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Joined: 02 July 2004
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Posted: 22 October 2008 at 1:01pm | IP Logged Quote Skydivechris

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Aloha NWC dudes!

Since I haven’t posted anything on any forum before, I thought I would make up for it with this whopper! My name is Chris and I live in Tynemouth. I have been windsurfing for 3 years but have not been out so much in Northumberland – something I intend to reverse this winter. Before I started windsurfing I was a professional skydiver! This sounds like confessions of a misspent youth!! Anyway I have just come back from an awesome trip to Maui – and I thought I would let the group know what I discovered.


 For those of you who have considered making the trip, I thought I would give an insight as to what goes on in the “windsurfing Mecca of the world”.


I was extremely privileged to be invited to be a board tester for Windsurf Magazine – Americas largest windsurfing mag. This year we were testing 2009 short boards (around 85lts).  There were 12 testers in all – 11 Americans and me. Quite how a pretty averagely skilled tynemouthairian such as myself was included in such an event is pretty difficult to explain. I can say though that I am very very lucky.  This is the second year I have been to Maui and I can assure you I will be booking my flights for next year’s test very soon.


Maui is a long way away – 11hrs London to LA, 6hrs LA to Maui you have to really want to go!! You can actually get there fairly cheaply considering the distance. The cheapest way is to fly to Portland and on to Maui. Deals to Portland can be as low as £400 and flights to Maui are sometimes as low as £150. Not bad for the other side of the world.


You fly in over the North Shore pretty much over Hookipa – that pretty much sets the tone. Landing in Kahului airport, it is actually 5 minutes walk from one of the best windsurfing beaches in Maui. You actually have to drive through the airport on your daily run to the beach. This has huge advantages for those of you wanting to max out on the water as you can still be windsurfing minutes after / before your flight. I can tell you my hair and shorts were still wet as I boarded the plane!


There are lots of spots to suit all abilities. The test was based out of Kanaha pronounced khan –AH –ha, just in case you don’t want to make an arse of yourself!  This gives you access to 3 distinct areas. Firstly you have about 500 meters of bump and jump conditions inside the reef – perfect to get your courage up, then two reef breaks - Uppers and Lowers. Uppers will give good clean wave conditions with just wind swell whereas Lowers only breaks when the big swell comes in. There is a distinct channel between uppers and lowers which allows you to get past the surf without any waves breaking onto you! Wind swell in uppers can get to say logo high, however when the ground swell comes in then it will be mast high and upwards, and upwards etc!! Time between sets is say 12 – 15 seconds which give you just enough time to get the hell out of there if it all goes wrong. Lowers only starts working when big groundswell come in and I can tell you it is an amazing sight when sets start appearing in the horizon!!


I was lucky in that out of the 14 days sailing, 12 had trade winds between 20 - 30mph that is not untypical. Sail size range were between 4.5m and 5.3m. 2 days were low winds but huge swell and so I did one day SUP (with paddle) and one day SUP (with sail). Awesome fun for those of you who haven’t tried it. Water temperature was a bath like 27 degrees and air temps around 25 degrees in the wind! It was paradise!


There was good wind swell (logo high) for 8 days but slightly choppy. Pure ground swell ,mast high and above for 6 days which was glassy and totally incredibly.

My friend Dave who is a pro sailor and was on the board test too blogged this before we went and I think it describes the anticipation before the trip.

Heck, I can go lots of places for wind, but there's nothing sweeter than a big swell on the northshore. The whole place comes alive and the sound of the waves rumbling you awake in the early AM ... sorry, its a little slice of heaven.

Then there's the joy of picking up a ground swell on the outside, positioning yourself just right as it jacks up on the reef and dropping in, all wound up wishing I picked the next smaller sail in my quiver than the one I'm on right now. (this is where my lifetime of picking to be powered up always comes back to haunt me) But I didn't and now I'm WAY committed. Bottom turn and I glance up to see where the wave will go critical and crap! Its way bigger than I thought and its gonna close out on me.... BIG TIME. Before I even contemplate the downside of my decision, I'm charging the lip headed for that sliver of light before the door slams shut in my face...

Ah, I can't wait. Just thinking about it makes my spine tingle. ;-)

...if you want to read his blog – which is great for any day in the office then it is http://epicsesh.blogspot.com


Hiring equipment is easy – Neil Pryde Maui has a massive shop just off the beach and has a mass of the newest equipment and clothes. You get two sails which are interchangeable anytime as are the boards.

