Non Kiteboarding Beaches
Upper Kanaha, Sign at Kanaha.
Why do we have Zones and Rules?
Maui has a wonderful resource of coastal areas and beaches that are the gateway to the ocean, The Hawaiian culture respected the Aina (land) and the Kai (ocean), they knew that the two were linked and needed the stewardship of the people. There has been a system of rules (Kapu) that have governed the use of these resources, and to protect the resources from overuse. For kiteboarders, access to beaches and waters is a privilege, and we must be aware that we share the resource with many other beach users and water users. There are many rules that govern our use of these areas. Some are federal laws, state statutes, county ordinances, and environmental restrictions, and agreements with other user groups. These rules ensure that the rights of others are protected, and that the resources themselves are well managed and protected too. Please do your part to be informed of the regulations, laws, and agreements that exist on our island, and then you will be able to participate in the sport of kiteboarding in a responsible and respectful manner.
Report dangerous Kiteboarders: Anyone breaking the rules runs the risk of causing accidents and injuries to others. This is unacceptable behavior. Any complaints about kiters or accidents involving kiters can result in the drastic reduction of access or total loss of access for ALL kiters. Do not let anyone jeopardize our access or behave badly. Report all aggressive or reckless kiteboarders to the Parks Rangers, MPD, or DOBOR (DLNR).
- Maui Police Department MPD Emergency: 9-1-1
- Maui Police Department MPD Non-emergency: (808) 244-6400
- Parks Rangers Enforcement: (808) 270-7230
- DOBOR (DLNR) Maui: (808) 243-5824
- DLNR Enforcement: (808) 643-DLNR
USA airspace around a 5 mile radius of international airports is controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration. For us, on Maui, a circle with a 5 mile radius is a very large area (78.54mi²). It stretches from Waiehu to Kuau, with the Kahului airport tower as the focal point of measure. Other areas of Maui like Kihei (Ohukai) and Napili (S-turns) may not be subject to the same FAA restrictions on the boundary of Kahului airport, but caution must be practiced at all times in these high traffic areas anyway. All kite flyers – within controlled airspace, are subject to Federal Aviation Regulations. One FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation), namely “(FAR) 101“, specifically addresses the operation of kites in controlled airspace. FAR 101 effectively prohibits all kitesurfing within five miles of any major Airport in the US.
To allow Kitesurfing within the Five mile controlled airspace, a special FAA “waiver” is currently being issued to the “Maui Kitesurf Community” ( https://www.facebook.com/MauiKitesurfCommunity/ ) Questions and concerns regarding the FAA Waiver should be directed to the MKC via the MKC Facebook page.
The waiver imposes specific restrictions on kitesurfing activities. The existence of the FAA’s waiver allows kiteboarding to continue in these areas. Every two years the waiver is renewed, and the FAA keeps a close eye on the kiteboarding activities. There are specific “waiver restrictions” that need to be complied with in order for us to maintain the waiver, and maintain our access to the north shore. Among the waiver restrictions is the prohibition of kitesurfing within the runway’s flight path corridor. The corridor is an extension of the runway, that encompasses the flight path of aircraft after take-off. For the safety of aircraft, people, and property, this corridor is kept clear of all kites, at all times.
Generally all state beaches are public. This applies to the area up to the high water mark or vegetation line. However access to the beach is often blocked by private land. Many ocean access ways and right of ways are marked on maps or signposted. Take care that you do not trespass on private land when accessing the beach. There are also other restrictions on the types of activity and use at these beaches. The state has a number of restrictions regarding ocean recreation, relating to types of approved use, areas and times. Every activity has to co-exist together within the framework of the state’s rules. DLNR officers will enforce the state and federal rules if required to.
Hotlines: DLNR Enforcement: (808) 643-DLNR
County & Parks Dept
They have yet another set of rules governing access times and usage restrictions for county beaches, parks, and county controlled areas.
County lifeguards have jurisdiction over water safety. They have the final word in many cases. They can ask you to leave the water or close the entire beach if safety is an issue. They can perform water rescues and searches.
To contact the lifeguards in an emergency, Call 9-1-1.
Park Rangers are relatively new and have the power to report problems, confiscate equipment, give citations relating to Parks and County related matters.
