Liz Smith, Ocean buff, on offshore action

Dawna L. Robertson Liz Smith Liz Smith has a knack for finding balance in her life. As the marketing and public relations manager for the Maui Ocean Center www.mauioceancenter.com , she’s among those fortunate enough to perfectly poise passion with profession. Smith loves the ocean and its recr

By: Dawna L. Robertson

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Liz Smith
Liz Smith has a knack for finding balance in her life. As the marketing and public relations manager for the Maui Ocean Center www.mauioceancenter.com, she’s among those fortunate enough to perfectly poise passion with profession. Smith loves the ocean and its recreational diversions, so living on Maui and working for the island’s stellar aquarium creates her dream existence.

“Since I always wanted to work at an aquarium, joining Maui Ocean Center has been incredible,” she said.

Thanks to the nature of her recreational pursuits, Smith doesn’t check her love for the ocean at the door when she leaves work.

“Growing up on a small island in the Pacific, you end up spending a lot of time on the water,” she said.

As stand-up paddleboarding surged in popularity, Smith and her husband tried it one day and bought gear the next.

This ancient Hawaiian mode of transportation has undergone a renaissance with tow-in surfers latching onto it for off-season training. Boards are typically longer, wider and thicker than traditional surfboards, providing more buoyancy. And paddles have longer shafts than those used for standard outrigger canoes for the extra reach that’s required.

Smith considers stand-up paddleboarding easier than surfing and windsurfing.

“You’re already standing,” she said. “For those questioning their balance or coordination, this should be easier.”

Case in point was a friend of Smith’s who had never surfed.

“He caught so many waves on his first time out! It’s so fun because anyone can do it. And it’s good quality time to share with others,” she said.

Recently, Smith did a downwind run from Maui’s north shore.

“You can stand-up paddle with wind and a little chop as long as you head in the right direction,” she said. “It’s similar to sailing since you’re working with waves and current. You can also get good speed.”

Aside from the exercise, Smith enjoys the sightseeing.

“On the way to Lahaina a few weeks ago, I saw tons of whales breeching,” she said.

Smith has also spotted ample turtles offshore on an outer reef while paddling from Tavares Bay in Paia down to Sprecklesville.

“It’s just a great way to experience nature,” she said.

Smith finds a different exhilaration in each sport. With boat sailing, she loves the movement.

“When you turn the engine off and put the sails up, it’s a natural high,” Smith said. “There’s something with the movement of the wind pushing the boat over the waves. There’s nothing else like it.”

Smith views windsurfing as a more difficult and less social sport that can’t be perfected.

“It’s a new challenge each time with different conditions of wind and waves,” she explained. “There’s always something new to try.”

Below the surface, Smith feels at peace when she is snorkeling.

“You’re in another world down there with different sights and sounds,” she said. “I like La Perouse and Molokini.”

As for her dream day, Smith prefers a downwind stand-up paddling run with dolphins and whales followed by a picnic or lunch at Paia Fish Market.

“That’s a day that’s hard to beat!”

RESOURCES

SAILING
Alii Nui
800-542-3483
www.aliinuimaui.com

SNORKELING
Maui Dive Shop
800-542-3483
www.mauidiveshop.com

Trilogy Excursions
888-225-6284
www.sailtrilogy.com

STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING
Hi Tech Surf Sports
808-877-2111
www.htmaui.com

Maui Wave Riders
808-875-4761
www.mauiwaveriders.com

Second Wind
808-877-7467
www.secondwindmaui.com

WINDSURFING
Alan Cadiz’s Hawaiian Sailboarding Techniques
800-968-5423
www.hstwindsurfing.com

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