A place where the wind and the waves come together to create some of the greatest kiting conditions you will ever experience. No wonder this is the birth place of the sport I so truly love.
It has been a place where I have wanted to visit since starting kiteboarding over 2 years a go and it did not disappoint. The crystal clear blue waters of the pacific mixed with a thermal gradient wind fueled by the trade winds that hit the islands of Hawaii made this a kite destination that I will always remember.
Quick Location Overview
Location: Maui, USA (map link)
Windy Months: April – October
Wind speed: 18 – 28knts
Best Wind direction: North East
Air Temperature: 25 – 33°C (77 – 91°F)
Water Temperature: 22 – 26°C (72 – 79°F)
Water Flatness (Kite Beach): 30cm chop (before reef) – ~1m+ waves (on Reef)
Beach Type (Kite Beach): Sandy but with reef in areas
Experience level (Kite Beach): Beginner – Expert
Closest Airport: Kahului Airport (Airport Code: OGG)
Maui has a pretty long windy season but with it high season being from April – October but you can also expect to get windy days all year around due to the trade winds that blow out this way in the pacific.
The wind tends to come from the North-East and is enhanced by the thermal gradient that occurs due to the old volcanoes that sky rocket straight out of the ocean floor that suck the clouds in from a far.
The wind tends to come in early in the morning around 9am and stick around all day until sunset. The peak of the wind speed seems to be around ~1pm during the kiting months.
Maui is not a flatwater location so expect chop of ~30cm and small waves of ~60cm throughout the Kanaha kiting beaches before the reefs. But… when a swell comes through, the outer reefs can create some amazing waves (1.8m+) which turns this place from a chop and pop spot into a wave riding paradise. I have been trying to convince myself to get into riding a surfboard for almost a year now but I have never had a real reason too. Now I see why I need to get on top of this now.
Another amazing location on the North shore of Maui is Hookipa. Hookipa/Lanes is a fantastic wave spot if you are an advanced rider. You are looking for the Northerly swells that really make this place come alive but be aware of the wave/rider etiquette here.
Where to Kite
Maui has a limited number of places to kite with a lot of rules and etiquette that must be followed to keep all the water sports people happy. Below is a map of where you are and where you not allowed to kite in Maui. You can find a list of these locations here.
Note: Hookipa/Lanes is one of the best areas to kite on the island as the wind seems to be stronger here by about 1-2 kite sizes but it is a harder launch/landing. I would recommend this spot only for advanced kiters as you will need to launch in a wind shadow and walk across a reef to get into the water. You can read more about kiting Hookipa/Lanes here.
Where to STAY
Maui is a very touristy island with the majority of people vacationing on the Southern side of the island because the North side is normally too windy and unpleasant for them. This works out well for kiters as we want to normally stay close to the kite spots so we can maximize our time on the water. Saying that, I would highly suggest renting an AirBnB in the Piia or Haiku areas that are 10-20mins drive from the Kanaha kite areas as these two little towns are a lot more laid back so you can get a real feel for the true Maui relaxed vibe.
How to get there
Flying into Maui is quite easy from a lot of places. Kahului Airport (OGG) has flights arriving from all over the world from a lot of the major carriers and you will also find multiple daily flights from Honolulu (HNL).
You will need to rent a car. Luckily there is multiple rental companies including the large brands (Hertz, Avis, Budget etc…) and also cheaper alternatives. Be aware that rental car prices are pretty high as it is Maui.
Note: I would also highly recommend that you don’t leave anything in your car as gear is often stolen while cars are parked.
Experience level needed
Maui can be enjoyed by beginners through to experts with multiple kite schools operating in the Kanaha area. I personally recommend Action Sports Maui as it is the only IKO certified school on the island.
Being part of the USA means that the island has good 4G/LTE coverage from all the major US carriers and many restaurants and shopping villages/malls have free WiFi.
No Wind Activities
This list could go on for some time but below are some of the things I would recommend if you find yourself without any wind during your stay in Maui.
- Surfing – It is Maui after all
- SUPing – It is Maui after all
- Scuba diving – Hawaii is world renowned for some of the best dive sites and Maui has many fantastic underwater sites to visit.
- Hana – drive the small windy road out to the eastern jungle side of Maui to the little coastal town of Hana. It is situated in a lush tropical rain forest with 100’s of waterfalls which are something well worth the visit.
- Volcano (Haleakala) – take a trip up to see the volcano crater and the observatory. It sits in the clouds and is unbelievably beautiful.
- Helicopter/Plane – tour around the islands
All the american airline companies that fly to Maui like to charge for your kite bag from the US mainland. At the time of writing this, Virgin airlines was only charging $50 (each way) to take a kite bag which is by far the cheapest out of all the airlines (United and American airlines charge $150 each way). I have found that if you are a One World/Star Alliance priority member and use the priority/business class lane at the airport, they tend to not charge you if you say its a golf bag and keep it under 23kg (50lbs).
Have I left anything out? Feel free to comment below to help others out with this kiting location. Also make sure to checkout my blog for many other reviews of kiting locations at www.ikite.surf
Also published on Medium.
I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this blog. Very Informative post.