Maui Police Dept (MPD)
They have public safety as their major concern. In the case of criminal activity, thefts, violence, or disorderly conduct, they are the ones who will intervene. Police Emergency 9-1-1
Kanaha’s Kiting Beaches, are on either side of Ka’a Point. These beaches combined are sometimes erroneously referred to as “Kite Beach”. The beach is correctly called Kanaha Beach and it is used by many user groups, only one of which are the kiters. There are also many different types of water users that use these same areas, including canoe clubs, windsurfers, paddleboarders, foilers, wingsurfers, surfskis, kayakers, swimmers, surfers, and divers. Kiters do not have any special privileges to ride here, and they must always share the water with everyone else. A kiter can never tell another user to move or stop their activity.
This area has several dirt/gravel parking lots, and a sandy beach. The beach is shared by many different users. Fishermen, families, canoes, divers, swimmers, as well as sometimes kiters. Kiters should be aware that this beach can get very crowded with picnickers and fishermen, especially on Holidays. So always take care, and it is best to avoid this beach altogether when it is crowded. Always keep a look out for Fishing poles, and remember that the fishing lines can go very far out into the water. The protected cove is sometimes good for beginners. The spot just off the beach is sometimes called “Kook’s Cove” because of all of the crashing and kooks showing off there. Most self-respecting advanced riders will prefer to ride in the waves farther out at Boneyards Reef. Ka’a point has a big wind shadow that makes launching kites here especially difficult and the trees here have “eaten” many kites. The launching is usually better downwind where the wind is a lot cleaner. A short distance offshore and upwind is “Boneyards” with a shallow coral reef that creates a great waveriding area when the swell comes up. In winter the waves here can be massive and the outer reef will be virtually impassable, with 20 foot plus walls of whitewater. There are some submerged rocks and hazards that riders should be aware of. Especially at low tide. (Jumping the rocks here is strictly forbidden, see “swim zones”). Parking is limited. Never land your kite here if there are any people/kids on the beach. Always be considerate of other water users and beach users. People will often lose control and drop their kites here because of the wind-shadows and dirty wind, so always avoid a kiter or person who is relaunching. Watch out for all the rocks around Ka’a Point they are hazardous to kites. Please note that there are 5 rock jetties all of which have swim zones in between them, that means that there is no kiting allowed between the rock jettys. ALways watch for and avoid Turtles, and other marine life.
Ka’a point is a favorite area for local fishermen. and they will often park toward the far end of the parking area. the parking area is shaded by trees and has picnic tables. Do not interfere with the activities of the fishermen. if they are there, you move further down the beach to launch. It is very bad manners (and unlawful) to ask any fisherman to move once he has found his spot. If you do mess up a fishing line it is customary to offer an apology and some sort of compensation like a few beers etc. Never get into any confrontation and always be the first to apologize should any problem occur.
Ka’a point is also a popular swimming area for children. families will often fish, camp and swim at the same time. Stay clear of them. There is a shallow pool facing north (caused by sand mining and erosion in the 60’s), it is generally used by Keiki swimmers and fishermen. However, you should not kiteboard through there, because it is dangerous to yourself and others.
Action Beach (aka Beginner Beach)
Just downwind from Ka’a Point is “Action Beach”, This launch is home to kite schools and is suitable for intermediate kiters, and *supervised beginners. Sometimes called Beginner Beach because of the kite schools, but it still has its challenges. Launching here is a lot more difficult than the locals make it appear. Wind shadows from trees on the shoreline make it hard to get off the beach. It is definitely not an easy place for a beginner to launch on their own, so beginners should only launch here with the help of an experienced instructor. The wider sandy area is the main launch area, and so it is not a good place to set up your picnic blanket and umbrella. If you want to put your family in the shade, recommend that they go back farther under the trees. Trees tend to act like an “umbrella of safety” to protect bystanders from falling kites. The launch spot gets quite busy around noon, then starts to thin out in the afternoons. The launch here looks easier than it really is. Check out how the locals’ launch. Do not bring your kite directly overhead, because it will stall out. The upwind part of the beach is in usually the wind-shadow of Ka’a point, so the wind can be very turbulent. To launch here, you must keep the kite low on the water side (right-hand side) and start moving immediately towards the water. You will see the locals running sideways to the water. Do not stand there in one spot wondering which way your kite is going to fall. If you start running sideways you will at least create some apparent wind and keeps the kite in the air long enough to get safely into the water. Once in the water, you should drag away from shore before getting onto your board. The launch is not as difficult when the wind is side-on like in a true north-easter, but if the wind turns more easterly, the wind gets a lot more gusty and holey, and that makes the launching very challenging.
