I am writing a day late because I literally had no time to write yesterday. It was such a fun, sun-filled day, that I literally came home and collapsed into bed. I want to start with Thursday though, because this is a fun little story.

I responded to an email from the cycling listserv on Tuesday or Wednesday of this last week. The person I responded to had questions about the upcoming stage race, as well as a link to his nearly approved bed and breakfast, Sugar Ranch Maui. He invited me to his dinner party that Thursday, so I decided to go for it. I think I was the only person there that hadn’t windsurfed or kite-surfed, but it was a great time! I love how everyone was active and into so many different sports. They talked more about their activities than what they “do” to support their activities. A person’s career is not nearly as important here on the islands as what you partake in, either through sports, volunteer, arts, community, etc.

Met some great people, most of whom were friends of Suzie Cooney, whom I did the SUP (Stand Up Paddle) clinic with back in November. One of them was Matt of Olukai, who told me all about the Olukai Maliko downwind run in May. They had a practice paddle yesterday (April 30, 2011) from Paia Town to Kanaha Beach. I hadn’t done a downwinder before, so I was a bit nervous, but I rented two boards and Keely and I braved the surf.  Even though it was free, we had coffee and granola bars at the start,  experienced paddlers to escort and guide us, and two people on jetskis to make sure everyone was safe. At the start, we both had a hard time just getting through the initial break. Thank goodness I have a good sense of humor, or I might have cried and given up right there. We both finished fine and had lots of fun. Keely was the youngest paddler of the group! Everyone (myself included) was really proud of her perseverance. I think she did all of it on her knees, but she did it darnnit!

Matthew of Olukai setting up for the fun paddle

Coffee and goodies for attendees

The early risers and go-getters of the crowd

                  Matt invited Keely and I to his house that evening for a BBQ up in Haiku, where many of the volunteers for the event would be. How could I say no? First though, Keely and I took advantage of the boards we had rented at $35 each, and we went back to the south side (Kihei) to do some more paddling. We set out from the Cove near Kalama Park, and I told Keely that we needed to head upwind first so that we could just coast downwind to get in. Well, that didn’t happen so much. It was windy and choppy yesterday, and it was a struggle for both of us. I think we were out there for a good 1.5 hours. Upwind paddling is rough, especially when the wind is coming in at an angle. I also have NO technique, so I expend twice the energy someone experienced does. By the time we got to shore, and I had hauled both boards to the car, my arms were shot. Hoisting those up onto the car in the wind isn’t as easy as some make it look!

When we got home, I decided to wash my car. I figured I was already covered in sand, along with clumps of sand in my salty, sticky hair from carrying the boards on my head. So, we washed my car in our bikinis, cuz that’s how you do it on the islands! Of course, it meant I didn’t eat nor drink water, so by the end I was completely spent.

We cleaned ourselves up and headed straight to Haiku for the dinner party. It was a great time, and everyone was so welcoming! I had many great conversations throughout the night. At one point, I told Suzie that it was amazing how I suddenly found myself immersed in this new group of like-minded people, but she didn’t seem as surprised. I guess kindred spirits find each other and join forces, so to speak. Perhaps I wasn’t ready before, but now I am. The drive back was rough, and I fought off falling asleep at the wheel. Keely and I both walked straight to our rooms and CRASHED. I woke up to birds singing, a crystal clear blue sky, and only the faintest breeze. I love mornings in Maui.

Today, we are taking it easy, as our whole body aches. Keely doesn’t like it, but I do. I used every muscle from my head to my toes, and even my stomach is sore. There is certainly more SUP’ing my future!!

Kiddos playing

View of backyard campsite through screen. Can you say AWESOME?

Fun screened in room

LOVE the dog house!!

Lots of BBQ'ing going on!


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