The Champ Keeps His Crown

Hope everyone had a happy New Year! Maui Zipline is ringing in the New Year with the results of the Guide Olympics at the end of 2014. For the first time ever we have a back to back champ!  Winning this year again… by a wide margin… Chevis Kong!  When he wasn’t destroying the competition he was cheering everyone else on and being a gracious winner.  Chevis continues to not only be an amazing, energetic, fun loving guide, but he is also one of the fastest and safest employees Maui Zipline has ever had the privilege to employ.

There was a new event this year and some old favorites with a twist. The field of competitors were in peak condition after a busy summer zipline season. The events were as follows:

1. Carabineer Dexterity Challenge
2. Dizzy Harness Assembly and Fitting3. Line 4 Drag Race
4. Line 5 Race in Reverse

The “Drag Race” was the new event this year and the guides used their best aerodynamic techniques to get the fastest time. Despite a weight disadvantage Chevis clocked sub 16 sec time with perfect human dart strategy. The owner of Maui Zipline even participated in 2 events and won the “Line 5 Reverse Race” which consisted of pulling yourself up line 5 to the top and speeding back down. The top 4 finishers were as follows:

1. Chevis

2. Spencer

3. Wesley

4. Jake & Kaulana Tied

The biggest surprise of the evening was Spencer, who finished in last place for the 2013 games. He won the silver medal and also earned the MIZ award of the day (Most Improved Zipliner). Wesley was also a surprise in the bronze position after having surgery a month or two before. Jake and Kaulana were tied in the 4th place non-podium finish. These two were hired within a couple weeks of each other almost 2 years ago and couldn’t find a way to edge the other out of position.

The weather is great over here, hope the East Coast survived the blizzard.  Come visit Maui Zipline and ff you would like an autograph from the reigning Zipline Gold Medalist known as “King Chevis Kong,” he would be delighted to accommodate you.  He also just had a baby girl last week, congrats Chevis from all of us!

 By: Jake Wagenman

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Top 5 Hawaii Inspired Costumes

Having a hard time figuring out what to be this year for Halloween? Look no further, we have some inspiration for you.

 

1. “Hula Girl” Nothing embodies the spirit of aloha more than a beautiful coconut dancer.  Great for men, women and children!

2. “Pro Surfer” Get some sweet shades and put on some board shorts. This costume is cheap, easy,and lets you show off some muscles.

3. “Hawaiian Werewolf Tourist” A unique spin on the old boring werewolf that will surely get peoples attention. Don’t forget the socks with sandals!

4. “Shark Bait” Put on your snorkel/scuba gear, throw some red paint on yourself, and flop your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
5. “Goofy Zipline Guide” Did you love your experience at Maui Zipline? Buy a shirt at the kiosk, put on a crazy hat, and crank up the personality.
By: Jake Wagenman
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10 Amazing Things to do on Maui (besides zip lining)

#1 HALEAKALA
Mt. Haleakala is 10,023 feet high and is one of the two volcano’s that created The Valley Isle. Literally translating to “house of the rising sun.”  Venturing to this dormant volcano is one of the most popular attractions in all of Hawaii.  Have you ever been to Mars? It feels like it when you are surrounded by lava rock and sitting above the clouds.  Go for sunrise, sunset, or just a hike.

#2 Road to Hana
There are many ways to explore the Road to Hana AKA Route 360. Visitors can go by group and private tours, or venture on their own by car. There are 620 curves, 59 bridges, and like a 1,000 waterfalls pave the way to Hana. Reaching the end of the longest 52 mile drive of your life is truly an achievement worth doing.

#3 Ho’okipa
Ho’okipa Beach Park is one of the most famous beaches in Maui. It is also one of the most well known beaches in the world for professional surfing. In Hawaiian, “ho’okipa” translates to hospitality, which is definitely what this Beach Park offers to surfers and enthusiasts alike!

#4 Iao Valley
Iao Valley State Park is located just above Wailuku, in the Central Maui area. 4,000 acres in total, it is home to one of Maui’s most unique natural and historical landmarks. The 1,200-ft high “Iao Needle” is a green-mantled volcanic rock outcropping which looms above waterfalls and the Iao Stream. In 1790, Iao Valley was the location of the Battle of Kepaniwai, where King Kamehameha fought Maui’s army to unite the Hawaiian Islands for the first time.