Hiring a car is essential – there is not much in the way of public transport and unless you are in the Mega rich category it’s unlikely you will be sunning your wares in a beach house on the north shore. There are some really reasonable holiday homes close by though which I can pass detail on if you ever decide to go.

I didn’t get to sail Hookipa in the end – the testing was hardcore,  13 boards which had to be sailed a minimum of 6 times each! Also, as these boards were first off the production line, the manufacturers weren’t all that keen to see us trash them on the rocks – shame. Still we managed to destroy a few bits of kit anyway! My liver got a good working over too as the manufacturers were keen to see us have a good time and write nice things about them  J!! If only I could remember which party was the best!!


The testing was really incredible. I always believed it was hype about the newest boards and latest equipment being better. It was clear that major investment in R&D from all of the manufacturers had taken place and there were genuine improvements in all of the boards from last year. What also was clear is that there will definitely be two or three boards that are suited to you, your weight and sailing style. I couldn’t recommend enough trying a few boards at road shows if you get a chance. You may find that the board you least expected is the one you fall in love with. I am afraid I can’t go into the detail of my test but when the magazine comes out I will post the article here for you to read.

Ok I said it was going to be a whopper – thanks for reading and I hope to see you all on the water very soon.



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Brian Day

Joined: 20 December 2003
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Posted: 22 October 2008 at 5:33pm | IP Logged Quote Brian Day

Hmmmm, memories, I've been a few years ago, Awsome place, great people, lots of stars to watch and talk to, and the family enjoyed it too!

Surf crazed and dazed!
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Joined: 23 September 2008
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Posted: 22 October 2008 at 7:19pm | IP Logged Quote Anna


Hey Chris,

That all sounds wicked.  Dunno if you have read the forum line I started asking for advice on where try to apply to for a job next summer?  Anyway, you don't happen to have anywhere you would suggest to try out in Maui do you?  It doesn't have to be somewhere I could teach, I would quite happily do almost any kind of work out there!!  Also, do you have any contacts out in Maui or through Windsurf that may be worth me contacting? 

I am also very interested in the design of kit but it seems an incredibly hard area to get any kind of work experience in, so again, you don't have any contacts that may be able to help me out with that do you? 

Anyway, I will look out for you in Windsurf and hope to meet you at some point,

Cheers, anna

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Full Time Beach Bum

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Posted: 22 October 2008 at 8:00pm | IP Logged Quote stevecarragher

Nice one Chris. How did you swing that one then? Have you been sailing up here for the last 3 years? Where abouts?
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Posted: 23 October 2008 at 10:13am | IP Logged Quote Skydivechris

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Hey guys cheers for the posts – glad It has generated a bit of interest,

Anna I have a few suggestions but I think you need to clarify a few things. Firstly working in windsurfing only rewards the soul rather than the pocket so you will need to think carefully about how you finance any trip. Demand for any beach job is high so you have to accept that wages are minimal. Even in Europe you will only just get enough to buy your beers in the evening. Perfect hey!!

If that’s ok then you need to consider a few things. Firstly if you want to work for the likes of Neilson, sunsail etc then you need to get yourself RYA certified. I have a good friend that is the manager of the Neilson centre in Dahab. I can forward your details but cant promise anything as they have quite an established crew there. That being said some people can only do half a season so you never know.

If you want to work anywhere in America you will need a work visa or student temporary visa that allows you to work. Jobs in Maui are rare as it is a mecca for all things surf based. Whilst I know a number of people on the island I would be lying to suggest I could get you a job. That being said if you are keen in design you could go no better place. Having just been around Keith Tebouls new workshop I can say that the world’s best shapers are definitely on Maui. If you could afford to go and just hang out and windsurf then I can introduce you to people who could help. You never know what may happen.

I am intending to get out on the water possibly this afternoon but definitely over the weekend so I will try to have a chat with you. That being said I have trashed my smaller kit and have only got a 5.3 which should prove interesting!!



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GBR 974

Joined: 30 March 2008
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Posted: 23 October 2008 at 11:10am | IP Logged Quote GBR 974

smaller !! 5.3 is tiny

[=never fear Danny is here=]www.boardwise.co.uk
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