Canoe Beach (at Kanaha) (NO LAUNCHING)
Canoe Beach at lowers is upwind of “Old hale” and campground. It has the new yellow Lifeguard Tower and the Canoe Hale Wa’a. Just opposite the lifeguard depot, and public restrooms. There are showers here, barbeques, and volleyball courts. This area is mainly used by the canoe club, and the practice in front of this beach at all times, especially in summer. Kiteboarding is definitely forbidden at this beach. There are have been occasions in the past where the contests were sanctioned by DLNR (State) Special Use Permit. No kitesurfing is allowed at other times.
Lowers: The surf break known as lowers is a crowded surf and windsurf break just off canoe beach. It is forbidden to kiteboard in this break when any there are other users is in this area. The majority of problems that kiteboarders had in the past occurred in this area. The line is defined by the lifeguard tower at Kanaha.
Access from the Camp Ground’s gravel parking lot:
A favorite launch for kiteboarders is the beach adjacent to and downwind from the campgrounds. This is sometimes called “old man’s beach”. The parking is at the gravel lot or along the road. (Always lock your car). There is parking in the gravel parking lot for about 15 cars (sadly some are abandoned). On the left, there is a short trail to the beach. There are some nice shade trees and a relatively wide sandy beach. The campground here is a legitimate camping area. The camping area is currently closed, no camping is currently permitted at Kanaha Beach.
The Keyhole: There are also two rock groins that are located perpendicular to shore at the western end of the beach. Kitesurfers should be very careful to avoid crashing here. There is a big problem with homelessness and theft at these parks, so don’t stay around after dark, do not leave valuables unattended at any time, and always lock your car. Even then it may not be enough to guarantee any security. Even the sandwich in your cooler could disappear when you are not looking. Any unattended equipment tends to grow legs and walk away. And if you do relocate it you will be obliged to pay a finders fee to get it back. When launching at this beach it is always best to have a human helper, do not self-launch here if you can avoid it. Wait till you are clear of any other beachgoers before you launch. This beach can get crowded and has a large number of beginners, and almost beginners, so please be patient and help other riders when you see them struggling. The lower part of this beach is also known as “Naish Beach” or as the locals call it NASKA.
Naish Beach, located between the keyhole and the old hale which was reputedly (a WW2 era former girl-scout pavilion) is a popular kiteboarding beach on Maui. It is wider and sandier than kitebeach. Just the next beach east of kitebeach/ka’a point, it has two main entry points. The keyhole is a dirt road the leads to the western (downwind) end of the beach, and the campground Gravel parking lot, at the eastern (upwind) end on the beach, Sometimes called “lower-lowers” or lower canoe beach. It is shared by many non-kiters too. This small cove is where outrigger canoes sometimes paddle, so they always have the right of way. Especially when the Keiki (kids) groups are practicing. Kites should not launch when an outrigger canoe is practicing in the bay. It is recommended that Kites should try to stay at least 200 feet away from canoes at other times. There is also a camping ground at the eastern end. Kiteboarders need to be mindful of the other beach users that come here to enjoy this area.
The Old Hale, is the old WW2 Era girl scout pavilion (access currently closed to the structure). This access point has its entrance opposite the Ka’a Street/ Alaho Street intersection. Kiters park here and do a short walk through the spikey kiawe trees, to access this launch site. The Old Hale has been renovated and restored with a new roof (access to structure is currently off limits). Kiters park at the roadside and walk along a short path about 50 yards through the trees, and set up in front of the Old Hale. Take care when sailing directly out from this beach. The Bone Yard reef is directly in front and gets dangerously shallow, especially at low tide. Sail around the shallow reef, not through it. There is also a submerged concrete slab in front, look out for it too. Please show courtesy and respect and stay clear when others are using this area. Always take your trash with you, and pack out a little extra trash and keep the area clean. Do not abuse the vegetation here even the dune grass is a native plant that holds the dunes together. Do not damage the vegetation or drag gear across the grass here.
