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Chapter 15 – Paia

Paia, known as the windsurfing capital of the world, is nestled on the northern shore of Maui, Hawaii. With less than 3,000 year-round inhabitants, this tourist destination definitely has a small town feel. However, you shouldn’t confuse small town feel with small town choices. Fourteen restaurants dot the streets of Paia for plenty of culinary options. Restaurants aren’t the only thing this small town boasts, you can also find beauty services, health and wellness shops, quaint inns and art galleries. Paia also hosts events and festivals throughout the year, there is always something to do.

Paia is a small town more than one hundred years old. Formerly the home of the Paia Sugar Mill, plantation camps were established here in the late 19th century for immigrants coming to work on the plantation. Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean Puerto Ricans, Portuguese, and Native Hawaiian peoples all came to Paia to work on the sugar plantation. As a result, there is great diversity in the town of Paia today.

In 1978 a group of young windsurfers discovered that Ho’okipa Beach Park in Paia had weather conditions perfect for windsurfing. Since that discovery, Paia has been developing and promoting the small town as the world capitol of windsurfing.

Paia has three beautiful beaches, Baldwin Beach Park, Ho’okipa Beach Park and Paia Bay. Baldwin Beach Park is excellent for swimming and shore fishing, and life guards are on duty daily. Paia Bay (referred to as “Baby Bay” by the locals) is a sandy beach good for swimming, but do so at your own risk as there are no lifeguards on duty here.

Ho’okipa Beach Park is Paia’s most famous beach due to its ideal windsurfing conditions. At this beach you can watch windsurfers and surfers year round – there are even many competitions held here throughout the year. Ho’okipa beach is not ideal for swimming. The shore is rocky and the currents are strong throughout the year. Swimmers are encouraged to use extreme caution and heed warnings. Lifeguards are on duty daily.

In 2009 the median price for a home or condo in Paia was $600,000. Most people in the town of Paia drive a personal vehicle for transportation, but there are also many walkers and bicyclists as well. Paia has a very low unemployment rate of 4.3% as of July 2013.

The weather in Paia is fantastic with an average temperature of about seventy five degrees Fahrenheit year round. There are two schools in Paia, one is public and the other private. There are also many churches in Paia. With all these amenities, daily life in Paia is quaint, but busy.

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