Travel Blog #121 – Year round Kona Parasail with UFO

Aug 8, 2022 | Activity Information

The sport of Parasailing was was given birth during an experiment by a French skydiving instructor named Piere Lamoigne. Piere was looking for an easier way to get his students into the air then dropping them out of a plane when he first tied a parachute onto a rope behind his car. Because the whole purpose of the experiment was to get the parachute into the air, Pierre called his creation Parascending.

It was not long before Parascending was adapted to the marine environment and the sport or Parasailing was born. Until mid 70s the sport of parasailing was reserved for risk takers and dare devils because of the accidents that were common during takeoff and landing. Then a young entrepreneur named Mark McCulloh developed a new design that changed the industry forever.  What Mark introduced was a platform on the back of the boat from which the parasailors could take off and land from. This was possible because of the heavy duty winch that was also mounted on the platform to reel the parachutes line in and out, making it possible to take off and land directly from the boat. The system that is used by modern parasail companies like UFO Parasail Big Island is basically the same design that was developed by Mark McCulloh in the 1970s.

Big Island Parasailing in KailuaKona

We arrived to the Kailua Pier to visit the UFO Parasail Kona parasailing location.  I could see the boat off in the distance towing its green parasail high up in the air. It wasn’t more then a few minutes before the shiny green vessel was pulling back into the harbor. The captain pulled the boat up to the pier and the passengers gathered their belongings and began to disembark the boat. As they passed me by on the pier I could not help but notice the large grins that were stretched across their faces. As soon as they were all unloaded we began to board the boat and within a few minutes out captain was easing the boat away from the pier and out of the harbor.

We had a fairly small group on our trip that consisted of a man and his two girls, and my girlfriend and I. Because of the light weights of his girls the father was able to take up both his daughters at the same time, totaling three people riding under the Parasail. Even when they were hundreds of feet away we could make out the large smiles of everyone in the group. They floated high behind the boat before the captain reeled them back towards the boat. At one point he slowed the boat just enough to skim the toes of the girls against the surface of the water before he punched the gas again propelling the riders high into the sky.

The deckhand geared us up with our harnesses while the other group was still in the air so we were ready to go as soon as they touched down. After we were attached to the parasail the captain flipped the level on the winch and the parasail lifted us off of the ground. In seconds we were hundreds of feet off of the surface of the water. The higher we got the larger the view of the Big Island became until our boat was nothing more then a small spec of color under us, it felt like we were looking down on the entire town of Kona. From the boat we could see little more then the buildings that front the water, but once we were elevated we could see the whole grid of Konas roads laid out beneath us. We scanned our eyes over the water, hoping to get lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins but we did not get that lucky.

After about 10 minutes in the air we were gently reeled back onto the boat, and about 5 minutes later we were back at the harbor. The whole experience took about 45 minutes from start to finish, leaving with the whole afternoon to peruse the shops on Alii drive, and relax on the nearby beach Magic Sands.