West Maui Parasail

With the West Maui Mountains behind us, we began our walk down the street into Lahaina Town. One of the many things I love about living on Maui is that, from the right location, everything is within walking distance. We are lucky enough to live in the right location for all the activities in Lahaina Harbor. This morning was a wonderful reminder of how lucky we are. This morning we were headed into Lahaina Towne to go parasailing with West Maui Parasail.

One of two parasailing companies on Maui, West Maui Parasail has two locations on the West Side: Ka’anapali Beach and Lahaina Harbor. I’ve parasailed out of Ka’anapali before; this time we were going to try Lahaina Harbor. While the parasailing excursions out of Ka’anapali Beach transport you from the beach to the parasailing boat via a small Zodiac raft, the parasailing trips from Lahaina Harbor allow the passengers to load the boats directly from the dock. There’s something to be said for convenience.

After our short walk to Front Street in Lahaina, we stopped at the Wharf Cinema Center across from the Banyan Tree. My wife has a shop on the top floor that specializes in toe rings, and this morning she was going to be watching the boys while my daughter and I were going parasailing with West Maui Parasail. After saying goodbye to her brothers, my daughter was ready to go.

She grabbed my hand as we walked down the stairs. Together, we walked through Banyan Tree park and across the street to Lahaina Harbor. We said our good mornings to many of the people we knew at some of the other slips on the way to slip #15 from which our parasailing adventure would begin.

West Maui Parasail | Lahaina Maui Hawaii | Maui ActivitiesNext door to West Maui Parasail is Start Me Up Sportfishing in slip #12. My daughter was very excited when she recognized Uncle Whaleshark, Erik Pietsch one of Start Me Up’s captains, and he wished her happy birthday. He made sure to say it loud enough that everyone nearby, including the crew at West Maui Parasail, heard him.

So my daughter and I were laughing as we walked up to slip #15 and were greeted by Salina, the friendly desk agent on her second season with West Maui Parasail. I asked what she liked best about working for West Maui Parasail and I was pleased when she told me that what she liked best was the people. According to Salina, everyone is always in a good mood. When they are on vacation, they’re really mellow. Since she also works three days, out of her five day work week, out of Ka’anapali Beach, she get a nice cross-section of visitors and locals. Plus, when she works Ka’anapali Beach, she has the chance to get her feet wet.

Following proper procedure, Salina handed me a clipboard with some forms to fill out. Just a few pages necessary for my minor daughter and me. Once completed, I handed them back and my daughter and I took our seats on a nearby bench and waited for the parasailing adventure to begin.

A few minutes later, Salina signaled to us that it was time to board the boat. My daughter ran to the docks and was the first aboard. She was very excited. I sat next her, the happy recipient of several “thank you, Daddy” hugs, and watched the rest of the passengers board the boat.

West Maui Parasail purposely keeps the number of passengers small, so that everyone receives personal attention from the crew. Captain Bill Rehmke and crewman Joel Lohr made sure that our experience with West Maui Parasail was an excellent one. There were a total of eight passengers. All of us scheduled for tandem parasailing. That simply means that we were going up in pairs.

Joel, with his easy and friendly manner, explained the ins and outs of parasailing. He also answered all our questions about Maui, Lahaina, things to see, restaurants to try, and anything else we could think of. During this time, Captain Bill had transported us out of Lahaina Harbor and into the channel where our parasail experience would take place.

The first couple was sitting across from us, and Joel brought them the life vests and riggings that would attach them to the parachute. My daughter, having been parasailing before, assured the couple they had nothing to worry about and the trip would be well worth it. We all watched as the first couple, in vests and riggings, went to the launch platform so Joel could attached them to the parachute. In no time at all, they were in the air. My daughter clapped her hands and laughed. We all did. It was almost as much fun to watch the other passengers as it was to go up in the parachute ourselves. Almost.

