SwellWomen Surf Vacations is located in Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing. With warm water temperatures, the world’s best waves, and plenty of Aloha, Hawaii is THE best place on earth to attend a women’s surf camp.
In celebration of Maui being voted the #1 island in the world by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for its 20th consecutive year, we are counting down 20 must-do activities for your next vacation to Maui.
In this first part of this 4 part blog post, we covered 5 of the traditional Hawaiian vacation places to visit on Maui. In this portion of the series, we explore 5 more must-do activities on Maui that will involve suiting up and diving in.
15. Snorkel Honolua Bay – Kapalua, Maui
Surrounded by protective cliffs, this peaceful turquoise snorkel spot is part of the Marine Life Conservation District. Since fishing is not allowed and coral lines the sea floor, Honolua is a destination for both the fish and the tourists. Many have spotted turtles and even dolphins in these clear tropical waters. When the swell is right, Honolua hosts some of the most popular waves on Maui. Read more about surfing Honolua Bay here.
14. Take a Dip at Big Beach – Makena, Maui
Big Beach is a long, wide, and undeveloped sandy beach on Maui’s south shore. It is impressive with huge views and a large shore-break. Beware the strong break when the south swell is up, but don’t miss the show of locals doing tricks on their boogie boards. The sandy bottom beach with clear water and views of the surrounding islands makes for a blissful place to go for a swim.
13. Cliff Jump at Black Rock – Ka’anapali, Maui
Black Rock was formed from one of the last lava flows on the west side of the island. It is a rocky outcrop at the far North end of Ka’anapali Beach. Some daring tourists climb the rocks to take a nearly 20′ plunge into the waters below. If you’re not ready to take the plunge yourself, don’t miss the nightly torch lighting ceremony. The ceremony includes live music, a hula dancer, torch lighting, and a cliff dive.
12. Swim Under a Waterfall – Twin Falls, Maui
For an easily accessible string of waterfalls, Twin Falls is your best bet. It is located at the beginning of the Road to Hana. The parking lot can quickly get crowded, but with many trail options and plenty of waterfalls to share the space rarely gets overcrowded. Don’t forget to bring your towel and be cautious of rising water levels.
11. Try Surfing or Stand Up Paddleboarding – Lahaina, Maui
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, also referred to as SUP-ing, is a rapidly growing global sport originating from – you guessed it – Hawaii. There is a reason why surfing and SUP-ing were born in Hawaii. The reason is the perfect waves and gorgeous turquoise warm waters! No wet suit required!
With the perfect surf break including views of the Maui west side mountains, both never-ever surfers and intermediate surfers are sure to enjoy their morning surf lesson and recreational surf opportunities throughout their week. Expect rolling waves to greet you each morning and glassy waves to end a perfect day. Suit up and learn to surf with some of Maui’s best surf coaches. The warm tropical waters and calm west side breaks are perfect for learning to surf. Hang ten and show your aloha spirit!
NEXT: Watch for Part 3 coming in mid December 2013 – [#10 - #6] 20 Must-Do Vacation Activities for Your Next Trip to Maui – Part 3
In celebration of Maui being voted the #1 island in the world by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for its 20th consecutive year, we are counting down 20 must-do activities for your next vacation to Maui.
First, we’ll start with 5 of the traditional Hawaiian vacation sights to see on Maui:
20. Banyon Tree Park – Lahaina, Maui
According to those who identify a connection between the seven Hawaiian islands and the seven chakras, Maui is the island of growth and heart. Consider Lahaina’s infamous Banyon Tree. When it was first planted in 1873, the Banyon tree stood at a only 8’ tall. Now, the tree has grown to inhabit an entire acre making it the world’s largest Banyon tree. The tree can be visited at all hours, but it particularly fun when surrounded by a local art show or craft fair.
19. Oheo Gulch, Seven Sacred Pools – Kipahulu, Maui
With dozens of waterfalls, cliff side campground, hiking trails, and a bamboo forest, there is no wonder why thousands of tourists brave the road to Hana to reach this attraction. Located in the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park 12 miles past the town of Hana, the park staff hosts regular cultural activities to entertain guests. Visit the National Park Service website for more information.