CAMPGROUND BEACH (NO KITEBOARDING) The area directly in front of the gravel parking lot is becoming known as campground beach. The parks dept has asked us to keep all kites out of this area. The beach in front of the campground is predominantly for the campers/swimmers use. Please do not set up or leave your kite gear in this area. The grassy area just beyond the tree line, is an area of native aki-aki grass, that helps to stabilize the dunes here and prevent erosion. So please do not trample this grass or any other vegetation. The very eastern end of this beach (in front of the campground) is a preferred swim zone and is buoyed by the lifeguards. So the area close to and around the raised concrete block is a considered a swim zone for many children. Launching kites is strictly forbidden from this end of the beach. To access the kiteboarder area of the beach from the gravel parking lot, you should use the pathway at the western side of the gravel lot, and set up your kites, and launch west of the pathway. FYI, Campground is permanently closed. Sign1 at Campground Beach,
The “Kitesurfing Area” is not just for Kiters, it is for everyone! It is just the area where kiters are allowed to go. Watch out for windsurfers, especially at the upwind edge of the ride area.
Kiters should not ride past the rock wall that runs along the edge of the “new yellow lifeguard tower”. Instead, stay West (harbor side) of the lifeguard tower.
is a sandy stretch of beach popular with fishermen and local surfers. Via Lower Waiehu Beach Road. Drive towards the Waiehu golf course. The beach is located in a residential community, so drive slow!! The parking area is along the shoreline on the right. There are a few porta-potties and not much else. The locals don’t really like kiteboarders, and kiting is not very common here yet, but it is used occasionally. This spot is best when the wind at Kanaha is too strong and too easterly. Then Waiehu has lighter steadier wind. Kiters at Waiehu will be riding a kite size or two larger than they would at Kanaha on a given day. The wind blows side-on from the left (port tack), because of the valley’s converging wind. The beach is very narrow so don’t crash into a tree, houses, or powerlines. Stay away from fishing lines, Waiehu is suited for more expert riders only and is definitely not suited for beginners.
Kahului Beach (Shitty Beach)
Kiting at this location is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the Water pollution from the KWWTF sewerage plant (Kahului Wastewater Treatment Plant). You can get very sick or develop a serious illness swimming here when the water quality is bad, which is most of the time. Most kiters would only use this area as a last-resort emergency exit point. Beware of the rock wall at Kahului Harbor. Downwind from the water plant, it is where many boards and kites end up after being blown away. Access is difficult so don’t get into trouble down here. Take care at the downwind end of the beach where there are many hazardous portions of eroded concrete pilings from a former pier and sometimes exposed. Beware of the Kahului harbor break wall, it consists of huge concrete blocks called “jacks’. These jacks get slimy and treacherous. Even if your board gets stuck here you may not want to retrieve it. There are no easy exits here at all, so take care not to get too far downwind. Do not try to walk back upwind with your kite flying. Once you land on the beach you are done, so pack your kite up and hike back out.
Sprecklesville / Stable Road (Private Houses). NO PUBLIC KITE LAUNCHING ALLOWED
Downwind (west) from Camp 1 is a group of luxury homes at the end of Stable Road. They have vacation rentals and ohanas for rent that are popular with windsurfers. The residents here have long claimed the right to launch from their private launches. However, this area actually lies within the half-mile clear zone of the Runway corridor. So technically there is no launching/landing allowed from this area. The is virtually no public access here unless you are renting one of these houses. You must respect the ocean rules; no windsurfing before 11 am, stay clear of non-kiters, and do not ride upwind into the runway corridor, or downwind into the windsurfing area at Kanaha. This area is not suitable for beginners and only for intermediate or advanced riders who can stay upwind and launch in cramped spaces.
Camp 1 NO KITEBOARDING ALLOWED
Camp One is the area located right off the end of the main runway, it is also a protected fishing area. At the far left along a dirt track was a windsurf launch that was popular years ago. This launch was well known to windsurfers. In the middle area however Windsurfers and Kitesurfers are totally restricted from launching. There is a protected fishing area here. See the signs posted there (pictured on right). But for kiting all this area lies too close to the Airport Runway. Kites launching or riding here would be directly in the flight path of planes taking off. You should never attempt to kiteboard here under any circumstances. The Federal Aviation Administration can fine you up to $3,300.00 if you interfere with the airport runway clear zone.