My daughter and I were going to be the next ones in the air. During the first couple’s ride, Joel brought life vests and riggings for us. It was nice to see children’s size life vests and riggings. Being more than a little overprotective, I was very much at ease with the gear supplied by West Maui Parasail.

Once the first couple was back on board, Joel instructed me and my daughter to move to the launching platform. I would be first, followed immediately by my daughter. Safety was always the primary focus on the boat. Both Joel and Bill made sure all the passengers, whether sitting on the boat, preparing to parasail, being in the air, or landing back on the boat, were always safe and secure. That said, Joel made sure my daughter and I were safely and securely attached to the parachute… and we were in the air.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been parasailing several times or if this is your first time parasailing, the exact moment when your feet leave the boat and you are fully dependent on the parasail for your support is exhilarating.

As my daughter and I launched higher and higher into the air, we smiled for the camera as Joel took pictures of our flight. West Maui Parasail, as a convenience to their guests, offers a picture package. It’s convenient. The pictures a fantastic. It’s a great way to remember your day. And this day was a special one. As you may remember, it was my daughter’s birthday. Once we reached 1200 feet, I sang “Happy Birthday” to her for a very special father/daughter moment. I’m waiting to hear about a couple getting engaged on a West Maui Parasail adventure. If you ever hear of one, please let me know.

After singing and talking and having a wonderful time, we watched Captain Bill steer the boat so that we were face to face with the West Maui Mountains. The view was unbelievable; to be so high up and at the same level with the most beautiful mountains in the world is well worth it. We gazed at the West Maui Mountains and, for the first time since we launched, were quiet. The silence didn’t last long before we both had to comment on how amazing are the West Maui Mountains.

Too soon, we started our descent back towards the boat. Did I mention that before we launched, Joel offered us the option of getting wet? We both answered that we wanted to get wet. To honor our wishes, Captain Bill slowed the boat down just enough so out toes dunked into the water. And then back up in the air for one last time. As we approached the boat, Joel called to us, “Stand up when you land.” So we would be sure to land safely. It was easier than one might imagine to land on the parasail boat. The speed of the boat practically let the launching platform on the parasail boat rise up to meet our feet. Once we were safely on the boat, Joel helped us detach ourselves from the parachute and made sure were back in our seats before leading the next couple to the parachute.

We gladly shared our experience with the other passengers on this West Maui Parasail adventure, while we watched the next couple launch into the air. We didn’t pay as much attention to the couple in the parasail; we were more involved in reliving our time in the air. My daughter told me it was better than last time, and I agreed. The convenience of boarding the parasailing boat directly from Lahaina Harbor was more important than I realized.

Once the last couple had completed their time in the air, Captain Bill steered the boat towards Lahaina Harbor and the end of our parasailing adventure. Everyone on board still had smiles on their faces as we headed back in. The view of the West Maui Mountains was a beautiful back drop for the harbor; although not nearly as impressive as it looked from 1200 feet in the air. As far as I was concerned, I would have loved to have stayed out a little longer, instead, I have plenty of time to look forward to next time. In a few months, the West Maui Parasail will be on hiatus from December 15 until May 15 for whale season here on Maui. It will be worth the wait.

808 Reviews Visitor’s Tip:
West Maui Parasail has two locations: Lahaina Harbor Slip #15 and Hanakao’o Beach Park aka Canoe Beach. For the more adventurous, try Canoe Beach. There’s a raft that will take you from the beach to the boat. For those who prefer a less strenuous trip, try Lahaina Harbor. You can board the boat directly from the docks. Either way, you will experience an amazing adventure.

West Maui Parasail
Lahaina Harbor Slip #15
Kaanapali Beach – South of the Hyatt

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About Maury Hoffman |Things to Do on Maui | Restaurant and Activity Reviews

Senior Editor of 808 Reviews and freelance travel writer, Maury Hoffman lives on Maui with his familiy, iPad, iPhone, and other gadgets. His writing proficiency is directly related to the quality of his morning coffee. He prefers Peet's Coffee, but also enjoys Living Java.

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