Maui’s Gallagher successfully crosses Alenuihaha Channel
Using just a foil and wing, Anderson “Bobo” Gallagher crossed the treacherous 40-mile Alenuihaha Channel, becoming the second-ever on a hydrofoil to do so and the first by wing foil.
The 11-year-old from Kahana completed the trek last Thursday, wing surfing from Upolu Point on the Big Island to Maui’s La Perouse Bay in 4 hours, 6 minutes.
“It was an amazing experience,” Gallagher said Tuesday morning via phone. “It was a little bit challenging because the wind was a little bit lighter than my expectations were, so that made it harder because I was preparing for a lot more wind than there was.”
The Alenuihaha, which connects Maui and Hawaii island, is considered one of the world’s most dangerous channels for its heavy tradewinds and swells. Professional waterman Kai Lenny was the first to make the challenging crossing on a hydrofoil in 2017, and Gallagher said “it’s definitely really cool” to be on the list.
“To finally see what I had been working towards was cool,” he said. “To see the channel was like getting to finally connect the dots or putting pieces of a puzzle together.”
On the morning of the channel crossing, Gallagher and his family took a Cessna aircraft from La Perouse Bay to the start line on Hawaii Island so that the young waterman could see his route beforehand. And by 10 a.m., Gallagher was off.
Between waiting on the escort boat and a drone that was capturing photos and video footage, Gallagher feels he would have crossed the channel an hour or so earlier. But the 11-year-old said he’ll definitely do this route again in the future since it’s “one of my favorite channels to cross.”
“Kind of in the middle (of the channel) when I was way ahead of the chase boat, I felt calm and in control and I felt that I was alone,” he said. “It felt good because I knew that there was a boat behind me.”
While en route, he said he enjoyed the views — he saw seagulls and other birds, and flying fish — as well as crossing a channel that holds “a lot of history.”
“It’s really unique in the sense that there’s swells going in all directions, and you can tell,” he said. “So like, there’s flying fish jumping everywhere, there’s sticks, there’s palm trees, it all flows right through there… It was really cool to see all the Maui windmills by Kanaio too, like on the Hana side.”
Gallagher’s adventure helped raise funds for Charity:Water, a nonprofit organization that focuses on bringing safe drinking water to developing countries. The campaign, which has reached 44 percent of the $4,300 goal, is ongoing. To donate, visit charitywater.org.