Maui no ka oi means Maui is the best. And in 1973, it was pretty special. Honolua Bay, Mala Wharf and Maalaea were the surf spots that brought me over there early on and were a big part in my decision to relocate. Honolulu had become busier but looking back from even today, I realize that it was just the nature of Honolulu. I’m sure Honolulu has always been and will continue to be a busier city forever…people come there, fall in love with something or maybe everything about it and never leave. I’m still glad I went to Maui because I got to experience a time in Maui that will never be again. In 1973, the population of Maui County was 50,000 and the County included the islands of Molokai and Lanai. I lived in Olinda, what they call Upcountry Maui.
At first, coming from the great and consistent surf on Oahu, I found Hookipa, with windy side shore trades, a disappointment. But Maui grows on a person and I soon became accustomed to its subtle nuances, appreciating them completely. With the variable wind and swell directions, it took a while to figure where the combinations were best and only then, did I understand the No Ka Oi of Maui. It was from Maui that I staged all my visits to Indonesia. I discovered new things there like a taste for riding big waves. I found my wife while we both were learning to windsurf and eventually our son, Alex came along. I found paddleboarding and tow-surfing. I delved deeply into dirt biking. Mountain biking started and Maui was a prime spot for it. It was from Maui that I came to find snowboarding and the next phase of life.
Uluwatu was a world-class surf spot.
Jeff and I would go out there four or five days in a row until its intensity just wore us out, then we would stay in Kuta for a few days surfing a much tamer Kuta Reef. A day or two of that and we would long for the power, the size and the sheer magnitude of Ulu. We got a little motorbike; I would drive while Jeff held both boards behind me. Often we would be the only ones there.
Feeling pretty cocky I took my time as I pulled my bottom turn around, trying to stall closer to the barrel than I had on the previous rides. This was easy. With all the speed and extra time to choose positioning, there was nothing to it. Standing tall and casual at the bottom, secure in my line, I turned to look back at the curl behind me. That was almost my undoing.
Yeah, it can go from good to bad in a hurry here, this is a seriously heavy wave.
Surf to surf tomorrow, never surf like there's no tomorrow. Leave that to the young guns, their bones are strong and heal quickly and they have more enthusiasm.
- Lopez Rule #1