The thought of being attached to a rope midair while simultaneously being pulled by a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean never really appealed to me. That is, of course, until I tried it. Enter X-Treme Parasail, Oahu’s “largest watersports company.”
I’ve had a few offers to go parasailing over the couple of years. I’ve always turned them down. I’ll admit, I was too scared. I wasn’t too keen on trusting my life on a single line of rope. Hey, there’s always the remote possibility that the rope will snap and there I would go, my helpless-self parachuting away into oblivion, possibly ending up in the same place as Dorothy and her ruby slippers. I didn’t want to go through that.
Of course, Groupon, coupled with the insistence of my wife, changed all of that. In one fell swoop, she purchased a Groupon (retail is $138, Groupon price was $69, you should totally sign-up for Groupon) for tandem parasailing and quickly booked a date with X-Treme Parasail. There was no turning back. That single piece of rope would be my only lifeline. Would there be a Yellow Brick Road if I were to land on a remote, forgotten, and deserted Hawaiian island?
Our parasailing experience would begin at Kewalo Basin, the home to many water based tourist activities and fishing boats. My appointment with fate was set for 9am on a cool Saturday morning, and like any good person staring death in the face, I (along with my very willing wife), arrived 30 minutes early. We checked in at the Koko Head end of Kewalo Basin and, like clockwork, signed our lives away on the requisite, “if you die today we will not be responsible” forms. Of course, that made me feel at ease.
9am quickly came and we were loaded on to the yellow colored Hi-Flyer, along with 3 other pairs of people. Immediately, we were briefed and then given life jackets. Except, they didn’t have enough for everyone and so I was left without one. Emerald City here I come.
One-by-one, the couples where strapped on to a harnest, butt scooted to the front of the boat, attached to the parasail line, and then whisked away. The first group to go was a young couple from Kailua. Despite being a blonde, the female member of this couple resembled Kat Von D of LA Ink Fame. She looked like the extreme type that would be into such shenanigans. The next group was a Japanese couple, probably on their honeymoon, and hungover from a spending binge at Gucci the night before. Finally, there was a pair of Japanese male tourists. They looked scared, but of course, I couldn’t understand what the heck they were saying, I was simply going off of facial reactions. Needless to say, each of these pairs made it back to the Hi-Flyer without a scratch. Would we be the only ones meeting the Wicked Witch of the West today?
In no time, it was our turn. As instructed, we butt scooted ourselves to the front of the boat. We were quickly strapped in and then and, before we knew it, we were slowly whisked away. The anxiety that I felt slowly disappeared and instead, my focus now shifted toward making sure that I smiled at the camera when instructed to do so. We had opted to purchase the photo package for $30. Not a bad price, considering that we received 200+ photos on a 2GB SD card. In the event that the rope did snap and we ended up in some far away land of munchkins and tin men, my hope was that one intrepid parasailer on the Hi-Flyer would quickly grab the camera with the evidence of our untimely departure, place it in a waterproof bag, and then jump ship and swim to shore all the while screaming for help. Of course, on this day, that wasn’t necessary.
In about 10 minutes it was all over. My first parasailing experience went as smooth as possibly and before 10am we were back on dry land, hungry, yet satisfied. It turned out to be a relaxing experience. The fact that you get an amazing view of Honolulu and Diamond Head in the distance are welcome bonuses. Would I do it again? Absolutely. In fact, as soon as they reeled us in and we were safely on the boat, I exclaimed that I wanted to go up again! Maybe next time I’ll get to meet Dorothy? Let’s hope not.
1085 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814-4904
Explorers: Coty Gonzales and Michelle Sagucio