Sprecks Beach, (also known as Euro beach), NO KITEBOARDING ALLOWED
Sprecklesville has been very well know to windsurfers for many years. It is accessed from Stable road and then a winding dirt road that follows the shoreline under the kiawe trees. The road ends in a sandy parking area, there are porta-potties (toilets) and shady trees. The beach is long and sandy with a shallow reef just offshore. Recent errosion has caused much of the sand to disappear. The wind here is usually strong and side-shore. But unfortunately for kitesurfers, Sprecks lies inside the Airport Runway corridor. The Sprecks beach is off limits to kiteboarding. Kites launching here would interfere with the airport runway clear zone. Sprecks Beach lies within the mandated corridor that is specified in the FAA Waiver that allows kiteboarding on Maui’s North Shore.
Sugar Cove (Private Launch). NO PUBLIC KITE LAUNCHING ALLOWED
Located upwind of the FAA no-fly-zone, are a few private residences at Lobster Cove and Sugar Cove, that have access to the water. Kitesurfing is no longer allowed from these private residences, because of repeated complaints from the FAA tower about this location. The Airport Corridor cuts past this beach at fifty feet from shore and goes sharply upwind. It is not possible to launch from here without transgressing into the no-fly zone You also can not ride downwind from here because it will place you directly in the Runway flight path. This beach is a favorite with longtime windsurfer vacationers because they can rent the condos right on the beach and keep their equipment rigged and ready, then they can step onto the sand and launch. There is usually a wind-shadow, they will swim out to the wind-line. Complaints from local residents have made this launch off-limits to kiteboarders. The nearest launches from here at Kanaha Beach or Lanes.
Sugar Cove Beach (Public Access). Windsurfing, SUP, and Wingsurf only. No Kiting. There is one public access way to the beach at Sugar Cove, to get there, Turn off highway 360, halfway between Stable Road and Baldwin beach, you will see Nonohe Place. Drive to the end of Nonohe and turn left at the “T”. Drive to the end of Paani Place and park. There is not much parking, so do not block any driveways, and then you can walk down to the “Shoreline Access” path to the right, it that leads to a sandy beach at Sugar Cove.
Kuau (NOT RECOMMENDED)
Kuau is a residential area close to Hookipa, and it is popular with windsurfers. It is a rocky headland packed with houses that line the waterfront. Kuau’s shoreline has a rocky launch that is well known among windsurfers, it is a horrible (virtually impossible) place to launch a kite, even if you are very skilled. But the wave offshore can be accessed if you are launching at Lanes, But don’t come crying to anyone if you drop your kite and get munched into the rocks, and trash your gear, etc. This is definitely an un-patrolled zone. There is virtually no parking here so you may need to get dropped off or hike in. There is a shoreline access sign, and a narrow path that leads to the ocean, and a very rocky shoreline. There is a keyhole through the reef that may make a slightly easier place to launch (for windsurfers). Once you get out there could be some serious wave conditions just offshore. When there is a decent swell running, this wave is not to be trifled with, and is for advanced wave riders only. See the picture on the right for an idea of the wave action you might find there.
Baldwin Beach (No Kiteboarding)
Baldwin is a Swimming and Surfing Beach, with a Lifeguard on Duty, there is no Kiteboarding allowed here, and no launching and landing Kites here either. The beach is accessed through Baldwin Beach Park.
Lanes (Wana Beach) EXPERTS ONLY
Lanes is for experts only. Lanes consists of a rock shelf and a keyhole for launching. It takes skills to launch here without getting dragged across the rocks. A good idea to wear booties. Have a reliable person launch your kite for you. You will have to wait for a good gust before you launch, because there is a bit of a wind shadow here. Just a few hundred yards offshore is a reef-line that creates the well-formed waves. Some of the largest kite-able waves on Maui are found here. There are several deep channels that allow the rider to get out the back when the waves are big. This is an experts-only area. With serious consequences, if you bail in big waves. If you stall out your kite on a big wave and get slack lines, get out of there, go sideways if you can, but you do not want to get wrapped in your lines. On smaller days this spot is relatively easy to ride. It is the launching and landing that presents the biggest challenge. Also, it could be “possible” to ride lanes in a Kona wind (side offshore), but it is extremely dangerous if you get blown out to sea. Which is a definite possibility, so it is generally not worth the risk.
