Fifteen minutes in the limelight is so overrated. What’s way better (and what MauiTime readers deem is the isle’s best hike) is a day bathed in chartreuse crepuscular rays you explore the perennial evergreen of East Maui’s “Bamboo Forest.” Early en route to Hana, you can’t miss the spot–rentals and Maui cruisers alike line the street’s shoulder–and the paths are well delineated from the foot traffic. Streams gently wind amidst these sprawling giants of grasses, and later–for more adventurous folk–the trails’ temperance wanes the further you trek. It’s a choose-your-own adventure where you can swim and climb your way to more stunning pools, and come home muddy (or not) to prove it.
Oneloa (i.e. Big Beach), Makena
South of Wailea at the end of Wailea Alanui Rd
One of our isle’s rarefied jewels, the one and only Oneloa (colloquially, “Big Beach”) is part of the 164.4 acre Makena State Park, located on Maui’s sunny South side. Its sandy stretch skirts an ahupuaa where archaeological evidence shows (as described by Project Kaeo, a research effort supported by a grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs with matching funds from the Maui Tomorrow organization) that aboriginal Hawaiians lived in and cultivated the area’s natural abundance for more than a millennium. Today, the beach is still a kamaaina playground–as it well should be for a millennium more–(though it’s now surrounded by development of a different sort, like the infamous Wailea 670 project) and wave-revelers rejoice in everything from skim or sponge boarding, to the spectator sport of watching tourists get tumbled in the shore break.
4th Marine Division Memorial Park (i.e. Giggle Hill),
HaikuMile 2, Kokomo Rd., Haiku
Since da World War II days–when this Kokomo Road park was a camp/training ground for the 4th Marine Division–“Giggle Hill” has been the perfect place to cavort under the trees’ canopy and count bases with your beau. While its nickname comes from teeheeing about tittie-touching, there are lots of (more wholesome) reasons to laugh. The park’s also prime real estate to fly a kite, or battle with buds using homemade medieval war implements (forged of foam noodles and duct tape), or snack on a Fukushima hotdog or five. But since 2004, the park’s boasted a nonpareil playground, built thanks to community donations. Named “Kalapukua Playground”–in short, meaning “magical playground”–the dark wood structure’s centerpiece is a glittering mosaic depicting frolicking honu. It’s a wonderland of spires, slides, swings and steps–and makes for a ready-made day trip with your innocent keiki (while you still can).
2011 is the year of the multipurpose. Phones moonlight as cameras, organizers and music players. Your Tumblr is connected to your Facebook which is connected to your Twitter. Surf spots that are also great snorkeling destinations. Maybe I’ve got an incredibly simplistic outlook on life, but I had no idea you could snorkel in Honolua Bay—I thought the whole bay simply stopped existing without the winter swell. Sure, its part of the Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District, which must mean it has an abundance of sea life and coral, but really? Snorkeling? What will they think of next?
It’s tough to be a grom. All the older surfers are always calling the best waves, and trying to quash your spirit and natural enthusiasm. When you manage to do something right, you still get no respect. It’s even harder when you’re a girl. But Sophia Johnston is making (and obviously riding) waves. Most recently she placed in the Hookipa Surf Classic, as well as 18th Annual Pohai Na Keiki Nalu. Be it getting barreled or ripping, Johnston is a grom armed with a shortboard. Watch for her.
Some of the stuff I’ve heard about Clay Marzo sounds like something out of a Chuck Norris meme. For example: At the age of 15, Clay Marzo received two perfect 10s from the National Scholastic Surfing Association, the first time in NSSA history. Clay Marzo donates his time to Surfers Healing, a foundation aimed at aiding autistic children via the power of surfing. Clay Marzo fought off a Kraken, bent on destroying Lahaina, with his bare teeth. I mean, I’ll believe the Kraken thing, but two perfect 10s? Sure, he’s a talented and celebrated surfer, but that’s a bit much.
Kihei Aquatic Center
303 E. Lipoa St., Kihei,
We only asked you for the best public pool in the county, but you went one better and chose an entire aquatic center. Damn, this place is swank: Olympic-sized eight-lane competition pool, yard by yard warm-up pool (also eight lanes), 10-foot by 30-foot keiki pool, plus one-meter and three-meter spring boards and a few meeting and hospitality rooms thrown in. This place only opened in 1998–how did Maui survive so long without it? It’s open every day, but you should call for hours.
Pacific Whale Foundation
300 Maalaea Rd., #211
Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit that conducts research on whales, yet most people on Maui think of them as whale watching tour boat operators. And you know what? They kick ass at whale watching. They drive their boats in as close to the whales as is legal, then cut the motors, allowing the magnificent creatures to swim around and beneath the bobbing catamaran. Their enthusiastic guides put on a great show for tourists and kamaaina alike.
24 Hour Fitness
150 Hana Hwy, Kahului
Rather than opt for one of those small, sweaty gyms where very large guys hit heavy bags and pump iron and generally get more bad ass by the second, you opted for one of the most professional and corporate gyms out there. With approximately 400 operations conveniently located across the entire nation, 24 Hour Fitness is one of the best known health clubs out there. And when most of us our out of shape and really have no idea how to keep fit and toned (or whatever the latest buzz words are), I guess it’s best that we go people who’ve been doing this around the country for 25 years.
