How Hawaii water sports are different from mainland lake life #1 – Less Equipment

As someone who has practiced a variety of water sports both in the islands and in Nevada, I’ve got some good insight on the difference between both.

The primary difference is the lack of necessary equipment needed to enjoy the water sport in the islands. For example, in Hawaii, you wouldn’t need a boat or kayak to enjoy the water because it’s warm enough to fully submerge yourself. Although people often bring surfboards, boogie boards, fins and snorkels to the beach, they’re not necessary to enjoy a day at the beach. Also, equipment like fins and snorkels can easily fit in the back of your car compared to towing jet skis, a boat or a kayak down to the lake. I noticed that when we go to the lake, it’s a longer process to prepare for the day. If we don’t take that time to pack all of our “toys” like wake boards and jet skis, then the lake isn’t as enjoyable.

The heavier equipment such as boats, RVs and jet skis contribute to the majority of truck-driving parents in Nevada. Smaller cars aren’t capable of towing large equipment. This might solely apply to Nevada and not the rest of the continental United States. Island locals typically drive smaller cars or trucks like Toyota Tacomas. These usually don’t have towing capabilties but can still have a surfboard strapped to the top of it – and that’s all you need! I’ve seen the tiniest little cars with surfboard racks towing 4 boards – it’s impressive!

Hawaii water sports

Stand up paddle board “surfing” at Lake Stampede in northern California. Image Copyright CyberCom, Inc.

How Hawaii water sports are different from mainland lake life #2 – Frequent Practice at Shorter Intervals

The difference between “lake days” and “beach days” is typically the length of time. When we go the lake, we head out there at 10 am and don’t return home until 10 pm. This includes travel time and lake time. Beach days typically last from noon to 6pm. That includes travel time and beach time. I attribute this to the fact that lakes are only available for 3 months of the year compared to the beach. In Nevada, we aim to capture as much lake time as we can while we can – so we get a lot of sunburns. In hawaii, the beach is essentially available for 12 months of the year so there’s no sense of urgency in capturing “sun” time.

Because of this dichotomy of environment, there’s also a dichotomy of lifestyles. In Nevada, we spend longer intervals out on the water but not as frequently. In Hawaii, we spend shorter intervals in the water but more frequently.

In addition to this, there’s also the aspect of a quick trip to the beach in the islands after work because the nearest shoreline is probably 20 minutes from your office. However on the mainland, your closest lake is at least 45 minutes away so a “quick trip” to the lake would be difficult to pull off right after work. This also contributes to the “shorter intervals, high frequency” beachgoers in the islands compared to the mainland lakes.

 Hawaii water sports

With a view like this, how could you NOT visit the beach frequently?
Hanakapiai Beach, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii by Jeff Kubina is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original

How Hawaii water sports are different from mainland lake life #3 most people use boats for fishing only

Boats are a luxury item in the mainland lakes. You’ll see families “go out on the lake” for the day with their family boats. Many people finance them and use them frequently during the summer months and then store them during the winter.

Boats are a work item in Hawaii. Fisherman who fish for a living own boats for the purpose of work. Other than that, there are companies who take tourists out on boats for whale-watching, etc. Aside from these two reasons, people don’t have boats as recreational items in Hawaii. This might be because residential properties are too small to store boats, or because they’re just not necessary. It’s easy to enjoy the water without traveling out on a boat.

Hawaii water sports

Fishing at Lake Stampede in northern California – tryna make some poke obviously! Image Copyright CyberCom, Inc.

How Hawaii water sports are different from mainland lake life #4 Everyone Paddles

Paddling is a common water sport in the islands. Paddling teams are popular and every high school has their own team. Children start young, I’ve seen some 7 year olds paddling. Adults paddle as well. There are several paddling clubs (like volleyball clubs,) that have been around for decades and are established.

In my high school in Hawaii, I was one of the few that didn’t paddle. The kids that were on the paddling team would bring their paddles to school for practice afterwards. They’d store them in classrooms and use them at practice after school.

Paddling is an intense sport. Paddlers are fit, sculpted and tan. Popular paddling races such as the paddle across the Moloka’i channel are televised and the competitors are admired by many.

Hawaii water sports

Holding on to the Hawaii side of me by paddling at Lake Tahoe in northern California. Image Copyright CyberCom, Inc.