If a Backcountry Zipline Adventure guide tells your clients to “be
the ball,” they darn well better be the ball. Otherwise, they might
find themselves suspended safely above waterfalls, streams and
tropical terrain until someone pulls them back to terra firma.
Run by Kauai Backcountry Adventures, the zipline tour propels
clients back and forth along a series of heavy-duty cables high
above a rain forest. Our guide Christy was in charge of sending us
across each line, while Milo stood on each receiving platform,
ready to catch us one by one. Guide number three, the lanky
Lindsey, ran interference.
After a thorough safety briefing, we donned elaborate harnesses
and sturdy helmets as Christy explained the routine.
“I’m going to check you carefully to make sure you’re ready,
then I’ll tell each of you how to hold your body for the best zip
across the canyon,” she said. “When the winds blow really strong,
like they are today, or if you have a smaller build, you need to
tuck your legs up to your chest, in the cannonball position, so
there’s minimum drag.”
First up was Nick, a beefy quarterback of a guy who looked like
he would have no trouble picking up speed, since each zipline runs
“Don’t tuck, just go for it,” Christy told him.
Nick jumped off the platform, zipped about halfway across the
cable, then slowed down when the wind started pushing him back.
Large as he was, his weight couldn’t carry him to the other
That’s when Milo swung into action. He tied one end of a rope to
the receiving platform, held onto the other end, hooked his own
harness onto the cable and pulled himself along the line to Nick.
Grabbing Nick around the waist, he used the rope to pull the two of
them back to the far platform.
Nick looked chagrined. The rest of us cheered heartily.
Let me state emphatically that on any zipline tour, clients
should always follow directions, but when it was my turn, I bent
the rules so I could be rescued. When Christy connected my harness
to the cable, eyeballed my build and cried, “Okay Marty, tuck. Be
the ball,” I kept my legs looser than necessary. Sure enough,
halfway across the run, my zip lost its zest and I stopped.
Others might be afraid, hanging from the middle of the line,
held only by a harness connected to a cable. But earlier, during
our 25-minute ride from KBA’s headquarters to the top of the
zipline course, I had listened carefully as Christy described the
measures that were taken to make this trip a safe one. Now I put my
faith in the equipment and enjoyed the view. Above me towered
Waialeale, central Kauai’s 5,148-foot pinnacle and one of the
wettest places in the world. Below were irrigation tunnels built by
hand in 1864, and the streams of the Waiahi Valley. I heard nothing
but the wind in my ears. I felt free as a bird.
Sure enough, Milo went into his Sir Galahad act, tying the rope,
shimmying out to retrieve me and pulling me back to the other side,
while chatting happily about the perks of his job. I couldn’t have
been happier. Over the remaining six ziplines, I tucked on command
and zipped effortlessly along, even across the longest run of 950
feet, the length of three football fields.
Christy, Milo and Lindsey rewarded us for our courage by setting
out a picnic lunch of wraps, chips, cookies and water, enjoyed in a
private bamboo grove by a swimming hole. A few hearty souls jumped
into the icy mountain water. I preferred to chat a bit longer with
the guides and learned some fun facts about the tour. The oldest
person they’ve taken out so far was 77 years old, they said. The
trail crosses land owned by America Online founder Steve Case. It
took three months to build the course, during which all the
materials were brought in on foot or by air.
For the ride back to headquarters, dirty and proud of our feat,
we felt like a band of brothers brought back down to earth.
Kauai Backcountry Adventures
P.O. Box 183
Hanamaulu, HI 96715
Since early 2004, this family-run business has offered a 3½-hour
zipline tour down a mountainside into a tropical valley. Along the
way, guides share tales of the island’s history, culture, flora and
Clients should wear knee-length or long pants, a swimsuit
beneath their clothes, closed-toed shoes and hair ties to secure
long hair. A helmet, safety harness and lunch are provided. The
commissionable tour costs $110 per person and is available to
clients 15 years and older, weighing between 100 and 250 pounds.
Clients who are uncomfortable with heights should not book this
Kauai Backcountry Adventures also offers commissionable mountain
tubing and waterfall adventures.
New Poipu Beach Guide
Clients might have heard about Poipu in 2004 when the Travel
Channel called its beach the best in America. Others may simply
want to head to the South Kauai destination because of its reliably
sunny weather. For whatever reason, agents will want a copy of the
new Poipu Beach Reference Guide, newly updated with extensive
information on accommodations, restaurants, activities, attractions
The free 48-page publication also provides details on Poipu’s
beaches, climate and transportation, along with maps of the
PGA Grand Slam Package
Few Hawaii greens enjoy as much fame as Poipu Bay Golf Course, home
of the annual PGA Grand Slam of Golf since 1994 and winner of
numerous awards. For clients looking to perfect their swing on the
luxurious links, the course has rolled out the 2005 Grand Slam
package, combining three rounds of golf for a discounted price,
greens fees, golf cart and use of the GPS and driving range.
Clients need to play all three rounds within 10 days after the
purchase date. Per-person package rates are $300 for guests of the
adjacent Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort and Spa, and $360 for
The course’s Prepaid Golf Packages provide discounts to clients who
buy rounds of golf in advance. While the regular per-round greens
fee is $185, the five-round package price is $550 (a savings of
$375), with 10 rounds for $1,000 (an $850 savings). All rounds must
be used within 30 days of purchase.
Junior golfers ages 17 and under can play the 18-hole course for 50
percent off the adult rate. It’s free after 4 p.m. when they walk