Parasailing in Hawaii

Ok I’m just going to admit it here and now, I am not a fan of heights. I do not like them so I try not to think about them. Despite this fact, I have been parasailing numerous times. You see, while I may not embrace high flying adventures, my family certainly seems to. This is a situation that calls for putting on my big girl pants or missing out on some shared family fun, where I also get to be a source of entertainment.

So when my 13 year-old daughter suggested we go parasailing in Hawaii during a recent stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, the whole family eagerly put their hands up in an affirmative vote on this activity, while I smacked myself in the side of the head and thought, Here we go again!

Options for Parasailing in Hawaii
We began our adventure by checking in at UFO Parasailing. Don’t worry Nervous Nellie, the safety standards are high. All riders are required to watch a safety video before they can fly, and let me assure you that there is fun to be had, even by someone who feels challenged by heights.

Riders can take flight in single, tandem, and triple combinations. The maximum weight that can be sent up is 450 pounds. To ride alone, a parasailor must weigh at least 130 pounds. The UFO crew will even send your sassy-mouthed preschooler into the air (participants can be as young as 3 years-old) but there’s a catch, you have to ride tandem with them!

Now if you thought pairing up or tripling up was the only decision to mull over for this adrenaline rush, you’d be wrong. The crew is going to need to know how high you wish to go! Will it be 800 feet or 1,200? That’s right, you select the amount of rope with which to well…you know! My kids both immediately chimed in with, “800!” as a response. This was a relief to me because I was to ride tandem with my younger child. Thankfully, both stuck to this choice despite the fact that picking the longer rope means two extra minutes in the air.

We also opted to rent a Go Pro Camera, which the crew connected to our chutes to capture our priceless reactions as we took flight and during the entire duration of time we hoped to not plummet from the air.

Parasailing in Hawaii - View of the boat from 800 feet high
Parasailing in Hawaii is an amazing experience. This is how the boat looks when you are soaring 800 feet above it.

The Parasailing Experience
We spent about an hour on the boat total; each parasail ride is about eight minutes long. The two guys running the adventure part of the tour were very obviously seasoned professionals. The captain, also a paramedic, was a lively guy full of great stories about his adventures boating parasailers around the coastline; his first mate was a quiet and serious guy who seemed like he’d seen every ridiculous act a thrill seeker could pull.

Surprisingly I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be. Perhaps that was because I have one other parasailing feat under my belt. I did enjoy the breathtaking views and the sweet tropical air. What I didn’t enjoy was my 9 year-old son’s sudden ranting list of potential disasters that could be written into one of the scenes in the Final Destination movies.

“What if the rope snaps?”
“What if the chute rips?”
“What if all of the buckles holding us in come undone and everything suddenly becomes unknotted?”

None of this happened of course, and it is unlikely to happen. Despite his shenanigans, my son could not spoil the sight of Kailua-Kona and its enchanting tropical village charm hugging the coastline or the vision of impossibly blue ocean waters far below our feet.

I decided it was best not to look at the boat, which seemed so incredibly small. Instead, I pretended to be a bird skimming the scene, enjoying the peace, and experiencing the tranquility before the slow descent as the crew reeled us back onto the boat and deposited us carefully on the vessel’s back side.

I may not like heights but I would highly recommend parasailing in Hawaii!

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Know Before You Go

  • Hawaii consists of eight main islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, and The Big Island.
  • Hawaii has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time). This time zone is 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Hawaii also doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time!
  • It is considered rude to refuse to wear a Lei if someone offers it.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Kristine D. Are you interested in traveling to ? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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