On a Saturday in June, I found myself wide awake at 5am for the first time in… ever? I was strolling the beach with other victims of the time zone change, taking in the array of resorts that line Maui’s Kā’anapali Beach. Between the “hellos” and “alohas” I could hear the waves crashing against the rocks on the far end of the beach. As I counted down the minutes until the start of the breakfast buffet, I whispered to myself, “You made it, kid. You made it.”
It was around this time that my landlord texted, letting me know that my most recent rent check bounced. It wasn’t the first time, either. Still, a person needs vacations (even when they can’t afford one) and Maui is legendary among vacation destinations. Who can blame me for putting bankruptcy on the line for some fun? (Besides my landlord, obviously.)
The island, its beaches, and the aquamarine slice of the Pacific that surrounds Maui are all really hard to describe without sounding like a brochure. Sandy beaches, smiling families, sugary cocktails — it’s the quintessential tropical spot, the place middle American families spend their winters dreaming about. There were more athletes than sunburned midwesterners this weekend, however, as I was in town to cover the Maui Jim Ocean Shootout, a “unique, two-day ocean event” comprised entirely of sports for Australians that I’d never heard of.
NOTE 1: I didn’t know stand up paddleboarding could be competitive. Never even considered it. I just thought it was a cool thing that bored surfers invented and blonde people on Instagram made famous.