Posted on December 15th, 2009 No comments
I’d like to share my latest experience stand up paddle boarding. My friends and I went to Boss Frog’s Dive & Surf and rented 3 SUP boards. They’re really big boards that are perfect for any level paddle boarder. We took them down right in front of the shop and put them in the water and began an incredible trip along the South Maui coast.
Just a little back story: I’ve been stand up paddling for over a month now. Sometimes we’ll surf the small ripples in South or West Maui or just cruise for distance. My first time out, I fell a lot. But it only took an hour or so to really get the hang of it. My wife picked it up instantly and I don’t think she’s fallen once.
As I was saying, we began our paddle around 8am, when the shop opened. The water was glassy and the air warm without a breeze. We took our time traveling south. As we moved along, we cruised over calm tropical reef that was active with fish and coral. It was really beautiful. (QUICK TIP: Wearing Polarized glasses is hugely helpful when stand up paddle boarding on calm days. You can see straight to the bottom which makes it SOO much better. BUT, if you do this, make sure that you get some kind of strap for them in case you fall. I think they sell them inexpensively at Boss Frog’s. See more Tips Below.)
We then continued on to see some large sea turtles swimming below and around us. A couple of them popped up to say hello. Turtles and Maui go well together. It seems that every time I’m in the water, I see at least a few of them. By the end of the 2 hour trip, we’d counted 16 of them (big and small.)
And here’s when things got really interesting. We noticed a HUGE Manta Ray cruising about 3 feet below us. He must have had a wing span of 8-10 feet! We followed him for a while and could see him feeding on plankton. His huge mouth was scooping up the tiny meals while doing loopty-loops through the water. It was beautiful and mesmerizing. We couldn’t believe that he was so close and wasn’t afraid of our boards.
Then, another showed up, and another. Then another. They we’re everywhere! We counted seeing 8 of them by the end of the trip. Some were deep below on the sandy floor bottom. Others skimmed the surface with their large oval mouths wide open. The ones on the surface were fun to watch because the tips of their wings would break the surface with each flap. When we went back, we spoke to our Boss Frog’s rep (Benjammin at the Dolphin Plaza Shop) and told him about all the Mantas. Benjammin then mentioned that during full moons, Manta Rays are more likely to be seen. He explained that the plankton are attracted to light, so during the full moon, they come out more abundantly, and in turn, Manta Rays enjoy the feast.
This last ocean experience was unforgettable. So much ocean life, glassy water, great exercise, beautiful views, warm water, and sunny skies made this trip exceptional. Another thing I love about Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Maui is spending time with friends. It’s a great sport to catch up with friends because you can talk along the way without getting overly winded.
- Use a lot of waterproof sunscreen and wear some kind of hat (attached preferably.)
- Drink a lot of water before going.
- Wear a floatation device if you’re not a strong swimmer.
- Stay close to shore. Don’t go too far out where a current could pull you.
- Stay clear of shallow reef. It’s often shallower than it looks. Reef cuts are not fun.
- Enter and exit the ocean in calm areas. It doesn’t take a very big wave to swing that big board around and take you out at the shins.
- Be careful not to run over snorkelers. They aren’t looking up and could run into you!
- Bring polarized sunglasses with a string that keeps it secure on your head.
- Always begin your trip up-wind or up-current. That way you can come back more easily.
- Ride with a friend for safety.
- Never go in any areas that look dangerous. All it takes is a quick small wave to push you against a rock formation or something else undesirable.
This video was made the next day. There was a little more chop on the water, but we still had a great time.