By Tamara Bockius
We are mid season during the 31st annual Maui Race Series (MRS), held each Summer at Kanaha Beach park. Continued thanks go to MRS organizer, Hi-Tech Surf and Sports in Kahului! The MRS is a highly competitive yet welcoming slalom series, made up of 5 one-day events. Every other Saturday, all of June and July, sailors from around the world arrive on Maui with their fastest gear and give it what they have on the race course.
Maui enjoys stunningly beautiful weather year round, especially during the Summer. The steady Summer trade winds are perfect for cruising or racing, beginner or expert. The races naturally end up being the testing grounds for many new types of windsurf products. One of the best parts about fast sailors is checking out all of their equipment. The rigging area on race day is what you may call ‘an outdoor showroom’. You may want to stop by just to check out the latest and greatest sails, boards, masts, fins, harnesses and water apparel all in one spot. You will also learn a lot by observing the many skilled sailors who compete. Most are friendly and happy to answer questions or offer sailing tips. Each sailor has a unique body type, weight to height ratio, equipment preferences, jibe technique. One always leaves a competition a better sailor and with a few new fast friends.
There are multiple divisions offered so that a novice racer can race with only other novice racers. Divisions are by age and ability levels, you can choose to race in one or two divisions each regatta that way. There are the Juniors 18 and under, Women, 19-39 Men, 39-49 Men, 49-59 Men, 60+ Men. The ability level divisions run after age groups, and they are Expert, Semi-Pro, and Pro. You can work your way up and usually once someone wins an ability division they are moved up to the next fleet.
Our first race of the season was postponed due to lack of wind. Our 2nd event went well with long time MRS veteran sailor, Peter John, making winning double divisions look easy (Pros and 19-39 Men). MRS event #3 was also decisively won by double division winner Phil McGain (Pros and 49-59 Men). Please see below for full race results. Event #4, the Quiksilver Cup, will be held July 11th. There will be double heats run to make up for event #1 being postponed, and our Maui County Champions will be calculated using the points from the first 4 events. Our 5th event, the Hawaii State Championships, will take place on July 25th, and it will be used for the US Windsurfing NRT Slalom rankings!
Summer is a gorgeous time of year to get on the water here on Maui. One can cruise around on slalom gear without having to race. Try using a wave sail on a slalom board before graduating to holding a cambered sail. Once you get going fast, you will want to be planing at all times. Every single MRS sailor leaves a better racer, a little faster, with a few new sailing friends and tips. They usually come back too. Once you go fast, you will want to go faster. It’s exciting to round buoys with a fleet of other windsurfers, chasing each other to the finish. The Awards Beach party after racing is a great time to go over the day’s racing.