18. The Road to Hana – Northeastern Coast of Maui
The Road to Hana is a legend. Miles of twists, turns, lush rainforest, scenic ocean vistas, waterfalls, and flowers at every turn. It is no wonder why many consider this an attraction not to be missed. A true adventure in the spirit of famous mantra, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.”
17. ‘Iao Valley and ‘Iao Needle – Wailuku, Maui
Once the site of important battles, ‘Iao Valley State Park serves as a sacred space surrounded by lush tropical landscape. The state park is home to one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks, the Iao Needle. Standing 1,200-foot high, this iconic lush tower overlooks Iao stream. This attraction is ideal for easy hiking, tropical photo opportunities, and sightseeing.
16. Haleakala Crater – Haleakala National Park, Maui
A trip to Maui would not be complete without a visit to the crater of the Haleakala Volcano. Stunning views of sunrise and sunset attract hundreds of visitors each day. Dress warm as the winds blow strong and temperatures drop significantly when you’re up over 10,000′ in elevation. For the adventurous visitor, a planned hike into the depths of the crater can be amazing.
The Halloween festivities in Lahaina, Hawaii have earned the nickname, “Mardi Gras of the Pacific.” The popular celebration is one of the island’s largest holiday festivities of the year.
Each year over 25,000 people come to Lahaina’s Front Street in Maui. Crowds begin to gather in the late afternoon to kick off the event with annual Keiki Parade. The county closes off the nearby streets to all vehicle traffic well into the evening. As the sun sets, the streets fill with colorful costumes, contests, and plenty of entertainment.
“The outrageous costumes, the happy enthusiastic people, the good laughs with friends… From what I can remember, it was the best night of my life! “ -Jeff Scheer, Maui Resident
Check out the Lahaina Halloween photo gallery for great costumes ideas. If you think you have a prize winning costume, suit up and make your way to Banyan Tree Park to battle fellow contestants for a cash prize.
“I had no idea how big Maui is for Halloween! We arrived in Lahaina with what I thought were pretty good costumes. We then realized how serious people take this event after seeing all the incredible costumes. Next year, I’ll be doing a little more than throwing something together last minute. I want people to enjoy what I’m wearing as much as I do them!” -Susie Baker, Big Island Resident
For all you girls huddled somewhere cold and landlocked, here are some fabulous reasons why you should never, ever think to attend a women’s surf vacation.
I mean, seriously, why would you want to go to a women’s surf camp when you can stay on your couch in your living room doing the same old, same old? Those old reruns on TV are pretty riveting aren’t they? I personally love the thought of watching Friends again, right from the very beginning.
Who wants to get on a plane and go somewhere nice and warm and tropical? Who wants to participate in a women’s surf camp week with yoga? If I haven’t managed to convince you yet that your next vacation should be spent in your living room, preferably still cooking meals and cleaning for the rest of the household, then here are some other excellent reasons to not attend a women’s surf camp.
1. You Will Get In Shape. Who wants to lose a few pounds and shape up? What a horrible thought! I kind of like my flabby bits on display in my bikini. Getting toned muscles and a fantastic physique is certainly not on my agenda. I definitely wouldn’t want to wow all my friends with a new figure and great looking arms. I welcome the middle age spread and the couch butt, even if I’m not middle aged yet. Going to a women’s surf camp and doing surf and yoga for a week could really banish some of that cellulite. Doesn’t ironing help with flabby arms?
2. You Will Make New Friends. Who has time for new friends? Who needs new friends? Especially ones with similar interests. What a drag having more people to e-mail Christmas and birthday cards to. Imagine having a new set of friends who would like to go to the same sort of places as you for your next vacation.
3. You May Quit Your Job. Aren’t you happy complaining about your boring job and your awful boss? Why would you want to go to a women’s surf camp and risk being inspired to change your life? I recommend sticking with the terrible job and being miserable. I mean, how many more years before retirement? What have you got to lose?
4. All Your Vacations Will Be Surf vacations. Once you get the surfing bug you will want to travel to places with beaches and sun and surf. Why would you want to put yourself through that sort of misery? Where would you rather vacation, Hawaii surf or cloudy London? Why would you want to pack a bikini in your luggage when you can just as easily force in a rain coat, umbrella and thermal underwear? Spending the rest of your life in surfing locations sounds really grim. Too much nice warm sparkling blue water for me. Give me smog, clouds and crowds any day.