She was great as part of Lahainaluna’s Lady Lunas basketball team, wasn’t she? This former Honolulu Star-Advertiser Player of the Year really played hard out on the court. Their winning seasons in the last few years were in large part to her toughness and dedication, to say nothing of her excellence in the classroom. To no one’s surprise, late last year Viela signed onto Gonzaga’s dominating female basketball team. If people expect greatness from Viela, it’s only because she’s never not been great.
219 Kupuohi St., Lahaina
You know, when we first conceived of this category, we were envisioning “coach” as in “high school coach,” not “personal trainer-type coach.” But no worries. We’ll be more specific next year. In the mean time, Anthony Bianucci is the owner and head trainer at Lahaina CrossFit, a gym on the Westside that, if its website is to be believed, really, Really, REALLY works people. Born on Kauai, Bianucci is one of those health and fitness people who eat really healthy and exercise like 38 hours a day and used to be a pro surfboard but now makes gobs of money training schmoes like you and me. Yeah, you know the type.
Island Spirit Yoga
840 Wainee St # 201
Lahaina, HI 96761
This Westside outpost and sanctuary for yogis and yoginis has a saying: “energy flows where attention goes.” Island Spirit Yoga offers classes in several body movements, dance, yoga, pilates, belly dancing, and ballet. They take to heart their mission of bringing your divine power to light. Class etiquette includes silencing cellphones, being timely, hydrating before class and wearing no perfume, all so everyone can get the most out of their workout. Get your downward dog on with options like a per class fee or a monthly unlimited pass at the studio.
Lahainaluna High School
980 Lahainaluna Road
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
Lahainaluna’s hilltop high school, founded in 1831, is small (only by class size) but it’s proud. The Lahainaluna Foundation is a non-profit that promotes the school and gives alumni and the community a chance to support scholarships and campus projects, like building the stadium, community brick pavers and other school improvements. But school pride goes deeper than that: the annual David Malo Day Celebrations are a chance for alums to get together with the current students, and graduation traditions of lighting the Lahaina “L” on fire each year makes Lahainaluna’s school spirit the best in Maui.
Spa Grande, Grand Wailea
3850 Wailea Alanui, Wailea-Makena – (808) 879-8336
The largest spa in the state is also the best, with its Hawaiian salt terme baths, saunas, steam room, waterfall showers, roman baths and Japanese style furos. This beautiful spa offers many treatments, facials, massage, and fitness to its guests. The Spa Grande pays tribute to traditions from all corners of the world inside their massive but still elegant 50,000 square-foot-space. It’s a world renowned spa, rated in the top 10 in the nation, and we are lucky enough to have it on Maui. Spa Grande also offers kamaaina rates and a monthly Diva night held the last Friday of the month.
Maui Ocean Center
192 Maalaea Road # A
Feeding ocean predators, observing turtles and coral spawning and petting Hawaii’s marine invertebrates are activities our children love, and they’re all found at the magical Maui Ocean Center. Aquarian life delights the young to no end, and here the mysteries of the deep are laid out here for all of us to ponder. This Hawaiian aquarium boasts a 750-gallon tank with more than 20 sharks, as well as overnight sleepovers and other themed activities for keiki, like this month’s Sharktacular events and the I Love Marine Life photo contest.
So we’re thinking you got the memo by now. Just in case you didn’t–bobbing like a human buoy at Black Rock and snorkeling for “creatures” at this particular ocean blue is a reader favorite. And if the amount of sunscreen at the surface of the water is any indication of its popularity, than consider yourself part of the in-crowd for choosing to dip here. Somehow we think you knew that already.
What’s not to love? A stroll down the park’s running path will have you smiling at speed-walking retirees, dodging beer belly fly balls from the softball field and nodding to karaoke remakes booming through the pavilions. Your inner Tony Hawk itching to drop in on a half pipe? Keopuolani delivers. The park’s got enough range to make anyone’s innermost athlete do cartwheels like a delirious kid on a playground. And yes, Keopuolani has that, too.
Let’s face it: there’s something inherently wrong with waking up at 5am on a weekend to reserve a BBQ spot. If you’re like us and hit the beach at the crack of noon, have no fear–at Kamaole III, a BBQ pit will still be clear. And even if one isn’t, there’s plenty of open space to set up your own grill, guilt-free of fogging out the camp next to you with kabob aromas. So hit the snooze button, pack the lighter fluid and newspaper fan that blaze to kabob making perfection.
Nadia Toramon, Maui Yoga Shala
618 Hana Highway
Paia, HI 96779
Many Maui residents have taken a class or few with Nadia Toramon. She has coaxed a yogi or yogini out of many a Mauian and her yoga shala in Kuau has become a place of practice for residents and visitors alike. Her own special brew of Maui Yoga is a blend of ashtanga and iyengar. If you can’t make it to the shala, you can still get the DVD.