped and I was pulled into a perfect pivot and somehow ended up on the board, hooked in, sailing backwinding on this monster. My surprise and cool-guy ride came to a quick end, and I'm not sure what happened, but I ended up swimming.
2 more out of control runs and I stagger into the beach. Put a fork in me, I'm done. Hugh is walking up, dry, and wearing jeans. I'm guessing he's been in for a while.I looked out and it looked to be solid 4.0 with much higher gusts.
"Damn, I'm shot, how'd you get down so fast"
"Oh, man I made it in 1 long broad reach after I saw you."
"WOW, I couldn't point downwind to save my life"
"Well, I had half the sail I started out with..."
"Yeah, blew out 3 panels of my sail, and I was STILL OVERPOWERED heading in"
Swilling water and popping pills we decide to head to Hapas for the comedy show.
Bob Zaney was good and we had a nice time, but decided to book after the techno kicked up and the clock struck 10. The 45 minute drive was a pretty good deterrent to late night revelry.
I wake at 3am with a tendon in my arm throbbing so much I can't sleep. Take a few pills and pass out.
Go running for 20 minutes, then a brief stop in Simmer Sails to get an estimate on Hugh's sail repair. Verdict is not encouraging. Head to MWC and get a rough estimate of $125 to fix the sail.
It's already cranking and I take an F2 255 Air to Kanaha and rig a 5.0. I'm way overpowered and overboarded, so I move down to a 4.5. Still overboarded. The Air 255 is too bouncy to do B&J in these conditions. I head to MWC and trade in my 5.0 for a 4.0 and the Air for a JP255 wave. By the time I get back and rigged, the 4.0 is perfect in the gusts, but not quite enough in the lulls. I think my physical deterioration is starting to add up, and I decide to take it easy. Only got in about 3 hours of sailing, but it was enough and my body is thanking me for the rest.
Monday: Sailed 5.0's at Kanaha uppers. Bad start, got sucked over the falls of a 5 foot face and spent some time getting pummeled under the sail. Monster air. Great day. Heading back into shore late in the day, the sunlight volcano was adorned with rainbows. Got off the water at 6:15pm, making it a 5.5 hour sailing day.
Wild night as I passed out at about 9pm.
Try to go running in the am, legs are completely shot, well for that matter so are my hands and the tendon in my left arm is about to explode.... Only manage a 15 minute half-hearted run.
Took pills and about 6 cups of coffee and headed to the beach.
Solid 5.0 all day. Biggest jump of my life as max speed + 5 foot ramp + midair gust left the other sailors looking small around me. Managed to land nose first on a plane seriously downwind of my lift-off point. Yeah baby it was live.
Rigged down to a 4.5 at the end of the day, but the wind dropped. Got in 4.5 solid hours of sailing.
I wonder if Alleve + Lodine + joint fuel + ibuprofen at the same time MIGHT not be healthy....well, I just need to keep it together for another few days.
Wed Thurs. Friday
All replays if the previous days. Kanaha uppers in the afternoon, with a monster wind peak in the 3-4:30pm range. I was saving some sketchy sailing moves for the last few days, but by this time there wasn't much muscle to back up the plan. Running in the morning is supplemented with biking, which isn't much relief. My legs are shot, well for that matter so is everything else. Close out the last few days with small surf, big air and a 5.0 sail to keep me company.
You know you've been jumping alot when: I bruised the bottom of my left foot from landing on the board so many times. (Would like to see fatigue test of some of the JP boards that I handed back) Surprisingly the HUGE very-powered jumps I got didn't seem to stress me or the board on landings. Hardest landings were when the wind would lull while I was in mid-air. Even from medium jumps of 8-10 feet, with no air in the sail, I would just slam back down into the water.
Hugh has a kitesurfing lesson, so I drop my bags at the airport and head to watch his lesson for a few hours. Hoofed it to the airport from Kite Beach, got on the plane and a mere 16 hours of airports and airplanes later I was back home.
I will return, oh yes I will return.