Ho’okipa (No Kiting. No Launching)
Characterized by a rocky shoreline and strong currents. This beach is popular for surfing and windsurfing. The sandy part of the beach is actually not that big so it gets crowded very easily. A Ho’okipa there is a “ten-man rule”, which means that if there are more than ten surfers in the water, you can not go out on your windsurfer. In the morning the beach is the domain of divers and surfers. There is no windsurfing before 11 am (11 o’clock rule), No windsurfing if there are more than 5 surfers at the “H’poko” break. This means that there is no room left for kiteboarders. Ho’okipa is an important beach for watersports, the crown jewel of the North Shore, and it should not be overused or abused. For Surfers, there are three main breaks at Ho’okipa, From west to east they are, H’poko, Middles, and Pavilions. Pavilions is a surfing-only break, and is usually in a wind-shadow anyway (that’s why it is a good surfing break), Windsurfers will find the waveriding is at H’poko with some cross-over to middles. the waves can be ridden upwind, then a downwind bear-away wave-ride towards the rocky point and a last-minute exit out the channel.
Memorial Park (Ohukai Beach), Experts Only
This south shore beach has excellent fishing, swimming, windsurfing and occasionally kite-surfing. Facilities include picnic tables, showers, and restrooms. Wintertime whale sightings are almost guaranteed, kiteboarders and windsurfers must keep clear of whales by at least 200ft. This small beach park has been a favorite venue for windsurfers for years. When the wind is northerly it can blow strong side-shore from the right. There is a shallow reef (3-5 feet) just offshore that throws off some nice small waves too, especially during a nice summer southerly swell. The beach and launch area is narrow and limited, and the park is tree-lined, which helps to keep errant kites from getting too close to the road. The tree barrier is located along the widest section of the beach. The best place to launch is near the blue pavilion, or at the sandy point just north of the pavilion. Do not launch too close to the road, or close to other beach users. When exiting, bring your kite down early and self-exit if necessary. In the early days, a few kites went over the road here, so be super careful. There can be a deceptively strong shore break here, even when the waves are small. this beach is good when the winds blow “Kona” too. Kona winds blow from the southwest, and create side-onshore winds. Do not get close to whales or other marine life here.
Whale Sanctuary (kalepolepo)
The sandy beach north of the blue whale house is a good access point in kona winds. The sandy beach is one of the wider launch areas on the south shore. There is a small river mouth here. The beach is surrounded by sensitive dune areas and wetland habitat, so please only use the proper pathways to access the beach here. As always care must be taken when riding these areas close to roads and houses. these south shore beaches are short and separated by rocky points. so access between the beaches is often limited to the roadway. Only confident upwind riders should ride at this location. If you get down-winded on another beach you may have to walk back to your launch site along the side of the busy roadway, take care to carefully pack up your gear into a small tidy package before attempting to walk along the road’s shoulder. There are no sidewalks along this stretch of road. Do not get hit by a passing car.
Wailea Keawakapu (Sidewalks)
Keawakapu is a long sandy beach that is often packed crowded with sun worshippers, and children at play. Only if you can find a wide open area to launch from it is possible to ride here. But it is better as a place to launch when doing a Kona down-winder to Kihei. Always keep clear of other beach users, and never launch over the heads of non-kiters. The central entrance to Keawakapu Beach is also known to surfers as “Sidewalks”, perhaps after the sidewalk, you have to walk down to get to it. Keawakapu literally means “The Forbidden (or Sacred) Harbor” in Hawaiian. Keawakapu Beach is the last beach on South Kihei Road. As you are driving south on South Kihei Road, you will pass the Kihei Boat Ramp on the right, and then a sign for the Maui Mana Kai. There is a gravel parking lot on the right just after this sign. The last entrance (south) has showers and a porta-potty.
