We just got back from a fantastic, if too short, trip to Hawai’i… Maui, to be specific. Every time we’ve gone to Maui we’ve stayed within walking distance of Keawakapu Beach. That’s not because Keawakapu is necessarily our favorite beach, but it turns out to be a really convenient place to stay. It’s in the area called “South Maui,” which really would more accurately be called the “west coast of Haleakal??”, Haleakal?? being the larger of the two connected volcanoes that make up Maui.
Haleakal??, shrouded in clouds
Keawakapu Beach (like always in Hawaiian, the “w” is pronounced like a “v”) touches both the town of Kihei and the resort area of Wailea. It’s 2/3 of a mile of beautiful, fine-grained orange sand. Both ends have well-padded areas great for swimming or just hanging around in the water, and the middle has a rocky outcrop that has some good snorkeling (although the snorkeling is better at adjacent Mokapu and Ulua beaches…more on that in a future post). The waves and wind are calmest in the morning, making that the best time of the day. Afternoons can be quite breezy – sometimes unpleasantly so. Even then, I’ve never seen the waves get big here, so it’s always been perfectly safe for swimming. Body surfing and boogie boarding are sometimes possible, depending on the afternoon.
On this trip, Keawakapu became the place where we tried stand-up paddleboarding (aka “SUP”) for the first time. There’s a shop that rents paddleboards and sea kayaks at the very northern end of the beach, which is a good location with a sandy entry and good wildlife around the rocky point to the north (right).
Stand-up paddleboarders off Keawakapu Beach (not us)
Anya was a SUP natural – she stood up immediately and stayed dry the whole time. As it turns out, I myself have an innate talent for falling off a paddleboard. I spent more time in the water than on the board. Forwards, backwards, sideways, head first, feet first; I experimented with every possible way to fly into the water…from the mundane to the spectacular. We spotted a large sea turtle, which was a cool experience for a few seconds before I scared it away by almost falling on top of it. I maintain that it was my board’s fault…I think it was too small for me (it was basically the same size as Anya’s, even though she’s a foot shorter than me and weighs half as much). Yep, it must have been the board.
Still, if you’re going to learn to SUP and fall in the water repeatedly, Maui is pretty great place to do it. My only regret is that I didn’t bring my snorkel along: the paddleboard-assisted snorkeling would be fantastic off Keawakapu, and the board would allow you go further than you could just swimming. Something to remember for next time.