For years I've seen folks parasailing off of Ka'anapali Beach, but never did I imagine doing it myself. I still had some misgivings about the whole process. When the invitation came to experience a UFO Parasail, I checked a bit into the process and soon discovered that it was a remarkably easy and safe experience. In fact, it's so easy and safe that people of all ages do it every day. On my own parasail excursion, there was a father and young son as well as a woman and her mother who was in her 60's or 70's.
The UFO Parasail Experience
A UFO Parasail begins with check-in at Ka'anapali Beach in front of Whalers Village. Participants (and non-parasailing) observers then board a small zodiac for a brief trip to the parasail boat located a few minutes offshore. The whole group then makes their way over to the parasail boat where the guides describe how the process will work.
Parasailers are fitted into a comfortable harness and then either alone or in tandem with someone else (the choice is yours) you proceed to a platform at the back of the boat where you are hooked onto the parasail. Before you know it, you slowly lift off the boat for a 10 minute parasail on an 800 foot line. (You can also choose a 7 minute parasail on a 400 foot line, but few choose this option. The price difference is only $10.)
As you are slowly winched off the boat, the parasail carries you high over the waters off Ka'anapali Beach. The views of the water and the beachfront are amazing. In your harness, you feel very much like your sitting on a backyard swing. In fact, the parasail is a much smoother ride than in the boat since you are not subject to the action of the waves. I have always had a fear of heights, yet I felt no fear whatsoever on the parasail.
At some point during your parasail, the boat will slow and allow you to experience the feel of freely falling towards the ocean. Just as you feet touch the top of the water, the boat operator moves forward again and you once again sail into the sky. Before you know it, your time is up and you are slowly winched back onto the boat for a dry landing.
Operates Seasonally on Maui
For those who have limited time available or those who don't want to commit a half or entire day to one activity, UFO Parasail is a perfect choice. The time requirement from beach sign in to return is only about an hour. UFO Parasail operates from early morning to late in the afternoon. Because the waters off Ka'anapali are the winter home to humpback whales, UFO Parasail operates seasonally on Maui, from May 16th through December 14th. They do, however, have an operation at Kona on the Big Island that operates year-round.
More Information and Pricing
If you still have any questions about UFO Parasail or the who parasailing experience, UFO Parasail has an excellent section of Frequently Asked Questions on their website.
The price for a "Deluxe 800' Ride for 10 minutes" is only $70 which includes all taxes. Non-flying observers can ride along in the boat for only $30. Prices are, of course, subject to change.
For current prices, reservations or additional information, you can visit the UFO Parasail website. I've also created a gallery of photos from my own parasail including photos of the views you'll get while parasailing. Check out my UFO Parasail Photo Gallery.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary tour for the purpose of reviewing UFO Parasail. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.