This Maui kiteboarding guide is aimed at providing the local knowledge we learned while kiteboarding in Maui. There are some important things to understand before kiteboarding in Maui. With the appropriate skills, knowledge, and equipment kiteboarding here can be a lot of fun.
To truly understand kiteboarding in Maui, it helps to understand how the winds in Maui work. The Hawaiian islands receive the tradewinds from the east, but Maui has a unique feature that helps it create more wind than the other islands. Maui has two volcanoes on either side of the island that creates a venturi effect. There is also a lot of land on Maui, and when that land heats up there is a thermal effect to the winds. The venturi and thermal effects amplify the strength and density of the wind. As a result of the unique landscape of the island, there are micro climates around the island.
Rules for Kiteboarding in Maui
Yes. There are rules for kiteboarding in Maui to preserve access. Below are the important rules to follow:
- No kiteboarding before 11am
- Only kiteboard in designated spots (for a more thorough list of places to kiteboard or not kiteboard check out the Maui Kiteboarding Association page)
- Keep distance from swimmers, fishermen, surfers, and other watersport enthusiasts
- Common sense kiteboarding rules
Where to Kiteboard in Maui
The most common and safe place to kiteboard in Maui is Kanaha Beach Park. This is a stretch of beach half a mile long where the majority of kiteboarders launch and land from. On the far east side of the beach is an orange flag that indicates the furthest point upwind where someone can launch or land from. To preserve kiteboarding in Maui, do not launch or land upwind of this flag. Further to the west and around the corner is the famous place known as “pro pool”.
Kanaha Beach Park
The place where most people park is the first parking lot to the east along Amala Pl after Kaa St. The walk to the beach is about 150 feet from the parking lot and there are showers and restrooms. Locals refer to this beach as “Old Mans Beach”. If kiteboarding here, be aware of the wind direction. The winds predominately blow from the east causing them to go over trees. This creates a large area of turbulence where the majority of people launch. Every day we saw people attempt to launch in this turbulent zone. And every day we saw kites fall out of the sky, crash onto the beach, and fly into trees. Our recommendation is to walk downwind, approximately 100 – 150 ft and launch further downwind. The wind further down the beach is significantly cleaner. Once in the water, the wind is also much cleaner.
Ka’a Point “Pro Pool”
The only “flat” water spot around Maui is at a place downwind of Kanaha Beach Park called Ka’a Point or Pro Pool. The wind direction must be right in order for this spot to work. The more north in the wind, the better it is. For example, a NNE wind is much better than an E or ENE wind. A few degrees in the direction of the wind truly makes a significant difference for this spot. When the wind direction is right, you have about 200 ft to throw a trick. If riding to the left or port, there is about 200 ft before ending up on the rocks or a kite in the trees. If riding to the right or starboard, there can be some nice kickers on the way out. This is an extremely small spot so it is important to be aware of what else is going on around you. There can be swimmers, fishermen and other local kiteboarders kiting here that all feel some sort of ownership to this spot. Respect the locals, give space, and if kiteboarding here, form a rotation with the other kiteboarders.
What the Wind is Like
Strong. The wind in Maui at Kanaha Beach Park is strong and dense. We traveled to Maui in August for two weeks and experienced “no wind”, perfect conditions, and everything between. No wind and perfect conditions are subjective terms so it is important to break them down into more details. When the locals said “no wind”, it still blew 20 kts. We do not believe “no wind” exists in Maui. Because of the micro climates, there could always be a place where it is windy along the islands. On a technical level, the clouds will help determine where the wind is, isn’t or is most clean. The “perfect” conditions we experienced were 30 kt winds from the NNE. What made these conditions nice was that the wind was not very gusty for how strong the winds were. It was fun for big air, kiteloops, unhooked freestyle in the pro pool, and cruising around.
Reading the Wind Forecast
If looking at iKitesurf at Maui Kite Beach, add 10 kts to the forecast. We witnessed someone attempt to launch a 17m kite because the forecast said 10 kts. The forecast may have said 10 kts but the white caps across the water screamed 20 kts. That person’s 17m kite immediately flew into the trees. Point is to never trust the forecast. It is always windier than what the forecast says. Look for other people around the same weight size as you and see what they are riding. Interpret what size kite they’re riding, what style board they are riding, and whether or not they look comfortable. If in doubt, ask another person on the beach.
What Size Kite for Maui
This will be for twin tip riding. Foiling or surfing may require different sizes based upon the rider’s experience and equipment. At 160 lbs, the two ideal kite sizes would be a 7m and a 9m. For a 120 lb rider, the ideal kite sizes would be a 5m and a 7m. A 200 lb rider would want a 7m and a 10m.
What the Water is Like
The water is choppy and and about 6-10 feet deep until the reef where the water drops off. About 2,000 feet off the shore is a reef, where depending on the tides and time of year, gets good waves. On the inside of the reef is fairly choppy despite the tides. In the summer time, the water temperature was refreshing. It was not hot, but not cool either. Below is a chart of the average water temperatures.
When to Travel to Maui for Kiteboarding
The simple answer is any time of the year is good for Maui. There may be some days in the winter time where there is truly no wind, but there are waves instead.But it really depends upon what you’re looking to get out of your travels. The summer time has the highest chances for wind. Some days in the summer time are incredibly strong with over 40 kt winds. Kiteboarding in Maui seems to be a year long activity with no real “off-season”.