5. You Will Get A Leash Tan. How inconvenient! That strip of white skin around your ankle that proves you have been off at a women’s surf camp and having fun. People might think you know how to surf.
6. You Might Develop A New Interest. Isn’t your day already full enough with cooking and cleaning for others? Why would you want to have an interest of your own? Don’t you have some shirts you can mend or some ironing to do? Multi-skilled women are not meant to be self indulgent creatures with their very own hobbies. You might start getting inspired to do other things outside the home.
7. You Might Not Want to Ever Go Home. Who needs to chill out? Who needs to be self indulgent while they get their massage? Why would you go to a women’s surf camp for all those things when you can easily cook, clean, shop, and care for others? Why would you want to have a break? Especially a vacation involving wellness, surf and yoga.
You can see how disastrous attending a women’s surf camp could be for your physical, mental health and well-being. Taking surf lessons, receiving a massage, and practicing yoga daily can be a bit much. Stay at home and catch up on the ironing (and the housework, and the reruns). Leave the women’s surf camp for someone else. The palm trees are not beckoning you, that is your boss, partner, and day to day life calling you. Are you going to answer?
Do you ever catch yourself feeling drained, emotional, or irritated only to realize it’s that time of the month? A reliable cycle is important because it allows us to answer why – and sometimes even predict when – we may be experiencing certain feelings. Bobby Clennell, author of The Women’s Yoga Book, notes,
“Healthy menstruation is an indication of a healthy state of mind and a healthy body.”
There is a peace of mind in being able to anticipate when and why you may be feeling off your game. If stress or excess body fat is contributing to fluctuations in your monthly rhythm, yoga can help get you back on track.
First and foremost, it is absolutely normal for a women’s cycle to fluctuate. In fact, most women don’t have the 28 day cycle we all were taught about in junior high health class. What is important is to be able to identify when your normal changes.
How can you tell if your cycle is irregular? The first step is to know your normal. If you haven’t already, try tracking your cycle using a calendar. Mark the first day of your period and the last day. You may also want to note your emotional states, flow, and other details. Take the average from the past 8 months to get an accurate and clear idea of your cycle.
Two common causes of fluctuating hormone levels are stress and excess body fat. The good news is yoga can help with both!
Stress is a culprit of many health problems. Yoga can help manage stress levels through exercise, meditation, and spiritual balance.
When we feel stressed, our bodies respond by producing cortisol. This hormone causes sugar and carbs to turn into fat instead of being used as fuel. Excess body fat is one of many factors which can increase estrogen production. As a result of too much estrogen, some women experience fatigue, decreased libido, and headaches.
Regular active yoga sessions will not only help you slim down, it can also restore energy levels and relieve headaches. Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher and Kinesiologist, Kreg Weiss explains,
“The majority of headaches originate from muscle stiffness and imbalances emanating from the neck and upper back. When headaches set in, using a series of restorative yoga exercises can greatly relieve both the cause and symptoms.”
Before your period begins, incorporate supported standing yoga poses into your session can bring relief to the pelvic area. Supported standing poses can include the triangle pose or the half-moon.
During your cycle, the body can feel drained of energy. To relax the abdomen and restore energy try the Supta Baddha Konasana pose (also known as the reclining bound-ankle pose). Read step-by-step instructions for this pose at Yogajournal.com.
Throughout the month, practice seated posture poses. These positions will tone reproductive organs and relieve abdominal tension. Inversions, such as standing forward bend and supported head or shoulder stands, can also stabilize hormone output and regulate flow.
For more yoga tips, visit some of our other popular yoga articles:
At the core of thinking green is the ever popular moto of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” We are taking things a step further by providing specific ideas that can help you take action to Go Green.
1. Meat-free Challenge: Go a whole day or week without meat (depending on your normal diet). The carbon foot print created by feeding, processing, transporting, and cooking meat is often greater than with produce. Opting for local proteins is also an eco-conscious option.
2. Blackout Day: One day a month, try unplugging all electronics in the house. Participating in a blackout day will help reduce energy consumption and save you money on your monthly electric bill.
