Stand-Up Paddling in Maui

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Stand-Up Paddling

Also called stand-up paddle surfing or paddleboarding, stand-up paddling is the "comeback kid" of surf sports; you stand on a longboard and paddle out with a canoe oar. While stand-up paddling requires even more balance and coordination than regular surfing, it is still accessible to just about every skill level. Most surf schools now offer stand-up paddle lessons. Advanced paddlers can amp up the adrenalin with a downwind coastal run that spans almost 10 miles from North Shore’s Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor, sometimes reaching speeds up to 30 mph.

The fun thing about stand-up paddling is that you can enjoy it whether the surf is good or the water is flat. However, as with all water sports, it's important to read the environment and be attentive. Look at the sky and assess the wind by how fast the clouds are moving. Note where the whitecaps are going and always point the nose of your board perpendicular to the wave. Because of the size and speed of a longboard, stand-up paddling can be dangerous, so lessons are highly recommended, especially if you intend to surf.

Lessons

Maui Surfer Girls. Owner and bona fide waterwoman Dustin Tester is known as Mama D to the girls she mentors. The company started with surf camps, and now also offers co-ed stand-up paddle lessons. Locations vary, depending on wind conditions, but you'll most likely go to beginner-friendly Ukumehame Beach or Thousand Peaks. The lesson includes some history of the ancient sport, gear, and refreshments after the paddle. Lessons begin at $100, with an extra $20 charge for instruction by Dustin, who is accompanied by her dog, Luna. 808/214–0606. www.mauisurfergirls.com.

Stand-Up Paddle Surf School. Maui's first school devoted solely to stand-up paddleboarding was founded by the legendary Maria Souza, the first woman to surf the treacherous waves of "Jaws" on Maui's North Shore. While most surf schools offer stand-up paddling, Maria's classes are in a league of their own. They include a proper warm-up with a hula-hoop and balance ball and a cool-down with some yoga. The cost is $165 for a private session. Locations vary depending on conditions. Lahaina, HI, 96761. 808/579–9231. www.standuppaddlesurfschool.com.

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