Go hoe he’e nalu!

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) has gone global as one of the world’s fastest-growing water sports. It began as a training technique for surf riders. In surfers paradise, Hawaiians call it hoe he’e nalu. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature and get a challenging workout at the same time. At Travaasa® Experiential Resorts in Hāna, Maui, we are blessed with the perfect setting for our guests to enjoy this form of surfing.

Lessons in beautiful Hāna Bay begin with a quick introduction on land. “Many people that we work with have never tried it before, so they are a little nervous,” says Andrew Park, one of our Makana team members at the hotel.  “So, we take the fin off the board to help people get the feel of the board on land first. We also demonstrate how to stand up when the board isn’t moving on the water.”

“Balance is the key to a successful paddling experience,” says Andrew. “We go from laying on our stomach on the board, to crouching, to standing up. Each person has to find their right balance point and footing on the board. Not too far forward or back. Not tipping forward or back.”

The land lesson continues with getting more comfortable with the equipment. “We have them feel the weight of the board–it looks lighter than it is–so that they feel safer,” says Andrew.  “We also cover how to fall off. It’s actually important to know how to throw yourself off to the side so that you don’t get hurt. We share how to use the oar to steer in the water and have people practice paddling strokes.”

When everyone is ready, paddlers head down to the beach and watch another demonstration – this time on the water.  “Being on the water is a whole different experience,” continues Andrew. “You really have to find the right foot position on the board and keep your feet flat – not stiff and gripping the board. We start by having people sit on the board and paddle out into the bay and then have them try to stand up with the nose going into the waves. Sometimes it takes a few times and people can fall in, but once they get the hang of it, we have them paddle sideways and maybe even ride a wave as it moves in to the shore.”

When you’re standing and paddling around the bay, you can feel the peace and beauty of the setting. Andrew says, “Hana Bay is a great place to learn because it has the calmest waters in the area. It also has a lot of history going back even before the sugarcane industry and we try to give our guests a true Hawaiian experience. It is never very crowded here, so there is a lot of ocean space to play in.”

Another reason that Andrew advises guests to go hoe he’e nalu, “It is a very good workout for sure. I have cousins who were over 240 lbs and have lost 40 lbs just from doing this. It makes them feel good about themselves. It gives you a good sense of balance and  muscle conditioning. “