3. Save Water: Check sprinkler timers and monitor watering habits to reduce water consumption. You may also try taking shorter showers or reusing gray water.
4. Carpool: Travel to the grocery store or local park with neighbors. Share a ride to work or to the recycling center. We’ve all had to make a last minute trip to the store to pick up just 1 or 2 items. By checking in with friends, family, or co-workers, you could save someone an extra trip by grabbing an item or two at the grocery store.
5. Ditch the Paper Trail: Here at the SwellWomen office, we do our best to go paper-free whenever possible. Choosing to keep electronic copies not only saves space, but also reduces demand on our natural resources.
1. Buy Used: Are you in search of a new piece of furniture, favorite DVD, or sports equipment? Consider buying previously owned items. When you buy used items, you not only reduce the resources required to produce and deliver a new product , but you may also be preventing something from ending up in the landfill. Check with friends and family or look on sites like Craigslist.
2. Trade/Swap: Clothing swaps are gaining popularity. Sometimes we outgrow or get bored with items in our own closets. Give your wardrobe a fresh new look by swapping clothes with a local group of friends. This method is also great for children’s toys. Children often get bored with items after just a few weeks. By trading with friends, children get ‘new’ toys often without the clutter, expense, or global impact of acquiring something new.
1. At Home: Set up an easy to use recycling center at your house. Pre-sorting cardboard, glass, paper, and aluminum products at home will make you’re trip to the recycling center a breeze.
2. At the Office: One of the easiest and most effective ways to go green at work is to recycle paper. Keep papers that have at least 1 blank side and use them as a scrap paper.
3. Compost: By composting food scraps, you can prevent landfills from filling up with plastic bags full of items that could otherwise naturally decompose.
Thanks to freedigitalimages.net and Dan for the Go Green image.
I will never forget the day I caught my very first wave.
For a quiet morning, the little corner shop was bustling with activity. A giddy group of soon-to-be surfers gathered for a picture in front of a wall of surfboards. Just a few steps away, an older couple was trying on rash guards and lathering up with sunblock. A father and son scurried past to admire the enormous longboards lined up against the wall.
“Good Morning!” A smiling surfer chick greeted me as I stepped inside the store.
It was June of 2013 and I was about to take my very first surf lesson. I came to the lesson by myself, but never felt alone. From the photographer to the instructor and fellow surf students, everyone had come up and introduced themself. Our group included myself, a friendly middle-aged husband and wife on vacation, and our surf instructor, Kevin.
My anticipation and excitement grew as our group walked the path to the shoreline. Our blue surfboards were lined up on the sand ready and waiting to carry us out to the break. Despite the cloud cover, the view was inspiring. Who have guessed I’d get to experience my first surf lesson in the warm Maui waters?
I was doing my best to savor this moment. I noted Kevin’s calm and reassuring tone as he shared surf etiquette tips and proper stance. I felt the cool breeze and smelled the salty air. I dug my toes into the warm sand.
Before I knew it, I was laying on top of my surfboard looking out to the break and paddling diligently. Kevin encouraged me and coached me as our group coasted over coral through the clear tropical water.
Just before reaching the break we stopped. From here Kevin would paddle out to the break and call us over one by one to teach us how to surf. It was here, wading by the buoys, that I got a taste for the comradery and energy that must exist in a surf lineup. We would cheer for each other, laugh with others, and share stories.
Each time my turn came around, I was determined to paddle out to the break quickly and confidently. It is much tougher than it looks. Despite trying to prepare by doing push-ups on my living room floor the week before, my arms and shoulders were tired by the time I reached Kevin.
I looked back to see a small wave making its way to shore. I was perfectly positioned in its path. My instructor encouraged me to paddle hard. “Up! Up!” I could hear him say. Just as we had trained back on the beach, I arched my back, put my toes to board, and sprang up. My feet weren’t quite positioned right, my hips were facing the wrong way, and I nearly lost my balance – but – I did it! I was surfing!
As each turn passed, I grew more comfortable and confident. I learned how to position myself on the board, and tested out my skills with steering and pumping to try to make the ride last a little longer. There were wipe outs and missed waves, but there were also moments of sheer bliss.
