Maui’s Wailea Beach Villas, has recently partnered with Aloha Surf School offering guests the quintessential Hawaiian surfing vacation, with group and private lessons ranging from SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) to boogie boarding, and snorkeling. Ikaika Kawai, a world pro surfer, and one of the school’s head surf instructors, dishes how he got into surfing and paddling, the best surfing, SUP, and boogie boarding spots on South Maui, and a good starter board. (He recommends a longboard somewhere around 7-8 feet in length, at least 22 inches wide and around 3 inches thick.)
“Hawaii is the capital of modern day surfing and Hawaiians were the first people to invent surfing as we know it today,” he explains. “Hawaiians originally named surfing ‘as he’e nalu’ which means to ride a surfboard; surfing; surf rider.”
How did you get started?
The first time I surfed was 6 months old when my dad took me out on his longboard and caught a wave while holding me on the front of the surf board. I loved everything about surfing, the culture, lifestyle. It’s the best gym and addiction in the world. I have been a ‘waterman’ my whole life. I competed on the stand up world tour in 2010 and finished 10th in the world overall. I’ve been teaching SUP and surfing or 13 years. I have taught people from all over the world including a prince from the Middle East, celebrities, Surf Camp for kids with Autism, Cancer Survivor Camp, Surf and Turf Camp for Diabetes, and pro athletes. The youngest I taught to surf was my 2 1/2-month old son. He was in an ergo SUP surfing with me. The oldest person was 81 years old. His legs were shaking like Elvis, but he was surfing!
What do you love most about teaching?
I get to share the history of surfing, my culture and lifestyle with everyone. Most of all, it starts with aloha and giving you a Hawaiian experience that you will never forget. There are a variety of types of water sports including body surfing, body/boogie boarder, short boarder, long boarder and SUP (or Stand Up Paddle Surfer.)
Your top surf spots on South Maui?
La Perouse Bay or Keoneo’io is one of the largest left surf breaks in South Maui. (Level of experience: Advanced); Dumps is another popular and preferred left surf break located on South Maui. (Level of experience: Advanced); Big Beach or Makena Beach is another popular surf, body surfing and boogie boarding beaches in South Maui. Well known for its large shore break. (Level of experience: beginner to advanced depending on wave size and conditions); The Cove or Kalama Park is a popular beginner to advanced surf break that provides left and right peaks depending on swell direction. (Recommended forentry-level surfers. Safe, shallow water and home to Aloha Surf School.)