“Balloons, Hula-Hoops and Stand Up Paddle Boards: The Perfect Recipe for Learning”

Nick Ponte

Like most of us who read reviews, the ones that “glow” are rarely believable. After all, each of us define exemplary in different ways. None the less, let me go ahead and give you the spoiler alert: Maria Souza’s school is all that and much more. If you seek a SUP experience just off the coast of the best island in the world, Maria Souza’s school is the ideal route. If you want to advance your skills – initiated through Maria’s tutelage or skills that you bring with you – Maria can and will take you there.

Having visited Maui (and all other Sandwich Islands) many times, I’ve extracted the visual beauty from any reference to my experience with Maria. The focus of my review is centered upon her teaching skills, water sports knowledge and ability to adapt to the student and conditions.

After an assessment of what I wanted to learn, Maria adapted her program to my goals. Because it’s ocean-oriented, she crafted her lessons around my mindset and water affinity. We started with dry land skills – allowing me the opportunity to prepare for the dimensional experience in the ocean. The entire process felt more like she was sharing rather than teaching and that made it fun.

Moving to the ocean, she used the best and newest SUP equipment. Maria’s goal is to eliminate hurdles that might impede progression and enjoyment of SUP. If you prefer a yoga SUP experience, she can take you there as well. On three different occasions I witnessed her surfing doing a reverse supported headstand. Talk about balance!

What’s most interesting about Maria is the fact that she didn’t talk about her personal accomplishments related to SUP or surfing. Google her name and you’ll learn that Maria Souza is a true waterwoman. She’s one of the first women tow-in surfers. Maria has finessed her way through Peahi (known as Jaws) on surfboard and SUP (!). She is an accomplished kite boarder, and a SUP down winder who has crossed the most difficult channels between Islands. Hawaiian in spirit, Maria is affable and flowing just like the ocean.

What do balloons and hula-hoops have to do with SUP? Enroll and learn about the two secret ingredients that make SUP so easy.


David A

Visited May 2015