What I Learned on Maui

MARDI GRAS OF THE PACIFIC is what Halloween in Lahaina, has become.

1. The best of the best come here for a reason.

2. Even if you’re not among the best of the best, windsurfing on Maui will take you to a new level. You will find out
something about yourself that you
didn’t know before.

3. It’s okay to be a beginner again. The best of the best tell me it happens to everyone the first time we come to the ocean.

4. What I thought about my windsurfing skill only counts when I’m on familiar waters.

5. Compared to Maui, those “familiar waters” are like windsurfing in a bathtub!

6. The first time you windsurf towards a breaker and freak out, don’t lock your knees. Bend them.

7. Ask for help. (You’ll both have fun and you will get more out of each session than struggling by yourself.)

8. Don’t give up so easily. Frustration is just an edge of your psychic envelope. You can push past it.

9. Seeing a rainbow arch over Hookipa is a religious experience. More so, I imagine, if you’re out there on a board looking at the sky.

10. Images and videos showing the American Windsurfer 2001 board tests are stunning but some of the most beautiful experiences cannot be photographed or filmed: the scent of flowers outside Club Paradise after a morning rain…the harmony of palm trees, evergreens and tropical birds blending with the soundtrack of steady, thermal wind..music filling the house…the delicate scratching of a gecko’s feet as it climbs a tree in the yard..waterdrops on sails drying on the grass…backyard conversations about 9.4’s and a lotta downhaul…hands and feet wrapped with strips of duct tape . . . the aura of focus and concentration around Andy, Hedy, Martin and Kirsten as they coordinate rigs, boards, pros’ schedules, and material for the AW website…a tasty mouthful of warm seawater…body surfing in the morning . . . the laughter of friends and our board test family. .Joanie’s cooking, especially that barbecue “beer butt” chicken… John roaming the grounds with digital cameras and an off-camera smile…waking up to the ocean and a wall of green foliage…nightfall and the promise of another day.


Whatever your skill level, we hope you’ll join us next year for the AW 2002 Board Tests!

by Laurie Nadel

Associate editor Laurie Nadel has a new book about life and windsurfing.

photos by John Chao

Publisher / Editor of American Windsurfer is a former photojournalist for GEO, National Geographic and Time-Life Magazines.