#5 Ohe’o Gulch AKA 7 Sacred Pools
The Seven Sacred Pools is a natural spectacle, with a line of pools and waterfalls flowing from East Maui Mountain valleys to the Pacific Ocean.
The best way to experience the beauty is by planning a camping trip to Hana! Reach the Ohe’o campgrounds by sunset after exploring road to Hana and awake to a magnificent morning in Kipahulu for a morning dip in the amazing Ohe’o Gulch Pools.

#6 Makena State Beach
South of Wailea, Makena State Park is 165 acres of glorious coast. Two of the most fabulous beaches in Maui are located here; Makena’s Big Beach (Oneloa Beach) and Little Beach (Pu’u Olai Beach). Big Beach could be the most popular spot for bodyboarding, skim boarding, enjoying a day with your family/friends, and sunbathing. Big Beach is approximately 1.5 miles long, and 100 feet wide, offering mostly calm conditions, however it can have a strong under current and rogue waves depending the season. The State Park has 3 parking lots, public restrooms, and lifeguards.

#7 The Banyan Tree in Lahaina

This tree is over 137 years old and spreads across 1-acre of downtown Lahaina. This is the largest Banyan tree in the United States.  It was planted in 1873 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Protestant missionaries in Lahaina. The original single trunk, has expanded into over 16 trunks due to its signature aerial roots.

#8 Hawaii Nature Center

Offering both Maui Community and Maui School programs year-round, this non-profit organization add’s value to all to take part in their customized activities in Maui. Learn more about Hawaiian environmental culture and the innate characteristics about Maui preservation that are important. This is a great place for kids, and a wonderful place to offer up your philanthropic nature by volunteering in Hawaii.

#9 Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

The Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is located on the hillside of Haleakala.  Founded by Agricultural Artist and Horticultural Master Ali’i Chang, this farm has become a cultural landmark. At an elevation of 4,000 feet, the Kula Lavender Farm on Maui is home to over 45 varieties of lavender and approximately 55,000 lavender plants. Check out their Daily Guided Walking Tours to learn more about lavender cultivation.  Your senses will be on a calm overload as your breathe in the peace, beauty and tranquility of this awesome Maui attraction.

#10 Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center, Top-Rated Attraction in Hawai’i (Zagat Survey’s U.S. Family Travel Guide), provides an up close view of Hawaiian marine life without getting wet! Located about 20 minutes from Kihei and 30 minutes from Lahaina you can experience all kinds of Hawaiian fish, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates.  You can even dive with sharks!  You will be surprised how awesome of aquarium it is for such a small island.

 

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Maui Zipline Company Teams Up with Big Brothers Big Sisters

The Maui Zipline Company at the Maui Tropical Plantation announced a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui that will offer free zipline activities for participants enrolled in the organization’s community and school based mentoring programs this month.

“It’s an honor to help Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said owners of the Maui Zipline Company in a statement, expressing support for children’s health and education.

“This important non-profit is vital to the community of Maui and benefits our children. By partnering with them we hope to be a small part of enhancing their lives,” Maui Zipline Company owners said.

JD Wyatt, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui thanked the company for gift to the volunteers and children involved in the program.

“Many of our kids do not have the opportunity to enjoy such a fun and exciting experience that Maui Zipline offers, and we know it will be the highlight of their year. On behalf of my staff and board, we can’t thank Maui Zipline enough for one of the largest in-kind donations our agency has ever received,” said Wyatt in a press release statement.

As part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui Community-Based Mentoring program, children and mentors meet one-on-one in the community on their own time. Organization leaders say each match is supported by an agency case manager to make sure the relationship is safe and productive.

The organization’s School-Based Mentoring program enables children and mentors to meet one-on-one in a classroom setting once per week after school, with activities facilitated through agency case managers on-site.

