When stand up paddling was resurrected from its ancient Hawaiian roots, it happened in an unlikely place – Maui. Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is by far the windiest due to the current trade flow that cranks up its north shore to a whopping 25+ knot winds on regular basis. Stand up paddlers have figured out how to use the wind to their advantage and when stand up paddling began its rise in popularity it wasn’t uncommon to see them paddling downwind with the goal of hitting every surf spot along the way.
The concept of launching in one place and ending up in another is not new; it is central to sports like whitewater kayaking, rafting and downhill biking to name just a few. Sometimes, the most fun comes from finding the fastest way to get from A to B. It wasn’t long before more people caught on to the idea of using wind and swells to move along the shoreline. Paddling ‘downwinders’ soon became a popular SUP activity and downwinders today haven’t changed much since those early days.
We here at Paddle Surf Malibu are carrying on the Downwinder concept by offering an intermediate to advanced level Downwinder paddle from Westward Beach to Escondido Beach, Malibu. This is a 4 mile paddle (one way) that challenges your skills by navigating around Point Dume and paddling downwind into Escondido Beach. This is by far the most popular tour amongst our intermediate and advanced paddlers.
Prevailing winds blow side shore along Malibu in the afternoon, so a paddler can go at his or her own pace (from racing to drifting) while the wind and open ocean swell does most of the work. Experienced paddlers will notice a strong similarity to the sport of surfing as they pick up wind swells and connect them with each other. Often the fastest downwind paddler is not necessarily the strongest but the one who reads the wind swells and rides them with the most skill. Our Downwinders are incredibly scenic and we often see seals, dolphins and even whales along the way and are a great experience on any level.
The beauty of our Downwinder is that a paddler is able to ride downwind from north to south in the afternoon, and enjoy the breathtaking landscape of Malibu that is seldom seen. The bottom line is that everybody has fun and can go at his or her own pace with the opportunity to be social or solo.