It was exhilarating. It was confidence building. It was empowering. And that is why I will never forget the first time I learned to surf.
What was your first surf experience like?
Surfing is one of the most enjoyable water sports. There is nothing more exhilarating for a surfer than to ride the biggest waves for the longest time. However, people who want to learn how to surf, draw back from the sports even before trying a session because of fear of sharks.
Indeed, sharks are seen as hostile predators of the sea. They are large, strong, have saw-like teeth; or to put it – fierce looking. In fact, of all the world’s sea predators, sharks are the most feared. But sharks are perhaps also one of the most misunderstood predators. Although it is true that there had been victims of shark attacks, there are a lot of misconceptions about these creatures.
If you are a surfing greenhorn, do not give up the enjoyment of surfing just because of an irrational fear of sharks. Here are 5 reasons why a fear of sharks should never stop you from learning to surf.
1. Men and Women do not form part of a shark’s diet.
There is no such thing as a man-eating shark. Men are not staple foods of sharks. Other than the fact that men and women are too bony for sharks’ tastes, these animals prefer rich fat-content meats to maintain its temperature and to give it more energy.
2. Most cases of shark attacks involve mistaken identity.
Data reveals that 90% or more of shark attacks are mistakes. From below the waters, sharks sometimes erroneously identify humans as their common food. That is why in most incidents, after biting a person, sharks let’s go of the victim after hanging on for a while.
3. Only a few sharks have the potential to be dangerous.
It is a wrong to generalize that all sharks are dangerous. Out of 360 species of sharks, only 4 of these are responsible for unprovoked attacks on humans: the Great White Shark, Bull Shark, Tiger Shark and Oceanic Whitetip Shark.
4. The odds of being attacks by a shark very, very low.
Sharks rarely attack humans unless provoked, making the risks of being attacked very little. In fact, only 15% of the shark species frequent the shallow waters or the coast, where anyone may possibly encounter them. According to the International Shark Attack File, a person’s odds of being attacked by a shark is only 1 in 11.15 million. The risk of dying is only 0 in 264.1 million. That is why, in majority of shark attacks, the victim always survives and gets to tell the tale.
5. The dangers of sharks as we know are exaggerated.
Sharks have been adjudged to be evil creatures by mere bad publicity. There are more animals that cause human deaths such as flies, mosquitoes and bees. Perhaps to be blamed for their bad identity is the media, which most likely sensationalizes every news of a shark attack. Other than the media, Hollywood must also take part of the blame for first giving the idea about the legend of “man-eating sharks” as portrayed in movies like the “Jaws” series.
Surf without fear – Leave your shark fear at shore
A regular yoga practice can help develop a healthy mind and body. With benefits ranging from increased flexibility and stronger muscles, to relaxation, and stress management, it is no wonder why yoga has become so popular in recent years.
In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services declared September National Yoga Month. This initiative promotes awareness of yoga in an effort to educate, inspire, and motivate people to be healthier.
SwellWomen will also be celebrating National Yoga Month on our social media networks. If you follow us on Pinterest, you will have access to tons of yoga tips and videos from all across the web on our Yoga Pinterest Board.
Yoga is a practice of elevating the spirit, mind, and body through physical and mental activities and exercises.
As busy bodies in a busy world, we often can get caught up in all sorts of activities. At the mental level, yoga offers a means of strengthening and clearing the mind through regular practice.
Known by yogies as ‘pranayama’, breathing exercises can help reduce stress and encourgage relaxation. Mediation practices are also quite effective in calming the mind. These meditation techniques are known as ‘dhyana’.
At the physical level, yoga offers postures, also known as ‘asanas’ that can increase circulation, stretch muscles, and strengthen the body.
To learn more about yoga, why not get out there and give a try? Your personal experience is going to be the best teacher. Or you could learn first hand about the many benefits by joining us for a Surf and Yoga Vacation on Maui.
Our mission is to provide inspiration for growth and renewal through surfing and yoga on the beautiful island of Maui. Read our blog or subscribe to our feeds and newsletter to prepare for your surf and wellness vacation or stay in the bliss if you've headed home. SwellWomen discusses surf, health and Maui lifestyle with news tidbits and useful tips.