By Maui Now Staff

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Origin of the Shaka

In Hawaii there are few things that embody the aloha spirit more than the “Shaka.” The unmistakable pinky and thumb salute is a favorite here at Maui Zipline Company. “Hanging loose” is a constant reminder to slow down and be in the moment. It can also mean: hello, goodbye, thank you, right on, and more. From surfers to bus drivers, people use the Shaka as more than non-verbal communication, it’s a recognition of island life philosophy.
There is some debate as to the true origin of the hand signal and how it became popular. The roots are in island and surf culture and many of the legends involve a man whose middle three fingers were missing. Some say the man had his fingers bitten off by a shark, others say that the Spanish missionaries used the symbol to portray the sharing of libations. However, most believe that hawaiian folk legend Hamana Kalili was the originator. He lost a few of his fingers in an unfortunate sugar mill accident. Unable to perform his duties at the mill he, became a security guard for the sugar train. Children would often hop on and off the train hitching rides and he would signal to the train conductor when it was all clear to go with his pinky and thumb. And thus the “Shaka” was born! The Shaka became mainstream and exploded onto the scene in the 60’s and 70’s and was used in news broadcasts, car commercials, and political campaigns. Sharing the island values of “malama i kekahi i kekahi” (take care of one, take care of all), is what has kept the Shaka going.
Shaka and ziplining go hand in hand. When you are hanging from a wire 60 feet in the air you can’t help but be in the moment and appreciate the island. At Maui Zipline we cherish spreading the aloha lifestyle and throw the Shaka whenever we can. Come experience the real way to hang loose at the Maui Tropical Plantation and “Shaka brah!”

 

Article by: Jake Wagenman

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Your New Favorite Banana

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The Maui Tropical Plantation has one of the most diverse collections of plants available for guests to explore and learn about. There is even a patch of Maui’s most treasured “herb” at the bottom of zipline number four… The Apple Banana. Technically the banana plant is an herb because the trunk does not have bark. It is simply a dense collection of leaves/branches, which is more like a stem. The banana herb is the world’s largest perennial herb, even though it will only produce bananas once in its life. Originating from the Latundan Banana family, Apple Bananas were brought to Hawaii by the first Polynesian settlers in their canoes. The “Mai’a” (banana) was so sacred that they were used in religious ceremonies and it was “kapu” (forbidden) for women to eat them. If a woman did eat a banana prior to the 1800’s her offense could be punishable by death.

If you have never eaten an “Apple Banana” you are missing out! They are about half the size of a normal banana with a thicker peel and are very plump looking. When ripe, the texture is tender and they last much longer than the common banana. Don’t eat them when they are greenish, be patient. These bananas will be delicious and not mushy, all the way until they are completely brown. The taste is sweet, tangy, and with age it gets even more tropical and complex. Some discerning palates can detect flavors of pineapple, strawberry, green apple and peanut butter. The wonderful taste is also the reason that the banana bread on Maui is so delicious. There are dozens of roadside stands that offer Apple Banana bread, and it will be the best you’ve ever had. So next time you are on the road to Hana sample the banana breads and get your taste buds ready for a treat. You can also find Apple Bananas at any grocery store and they are only 30 cents more a pound than the standard banana. Once you try them you won’t go back.

Article by: Jake Wagenman

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The Sleeping Warrior

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Can you see him? He is laying on his back facing the sky. The little bump on the right is his chin, with little trees as his beard scruff. If you look toward the left the next hump is his nose, then follow that down to his eyes and eyebrow and then his big warrior helmet. It is a special thing to be able to see the sleeping warrior. He is located in the West Maui Mountains, which are usually shrouded in clouds. Legend has it that the sleeping warrior will wake up if the island needs to be protected from bad weather. He will stand up and blow away any tsunami or hurricane, so the Hawaiian people can rest easy knowing they are safe.

 

 

The West Maui Mountains are one of the wettest places on earth, with an average rainfall of about 400 inches of rain per year. This special region of Maui is almost 6,000 feet at the highest point. These mountains are the remains of a volcano that last erupted 500,000 years ago. Since that time it has been eroded by rainfall and weathered into vast craters, waterfalls and soggy marshes. This area has been forbidden to the people for centuries and only royalty were allowed to venture in. More recently the Pu’u Kukui Preserve was established and managed by the Maui Land and Pineapple Company to protect this area. It is the largest nature preserve in Hawaii at 8,661 acres.

 

 

We are so lucky at Maui Zipline to have such a beautiful view of this sacred place, we even feature it on our logo. The Maui Tropical Plantation is positioned perfectly for any guest to see this amazing feature of Maui. Come zip with us and ask your guide about “The Sleeping Warrior.”

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Samantha Tells All

Samantha Lima is an 8 year old girl from Stockton, California. She is in 3rd grade, has 2 dogs and a cat, and her favorite food is pizza. She ziplined for the first time last week and this is her interview shortly after her tour at Maui Zipline.

How was your experience at Maui Zipline? “I loved it!”

Was it what you expected? “No, I was expecting one person to go at a time or all the people going  at the same time with a guide in front. I liked how the zipline was set up with two people going at once though.”

Were you scared at all?  “No.”

What would you say to someone who was nervous?  “Don’t worry you aren’t going to fall off. It’s fun!”

