Paddle boarding with Maui John
Q. How did you get into Paddle Boarding?
A. I started Paddle Boarding years ago as a way to get waves on the outer reefs. I brought Paddle Boarding to the DR from Maui mainly for spear fishing.
Q. How did that go?
A. Not very well, I found out two things for sure:
1. Paddle boards don't work for spear fishing when there is surf.
2. There is a lot of quality surf around the DR.
Q. So you ended up surfing instead of spearing?
A. Ya, I would go out on what I thought were "small' days and I realized quickly that there is quality surf on the outer reefs. The more I paddled the more great waves I found.
Q. Was anyone else out?
A. It was funny, because the older guys from this island know about the waves on the outer reefs, but most people who visit don't think there is any surf other than Encuentro...it's great.
Q. More waves for you.
A. Ya, there are more great waves around the DR than great surfers, that is for sure. Can't say that about many tropical places. In Costa Rica or Puerto Rico there may be 40 good guys on a wave, and here one guy maybe working two or three great breaks.
Q. How has Paddle Boarding changed since you first brought it here.
A. Definitely growing, there are probably 4 or 5 shop/schools now. A lot more people paddling.
Q. What do you enjoy most about Paddleboarding?
A. Coaching...I love to get out in good surf and share my knowledge of how the waves, currents and reef work as well as Coaching the strategies of wave riding.
Q. Do you still get solo sessions?
A. All the time...the North Coast of the DR is amazing...there are so many waves, almost every one I know who paddle boards has their own spot. This is a huge island. It is also an old Island, which matters, old islands have a lot more beaches and reefs.
Q. So behind the beach there is a lagoon?
A. Yeap, the Kite Beach Lagoon is directly behind the Kite Beach, it's all National Park, beautiful and perfect Paddleboarding. The fact that there is no current and no wind makes it perfect for anyone of any age to experience Paddlboarding. We offer rentals and tours.
Q. How big is it?
A. Over 80sq kilometers
A. Yes, massive and beautiful!
Q. Where do you see Paddleboarding going?
A. Gonna be huge because you can surf the power in the paddle, the wind and waves. You are always surfing when your are on a Paddle Board.
Q. Will it replace surfing?
A. No...well...it will replace parts of surfing like longboards, but waves like Encuentro and La Boca will always be great for surfing and never be great for Paddleboarding (compared to the outer reefs).
Q. Why is that?
A. Waves close to the beach and hollow are great for surfing where as a big Hawaii-five-0 wave breaking a mile off shore is perfect for Paddle Boarding. Going a mile or two is no problem on a paddle board. I would never lay down and paddle so far away.
Q. So both sports exist but not on the same wave?
A. Ya, that's right. A great paddle board wave is probably not a good surf spot and a good surf spot is probably not a good Paddle board spot.
Q. Which do you like better, Maui or Dominican Republic?
A. Maui and the Dominican Republic are very similar, both are 18 degrees off the equator and surrounded by outer reefs. With that said, I prefer the DR much more because there are a thousand more breaks and beaches. I love being able to surf solo and develop new spots. DR is the 'new' Hawaii!
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