ʻAuʻau Channel

Created by Maui Nui Swim visit: mauinuiswim.com

Key Fact: ʻAuʻau, Pailolo, and Kalohi channels are different environments.  Mastering DRIFT matters most in the Auau channel.

The 4 things that matter most for a successful ʻAuʻau crossing are currents, winds, swimmer speed, and shape of the land masses creating this channel.  The adjacent article published in 2021 codified the concept of "mastery of current assistance" and drift.  In the past, it was common for swimmers and crews to target a landing point and attempt to hit it at all costs, including swimming into head winds, swimming against strong currents, and landing at adjacent undesirable locations including shallow coral beds.  Increasingly common is the acceptance of drift when crossing ʻAuʻau.  Swimmers and crews are starting to swim longer diagonal courses that are more efficient and comparatively faster than planned straight line courses.  Noteworthy exceptions to this discussion include the annual Maui Channel Relay (MCR) and the Maui Nui Swim.  Both events determine dates long before local weather can be factored in.  In addition, the MCR includes fixed start and end points that leverage the concept of drift but also greatly limit flexibility with respect to course planning.  These two events will become case studies to highlight several of the concepts discussed below.  Importantly, the concept of drift and course flexibility will be thoroughly discussed with the hope of making Auau crosses more efficient, safe, fun and successful for solo or small group swimmers.