Sunday, September 05, 2004

Maui Session 4.171: Lahaina Breakwater

I have read in some of the guide books about Lahaina Breakwater about the place being so crowded and intense plus there is no parking.

As I drove up the highway from Kihei, and as I got closer to Lahaina usually breaks tends to happen. This being Sunday, I finally started to see people out. One thing I have noticed is that just about everyone is leaving a bottle of water either on top of the car or on the ground, making it warm when they finish their sessions.

I almost stopped at usual beaches before Lahaina, because I have been hesitant to get there. But I thought, heck, there is not much to lose by taking a look. I can always turn around. I should just drive by and take a look at it. So I took a bit of risk and kept going. When I got there I found the Public Beach Access parking right away, and everyone is respecting this spot so there were a plenty of space to park ? sigh of a relief number 1.

The parking lot is a bit further back from the shore so I had to walk to the beach in an anticipation of what it would be like. As I approached the area, there were already two surf lesson groups at the beach practicing flick ups. That is another sigh of relief that there are some gentle spots too, and there were at least shoulder level breaks happening on the outside and there were only a handful of surfers out. I sat and looked at the breaks, and I gave it a go.

Once I got out, it was really interesting scenery, a bit familiar. The jetty constructed with black rocks on further left, bunch of boats parked. But in addition to that I can see the Lahaina water front on further left where it was breaking a bit more consistently (I did not go there though.) Underneath me is very clear water. I can see white and purple coral. As I paddled out there were some high spots where the coral covered rock is almost up to the surface level. I just got to be careful not to catch the fin on it.

Surfing here was the best in Maui yet that I have experienced. As I got more confidence at the location by looking at other locals surf, I moved further and further north to the breakwater area where the waves were breaking a bit harder. Some of the good waves I have ridden in 3 sections. The outside initial break and the middle reforms that comes from the right then the inside section past the breakwater that is actually the continuation of the first one.

You would take off and do a real quick right. A mistake in here can cost as if you just went straight it is not too far from the jetty. As I continue to the right, the first break fizzles out and but another break is forming from the right. This requires a quick cutback to the left. But if you kept going you are going to hit the corner of the jetty, and in front of me, I would start running into people in lessons, so I would cut back to quick right close to the jetty and that will take you all the way to the beach. When you negotiate all the turns to come from all the way from the outside to the beach, it is really exciting, and also I am starting to be able to nail the tail pivot turns on a long board. That?s one thing I have seen a lot of good locals do staying on hook by cutting back frequently rather than just gliding across the wave.

It is an equivalent of starting at the inside the indicator and go all the way to the hotel beach in Cowells. It is about half the length of that ride here in Lahaina.

I had a couple of pearls (if you did not you can buy them at Lahaina shopping center, $12 each per clam) and I was really afraid that the front of the board would get caught in the coral reef, but that actually did not happen. But hanging on to the board at all times has a new meaning. It is actually more important at the end of the ride as if you touch the ground you could either land right on top of razor sharp coral or scrape you leg with one.

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