Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Maui

Since my first trip to Hawaii in 2013, one activity that has been at the top of my “to try” list is stand up paddle boarding (SUP). I chickened out when I was there in 2013 and again in 2015 but finally got up the nerve to try it on this trip. I have seen so many people during my trips out on their boards, gliding along, making it look so easy. I knew better. I figured it was going to be hard. And I was right. It was actually really hard. I needed an instructor to hold my board in order to stand and even then, I resembled baby Bambi trying to stand for the first time, with wobbly legs and a lot of falling. So much falling in fact that I don’t have a photo of me standing while we were out there but I promise, and Deb as my witness can confirm, that I did manage to stand up a couple of times for a few moments. After it was over, I realized that I had fun and really enjoyed the experience and I am so glad I tried it. We even saw a huge turtle while we were out there. I can’t wait to go again, hopefully soon. 

We went out on the water with Paddle On! Maui. The company is owned by Peg and her tours start in Wailea near the Fairmont Hotel. Peg was wonderful to us. We were supposed to go out on our first morning in Hawaii but Peg was kind enough to call us and tell us it wouldn’t be enjoyable because it was so rough and windy. We finally made it out a few days later. It was just the two of us and Peg, which was great for beginners like us. I appreciated Peg’s undivided attention and also her concern for our safety and comfort. She had many good suggestions for places to go and things to see for our remaining time in Maui. She easily picked up on my love for Hawaii and made the comment that I’m “totally moving” there soon. Ha! Maybe! I hope? I wish? Although this was not a cheap activity (~$150pp for 3 hours), I highly recommend Paddle On! Maui if you go stand up paddle boarding while in Maui. The amazing service and small group atmosphere make it worth the price.

Of course we found some time for the beach while we were in Maui as well. My favorite beach was Big Beach. As the names implies, it’s a big beach, which was great because it could accommodate many people while still giving people the space to spread out and relax. It was sunny the first day we were there, overcast the second but I thoroughly enjoyed our time there both times. I did a bit of snorkeling the first day (I have my own gear so it was impromptu and on my own) and there were some fun fish and coral to see under the water, which was a pleasant surprise. 

I could get used to this. 

The sand was so fine. I loved running my hands and feet through it. 

Maui 💙

And then it was gone…

I stared at the view below for hours and it was time well spent. Take me back! 

Protection from the sun is key for me. The long sleeved rash guard you see me wearing in so many of my photos is one of my most valuable purchases when it comes to beach vacations. I wear it all the time because it provides such great coverage from the sun without me having to use lots of sunscreen. I got this one at Land’s End but you can find them many places. I got my sun hat at a farmer’s market in L.A. I like that it has a wire around the rim so I can manipulate it as I need to. 

We were greeted with really strong shore breaks on our second day at Big Beach. I did venture into the water at one point and the waves even made me nervous, which was telling because I’m usually very comfortable wading into the ocean. There were so many kids trying to boogie board and body surf on these waves, even though the lifeguards kept telling them to stop because the waves were too dangerous and many necks get broken when kids try to do that on these types of waves. But apparently most people were not concerned because the kids kept doing it.

The other side of Molokini 

One last photo that has nothing to do with stand up paddle boarding or the ocean but makes me laugh every time I see it in my photo album… we passed through this intersection several times during our stay in Maui and every time, we would comment at the writing on the highway. Is it telling us we can go straight? 😉 How many times is it really necessary to mention that the two left lanes are turn only? Judging by the road below, about 20 times per lane. 



  1. April 14, 2017 / 11:54 am

    Trying SUP is on my list too and like you I also think others make it look easier than it is. I have seen people do yoga on it too which also boggles my mind. Great pics of Maui by the way!

    • Carmen
      April 14, 2017 / 2:28 pm

      Thanks! There was another group out on the water with Paddle On! Maui at the same time as us and they were doing yoga. Some of the participants were able to complete really complicated poses. I was very impressed. One girl accidentally sat on her paddle on the way down from a pose though and snapped the part that goes into the water off. Their instructor came back with a short little paddle. It was pretty funny.

  2. Chris
    April 14, 2017 / 12:48 pm

    How fun Carmen! I love hearing about your adventures!

    • Carmen
      April 14, 2017 / 2:29 pm

      Thanks Chris!

  3. Olivia Taylor
    April 14, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    It’s on my list as well!!!! No excuses living where I do!

    • Carmen
      April 14, 2017 / 2:32 pm

      So true! I bet you would be good at it actually. Let me know how it goes when you try it.

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