Most water sports origin from Maui, including kiteboarding. If you are visiting the Island for the first time and would like to try kiteboarding, here is all you need to know!
The most popular spot is the beach on the north side of the island, very close to the airport in Kahului. It’s located near Kahana Beach Park. The Kite Beach is a general name of this area, which consists of several smaller beaches: Naish Beach, Lesson Beach etc. Everyone is advised to start their Maui kiteboarding experience there because other spots require knowledge of the surrounding area and is not advisable to kite there on your own. Most of locals is kiting there as well, so don’t waist your time looking for other spots.
While kiting at the Kite Beach you can enjoy the magnificent view at the valley of Iao, which is always partially covered with clouds and looks different every day:
When kiting at the Kite Beach always follow 2 important rules:
- Kiteboarding is permitted from 11 am, apparently due to the fishermen
- Do not kite very close to the airport, in the are marked red on the map:
Launching your kite may be quite a challenge for beginners. The beach itself is slightly sheltered from the wind, especially when the wind comes from E. Standing on the shore, it often seems that there is no wind at all, while 100 meters away into the water gives you 20+ knots. It happens even to the best kiters that their kites fall into the water during the start, and many beginners „parked” their kites on nearby trees. The best strategy is to observe what kite sizes are pumped by locals, wait for the breeze and get away from the shore immediately after launching.
Although there are several kite-schools in the area I wouldn’t recommend to learn kitesurfing there, precisely because of the capricious wind on the beach and challenging start.
Kite Beach is considered to be the best spot in the world in terms of wind statistics. In the summer it blows every day, in the winter blew for 6 from 8 days. With me I had my 8m and 11m kites. It was enough for the conditions I had, although I wished I had a 6m during 2 days. Practically it always blows NE or E. As I wrote before, with E the wind on the beach is week and gusty. Further from the shore it gets much stronger, but still gusty though. Winds from NE are definitely more comfortable for kiting.
On the water wave boards are dominant. With 15knts waves are very pleasant, long and rather safe. It seems that 80% of boards are directional wave-boards, 15% twintips and 5% of the hydrofoils. For 8 days I have not seen a single unhooked trick and only 1 time someone rode boots. Flat water is only close to the shore, but there is rarely good wind. The so-called “Pro pool”, i.e. sheltered lagoon, where reportedly Pros practice sometimes freestyle, is maybe 100m wide. Personally, after the first day of riding a TT board I switched to a wave-board and rode it until the end of my stay – way more fun!
I liked how foilboaring develops there. The locals are riding their foils with so much steeeeez. They use all kinds of skim boards and foil-designated boards produced by local brand GoFoil
You can even rent a hydrofoil for $100/day. Unfortunately I did not decide to do it because it’s not insured and crashes happen quite often, especially with hidden rocks and… tortoise! Speaking of which, there are plenty of them in the water. You often need to react quickly to avoid collision. According to locals it’s sometimes impossible to avoid it when riding on foil 🙁
In addition to the turtles apparently there is also a lot of sharks, although thankfully I just saw this little hammer on the beach, which will eat no one anymore. A friend of mine told me a story how he saw a 5-6 meter shark passing him by the other day!
When it comes to kites the most popular model is North Neo for its excellent wave performance. Foilers would often choose a strutless kite manufactured by a local brand called Cloud
Kite schools and rental
There is a good variety of kite shops and schools in the are. I rented my boards in a few of them and my personal favorite was Second Wind . Professional and helpful staff and wave-boards $5 cheaper than anywhere else ($ 20/day). On the spot, not far from the Pro Pool, there are 2 kite school trucks with equipment, so you can get yourself lessons directly on the spot.
I stayed at Northshore hostel in Wailuku, which was probably the closest one to the spot. In its neighborhood there is everything you need – shops, restaurants etc. Another recommended village is Paia, due to the hippy-surfer atmosphere. There is a highly rated Aloha Surf hostel, which unfortunately was booked out during my stay. Looking back I don’t really regret because from Paia there is further to the spot and less attractions after kiting.