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The Ancient Art of Surfing - Part 2

If you feel intimidated by the prospect of surfing, start with bodysurfing or boogie boarding in the shorebreak. It can be just as fun and will give you a taste wave-riding close to shore, where you can easily stand up without scuffing your toes on the reef. Boogie boards or “sponges” are short, soft rectangles used to navigate the rough and tumble waves at the shore. Boards with slick undersides work better than those with bumpy, spongy undersides. Wearing a single, short-clipped fin will increase your chances of getting “barreled” –catching a ride through the tube.

Maui Family Vacations

Rent boards by the day or week from Hi Tech Surf & Sports (425 Koloa St., Kahului (808) 877-2111 www.htmaui.com).

Pick Your Break

Great surf is breaking somewhere on the island just about every day—where depends on the season. Wide southern swells roll onto leeward-facing shores all summer long. During the winter months, powerful swells pound the north shore, sometimes towering upwards of 40 feet. When a big swell hits, the excitement is almost palpable in the salty air, as surfers hoot to one another and wax up their boards. Check the daily surf report.

West Side:
Some of Maui’s best surf breaks along the Honoapiilani Highway heading towards Lahaina. Ukumehame, near mile marker 12, offers up a break called “Thousand Peaks.” Wave after wide, consistent wave tumble to shore here. Further down, at mile marker 18, Launiupoko State Wayside has an easy entry that’s good for beginners. Even easier is “Breakwall” in Lahaina town. Reliable 1-2 foot swells are accessed from the beach behind the shops at 505 Front Street. Experienced surfers can hit Honolua on the upper West Side. This barreling break is known around the world, and is the site of numerous winter championships.

South Side:
Along South Kihei Road, Cove Park dishes out a steady 1-3 foot break, livened up every so often with larger rogue swells. Bodysurfers and boogie boarders should head down the road to Kamaole III. Thanks to a sandy floor and 1-2 foot waves, it’s a good spot to play in the shorebreak. The adventurous can climb the rock wall at north end of Makena State Beach Park. The sandy floor at Little Beach extends far offshore, making it especially fun for bodysurfing. (Pun intended—Little Beach is also popular with nude sunbathers.) During big southern swells, skilled surfers drop in on 10-20 foot waves at “Dumps,” a powerful break found within the Ahihi-Kinau Marine Preserve, beyond the end of Makena Alanui Road.

North Shore:
As you enter Paia town, Paia Bay has several breaks for both spongers and surfers—in addition to a skate park and basketball court. Advanced wave riders will want to head straight at Hookipa Beach Park, 2 miles past Paia on Hana Highway. This legendary beach is home to more than five separate breaks, beloved by surfers and windsurfers alike. You can watch the action from the cliffside overlook.

Shannon Wianecki investigates the often-contentious territory dividing her two passions: sustainability and luxury travel. Her articles on food, travel, social dilemmas, and the environment have been published in magazines throughout the US and Australia. As Food Editor for Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, she takes the pulse of the Pacific dining scene in "Gossip Gourmet." She's the author of several travel books, most recently Fodors Maui 2007. Read her work at www.shannonwianecki.com.

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