Maui, Hawai’i – The Valley Isle

Where: In the Hawai’ian archipelago, over 2,300 miles from Los Angeles, and less than 80 miles from O’ahu.

What: Home to the magnificent Honolua Bay, scary Jaws, rippable Ho’okipa, and several other world-class waves.

When: April through September on the South Shore, and October through March on the West Side and the North Shore.

Why: To escape the maddening crowds and Kona winds of O’ahu.

How: A five-hour flight from Los Angeles will set you back 300-500 dollars. A twenty-minute flight from O’ahu will run you more than 80 bucks.

Best Place To Stay: For those really low on dough, pitch a tent at Kanaha beach park for three dollars a day-the campground is located near Kahalui Airport. On the cheap side (about twenty bucks), you can stay at Banana Bungalow or The Northshore Hostel, both in Wailuku. If you’re going with a few friends, comb the Internet for a condo in Kihei, there’re hundreds of them and will run you about 100 dollars per night.

Best Places To Eat: On the North Shore, check out Bale in Kahului, Anthony’s Coffee in Pa’ia, and Mana Foods in Pa’ia-just beware of the patchouli-wearing hippies hanging around. On the West Side and around Lahaina, hit up Sansei on Sunday and Monday nights for half-off high-quality sushi or Kimo’s on Front Street, and for those who want to die early, McDonald’s in Kapalua will help you achieve that.

Best Place To Hook Up With Wahines: Lahaina is punani central, and according to Maui resident Cheyne Magnusson, all you have to do is walk around Front Street and Ka’anapali beach and you’re bound to run into something. When you’re tired of hoofin’ it, go to Longhi’s on a Friday night for some fun. During Halloween, Lahaina is known as “Mardi Gras of the Pacific” and not to be missed. When you’re around the North Shore, check out Casanova in Makawao. Tuesday night is ladies’ night, go there; but beware of chatting up somebody else’s chick-it’s a small island.

Crowd Factor: Don’t go to Maui expecting to snag every good wave that comes through-most lineups are highly guarded by a dedicated local crew of rippers. However, just like anywhere, get out early and you could score good waves with a handful of surfers. Another piece of advice is to be careful surfing after rains-there are massive tiger sharks throughout the island, and Maui has more recently recorded deaths due to sharks than O’ahu (something they don’t tell you in the tourist pamphlets).

Stuff To Bring: The water doesn’t drop much below 78 degrees, so don’t worry about a wetsuit. The waves, however, can be 30 feet at Jaws and two feet at other spots-on the same day-so bring as many boards as you can carry (or can afford to bring on the plane). Obviously, bring trunks, tropical wax, sunscreen, and a ding-repair kit for Maui’s craggy and sharp shorelines.

If The Surf Is Flat: Drive around the island. It will take a hell of a long time-at least all day-but it’s so beautiful you’ll shit yourself. Also, for the adventurous type, go on a bike tour that takes you to the top of Haleakala volcano to the beach, a descent of over 10,000 feet. Still got energy? Just go kick back at one of the resorts at Ka’anapali and get a drink with an umbrella in it, you fruitcake.

Helpful websites: visitmaui.com-A good place to get deals on activities and accomodations. Produced by the Maui Visitors Bureau. windcam.com-It’s for windsurfers, but gives you an idea of the conditions in Kahalui.-Justin Cotà‡

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