I lived a charmed life for 16-days while on Maui, a true “lolokai” passion paradise. Truly a place for any type of traveler – kiter or not be careful of falling madly in love with this island.
Well, there really isn’t such a thing, but when on Maui it is windy EVERYDAY! From May through October the trade winds blow on this paradise island. Even the light winds are kiteable with 12m to 15m kites if you weigh 180lbs and over you’ll definitely have a grand time! I found myself needing a 4m and flying an Air Rush 6m since my Slingshot RPM 6m was overly grunty in high winds.
Susi Mai, big pop and railey during the MaiTai Sports event, photo by Erin Loscocco
As a new kiter, I was at a disadvantage simply because my skills where not up to Maui standards – YET. As the hecklers under the heckling tree on Kanaha Beach would say “this is Maui baby.” Though each time I did get out on the water it was so fun that no amount of heckling stopped me from trying, except when local Mike would say “if you go out in long lines in this wind, I’m leaving and am not watching you.” Then I know it is serious stuff – and would sadly wrap my lines, deflate and fold my kite.
There are a number of launch spots on Maui including Ka’a Point, Pro-Beach, Kite Beach, Naish Beach and Air Rush Beach, all along Kanaha Beach. Each launch area offers unique challenges and fun, three of which I’ve tried. The most difficult in my opinion is Kite Beach since the launch area is quite small and you could easily get blown down wind to the sewers or the boneyard. For new kiters on Maui, the best bet is to launch upwind. I chose to stay on Air Rush beach, located in between Naish beach and the windsurfers. The launch area is wide and long. Make sure to say hi to the peeps under the tree, Chris, Local Mike, Cora, Brett, David, Mark to name a few, otherwise they won’t launch nor catch your kite, specially when you’re not flying an Air Rush (JOKE!). Everyone is so nice, it is hard not to be friendly in case you’re one of those peeps who prefer to be left alone when kiting. Be prepared for the heckling when your kite falls from the sky just as you thought you were about to execute a flawless water start! It happens to the best!
The green room kite launch area as mentioned by Greg Mebel, Air Rush Team Rider is Lanes Beach. A tougher launch spot as the shoreline is filled with coral that you have to walk past before getting into the water. Then there are the waves! Not the big Hawaii waves in the Fall and Winter, but mini ones that are still a lot of fun for those who are just beginning to wave ride!
Hands down, Maui the birthplace of kiteboarding in the United States is the best ever kite spot! Not a surprise why the geek gods from Silicon Valley make the exodus for the annual MaiTai Sport event! I will be back for more heckling and awesome riding in September / October! This time I hope to stay for a month!