What was your favorite part of the tour?  “Ziplining of course.”

 

Which line on the tour was your favorite? “Number five and number four. Because number five went over the water and number four was super long.”

Did you do any tricks? “Yes, I played dead, took my hands off, had a gun fight, and a couple others that I don’t remember.”

Would you do anything differently if you got to do it again? “No, but probably more tricks.”

Did you like the guides? “Yes, they were good guides. They made it easy.”

I saw Samantha again the last day that she was on the island and I asked her how her trip went. She had gone on the slides at the Grand Wailea, snorkeled with turtles, went out to dinner a lot, played on the beach, went to “Diva’s Night” at the spa, went to a luau and ate lots of shaved ice. I asked her which activity was her favorite and she said ziplining without a hesitation. That was cool. I hope to see you again at the zipline Samantha and I hope other 8 year olds can read this interview and get excited about ziplining too.

Article by: Jake Wagenman

 

 

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The Art Of The Trick Line

At Maui Zipline we provide a safe and family friendly environment to experience zipline adventure. Safety is the number one priority when our guides are on the course with a group. All equipment and the course are visually and tactilely inspected every morning and then continuously throughout the day. Guides fit guests with harnesses and helmets to the correct fit before every tour. They also provide safety information and take questions before ever even ascending one of our towers. It is this strict focus on safety that we are able to provide one of the most fun and thrilling portions of the tour… THE TRICK LINE.

After line #1 and #2 guests are feeling more confident with the concept of flying on a wire. They have experienced the braking procedure and can correctly demonstrate the proper landing position. On line #3 they have the opportunity to show off their new skills and really let loose. This line is affectionately known as “The Cadillac Line.”  It’s long, smooth, and we love to trick it out.  The tour guides encourage guests to let go of the equipment and go hands free. If a guest is feeling even more adventurous they can attempt one of the many patented tricks performed by our guides.  A trick can be anything from dancing, sports, animals, letting go, or just acting plain crazy. Some of the most popular tricks are: The Scorpion, Sizzling Bacon, Superman, Mr. November, Gun Fight,  360, Disco, The Robot, Gangnam Style, Flying Buddha, Triathlon, Lazy boy, Trust Fall and many more. This line provides the best opportunity for memorable photos and will surely be a highlight of your Maui vacation.

 

What really makes the trick line special is the fact that not only are some people conquering their fear of heights, but they are having fun doing it.  Come join us at Maui Zipline and show some style on the trick line.

 

 

 

 

(Top photo: “The Mr. November” by Keoki) (Middle photo: “The Scorpion” by Kaulana) (Bottom photo: “Superman” by Keoki)

Article by: Jake Wagenman

 

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2013 Zipline Guide Olympics

The results of the 2013 Zipline Guide Olympics are in!  On October 5th the 2nd annual Maui Zipline Guide Olympics were held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  This is the opportunity that the tour guides have once a year to showcase their speed, strength, dexterity and course techniques; in a competition for prizes and bragging rights.  The kiosk had been buzzing with excitement leading up to the big event and now we know who the real top dogs are.

 

The day got off to a hot start with the most physically demanding event, the “Retrieval Race.”  Each guide had to pull themselves up line #5 to the top and then zip back to the bottom as fast as they could.  Amazingly Justin Paul was the only guide who was able to accomplish this feat in under 2 minutes.  Next the guides had to do a 19 carabiner transfer to and from the belay cable.  With arms still shaking from the first event this proved to be much harder than many anticipated.  Event number three was a race to see who could set up and put on a zipline harness the quickest.  After the guides spun around a tree four times, spectators watched the comedy unfold as some competitors had some real difficulty putting the correct straps through the right buckles.  Lastly was a pure foot race to tower #1 and back.  This took place on the usual walk-out path where guests learn about the island and local plants.  Luckily the guides didn’t have to run up the stairs of the tower because a few people wouldn’t have made it back!

At the end of the day three guides were standing on the podium.  Chevis Kong took home the gold, Kollton Kallas got the silver, and Keola Wilhelm with a close bronze.  Appetites were strong after the grueling games and everyone adjourned to one of the local BBQ spots for lunch.  When lunch was over it was time for an evening of paintball to show that there were no hard feelings after the Olympics. Despite the “friendly fire” at paintball, the team of guides ended the day more bonded than ever and ready to give the best tours of their lives.  Come visit Maui Zipline and shake the hand of an Olympian.

 

 

Article By: Jake Wagenman

 

 

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