During our second week of our Maui Trip, my girlfriend stumbled upon unusual and intriguing watersports “event”, 'The Butterfly Effect' downwinder.
It was unusual... because instead of a competition, it was an organized, yet free downwinder for women only. Each could kiteboard, windsurf, standup paddle, or paddle their way along the North Shore coastline.
It was intriguing...because most notably, the event is built from a great feeling of encouragement, spirituality and respect. From the small start of two girls (Tatiana Howard and Juliana Farias), women in Maui and around the world are experiencing the ocean and new watersports, by being 'out there' with help, support and friendship.
This event started at Ho'okipa Beach and it was great to experience the buzz in being there, as the girls rigged kites, windsurfers and got their boards ready for the day. After a yoga stretch session and opening circle where the girls prepared before going out, Tatiana and Juliana went over precautions and safety suggestions.
Then as as the name suggests, with the wind picking up, the 100+ girls launched from Ho'okipa beach for a day on the Pacific ocean. Kiters, followed by windsurfers, standups and paddlers headed downwind to Kanaha beach park about 8 miles (12 kms) away – passing by beach goers on Paia, Baldwin, Sprecks and finally Kanaha beach.
Since the event is becoming such an annual success - now in its 3rd year, I wanted to find out more about this fun, girl-crazed event 'helping butterflies to spread their wings' in Maui and now the world. I got to talk to founding inspirational butterflies, Tatiana and Juliana a few days after the event.
Their bubbling nature made them a pleasure to chat to about the ups and downs of organizing such an event. Their strong personalities, as they agree, complement each other in the vision they have for promoting and organizing the event.
After the first 2 years of working things out, Juliana points out that, this year out was their first year they promoted and organized the 'Butterfly Effect' to the extent they would have liked. They worked together with many businesses in Maui, for food and drink sponsorships, to rashguards from Dakine, topping it off with a great after party at Jacques, the local club in Paia.
What got the Butterfly Effect going?
They both seemed to laugh at the question. (it seems they get tell this story often). After being competitive windsurfers since 2005 where they became friends, Tati and Juli felt women's competition was being marginalized by men's competitive watersports.
So in 2007, not to be shadowed by men's competition, they decided to organize a girls only downwinder with a few friends. As they put their sails up, more and more girls wanted to be involved, so they opened it up to any women whether they wanted to kite, windsurf or stand up paddle - and they came...and keep coming back.
Hopes for the future of the Butterfly Effect
Tati and Juliana definitely know that their event has momentum and continues to grow. They have reached a valuable 3 year milestone. And with over 100 participants this year in Maui, they are excited about the future. Participation numbers have doubled every year since it began.
The main focus which they are both set on is growing the confidence, motivation and stoke of the girls who participate and want to learn. That is what its about for Juli and Tati and they don't want to lose this feel within the events they host. Its what gets many of these girls out on the water together throughout the year.
For the experienced water women, Tati mentioned a 'Butterfly Effect pro' where these women who want more of a challenge (the number ever growing) do an island to island event.
Inspiration is also a great motivator for the girls not yet taking part and wanting to get involved.Tati and Juli intend to hold a Butterfly Effect clinic during the day of the event to help new girls get a feel for these exciting sports. The commitment both these girls have is amazing. Apart from helping girls get involved, another initiative they have is getting the Butterfly Effect to support local charities at the events they hold.
Their dedication has already taken them to countries like Brazil, France, Australia and New Zealand where they have held Butterfly events in conjunction with local watersports shops. Tati hopes to make it an official tour and with further interest developing and events marked for Oregon, Germany, Tahiti and Cabarete this year already. Look out for one coming to you soon.
Oh and if you're ever in Maui in early April, you are a 'wahine' - yes a woman - and want to do something fun, challenging and exciting, look out for 'The Butterfly Effect'- a great event, with great people and a great time.
Check out the official Butterfly Effect website: www.betheeffect.com
to find out more about Tatiana and Juliana and upcoming events.
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