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Maui Surfing, Part 1

Just a few miles south of the main airport in Kahului along the Hana Highway (the infamous "Road to Hana") lies Ho‘okipa Beach which Wikipedia credits as "perhaps the most renowned windsurfing site in the world. A combination of large, well-shaped waves breaking across a system of reefs that extend across the bay and consistently strong winds make it ideal for the sport."

Interestingly, the word "ho‘okipa" is the Hawaiian word for "hospitality" which one might take as the antithesis of this sign that was displayed at the overlook to the bay and beach. However, many folks with Hawaiian blood still seethe about the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 by primarily white businessmen and planters.

And to be frank, can you blame them? Most Americans support self-determination for any group of indigenous people, including the Hawaiians who inhabited these beautiful islands before the Europeans stumbled on them. Fortunately, many people of good will, both those with Hawaiian blood and those without, are working to find solutions to the myriad issues involved. Let's hope they are successful.

Looking down from the overlook, one can see the beach itself with many rock and coral formations along the shoreline and in the water. It is easy to see the difference between the sandy bottom (light green areas) and rock bottom (dark blue areas).

Although Ho‘okipa is known for wind-surfing, board and boogie board surfing are also practiced here.

This day, the waves were only of moderate size. On occasion, the waves may rise to 30 feet but you have to go just a bit further down the road to Peahi, AKA "Jaws" for the really big ridable waves. BTW, visiting Jaws during big surf is still on my bucket list — guess I'll have to keep visiting my beloved Maui until I get to see and photograph it.

Even though on this day, the waves were not spectacular, this surfer was able to get the most out of what was available.

The waves may have been moderate but the wind was blowing hard and steadily which made it ideal for the surfers who brought their wind surfboards. Whenever I visit Ho‘okipa and see the crowd of windsurfers out on the ocean, I think of butterflies. Maybe it's just me.

If you want to catch these guys and gals photographically, be sure to bring your long zoom and/or telephoto lenses. Your iPhone, even an iPhone 7, won't do it (well, maybe if you're in a boat).

Here I was shooting at 300 mm (the limit of my zoom lens) and these guys were really quite a way from shore.

And then every once in a while you catch a shot like this — I love this one — multiple shades of water, colorful sail together with white water from an offshore break. BTW, surfing (in any of its variants) is not on my bucket list. I will just watch and use my camera to capture the accomplished surfers doing their thing. I'm sticking to what I'm already accomplished at.

Ah, the day has ended for this wind surfer. He looks like he hates to leave so he lingers, watching his buddies fly over the waves recalling how he was out there just moments ago.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com