Waipuilani Park Kihei
Waipuilani Park is a popular windsurfing spot. and has been a local kiteboarding launch for several years, intermediate and advanced riders only. This site is not suitable for beginners. It has a lot of shallow reef and rocks offshore, and numerous palm trees along the shoreline which makes launching and landing kites difficult. The park is very nice with 20-acres of grassy lawn. Not good at low tide because of scrapes to feet and other extremities. The locals usually make riding here look easy, but they have figured out where all the rocks are, and they stay away from shallow areas. If you do crash here, stay shallow. Do not dive into the water headfirst, or perpendicular to the water. Try to splat and stay at the surface. There is only very limited parking for about a dozen cars, so it fills up quickly. Lock up your valuables, because theft in these parking areas is very common. Always call the police if you have anything stolen. This place is best in a northerly of southwest Kona wind. This spot is only suitable for Intermediate to advanced riders. There will be a fun wave during a southerly swell. Beware at low tide. Sometimes the side-shore wind will suddenly turn side-off around sunset so don’t stray too far from shore or you might be in for a long swim. Beware of Turtles and *other marine life.
Ma’alaea, mud flats (Southerly winds only)
Ma’alaea’s beaches can be very very windy. There are no white sandy beaches at Maalaea Harbor but there is a surfing wave break called Freight Trains that is considered to be one of the fastest breaks in the world during certain times of the year. Just south of Maalaea Harbor is an area sometimes called the Maalaea Mud Flats. Most of Maalaea’s condominium complexes are located near this area. It’s a rocky/sandy shoreline area that is a good board surfing and body surfing spot during the winter months when the waves are up. There is a rock ledge just offshore so be careful entering the water. This is one of the only places in Kona onshore winds, and the conditions are very average at best. Strong stormy Kona winds can get quite hectic, so take care not to boost close to shore, and always weigh down your kites with plenty of sand. Don’t kite here in offshore winds. Beware of whales here and *other marine life (sharks) .
Ukumehame Beach Park (South winds only)
Ukumehame Beach Park is on the Hono’apiilani Highway between the Pali and Lahaina. It is a very small park, with limited facilities. It has a nice beach and is a good place to stop for a quick swim or a picnic lunch. It is only kite-able and working in a Kona (southerly) onshore wind. Take care when launching because the road is close to the shoreline. Never kite here in a northerly wind, because the strong offshore gusty conditions will blow you out to sea. The offshore winds are often extreme here because they funnel down the valleys.
S-Turns, Kaanapali, Embassy Suites, CURRENTLY CLOSED TO KITEBOARDERS
Due to too many incidences, this “Embassy” beach is currently closed to kiteboarders. This Westside beach features the Embassy hotel, this is a large beach full of tourist and has multiple uses. This beach has public restrooms and showers. Popular for beginner surfing, diving, swimmers and snorkelers, and usually more than its fair share of sunbathers. This place only works in kona’s and northerly winds. There is a wind shadow in easterly winds. Always take extreme care when kiting close to non-kiters. Remember that swimmers always have right-of-way, and that you should stay 200 feet away from divers. There will often be a marked swim zone, delimited by the yellow/red flags. And of course, there is absolutely no kiting ever allowed close to or inside these marked swim zones. The photo was taken during the annual Molokai Crossing, where windsurfers and kiteboarders depart from Embassy Suites and rode across to the neighboring island of Molokai (here is a picture of us waiting for the wind).
D.T.Fleming & Ironwood (Shitty’s) Beach
These beaches on the “upper Westside” of Maui are best in northerly trades. When the wind comes more onshore. If the trades are even the slightest bit easterly there the wind will be side-off and will create gusty conditions close to shore. Once out in the Pailolo Channel, the conditions can get quite rough. Be prepared for rolling swell and strong winds. Do not ride too far from shore, because if your kite goes down, it is likely that you will get blown farther away from shore. It is always best to ride with a buddy. We use the westside launch sites when the wind is side-onshore (northerly). You don’t want to get stranded swimming out in the channel after dark. If you get in trouble here you could get blown to shipwreck beach on the island of Lanai. Always stay clear of swimmers and surfers, and do not launch here when the beach is crowded. This is a very popular beach with locals and families, so it gets very busy on weekends and public holidays.