Friday, July 10, 2009

Wings over Maui

Who would guess that if you jet out the 'back way' when renting a car at the Maui airport that run right into the kiteboarding capitol of the free world, Kanaha Beach Park. Being close to the airport is usually not a big selling point for beaches, but Kanaha is a real find for several reasons. Windsurfers also hang at the opposite end of the two-mile beach (just south of Kahalui), making this beach park a double-feature for visitors wanting to watch the colorful show.

Kanaha also has an appealing backshore with huge shade trees and an expansive lawn pocketed with picnic tables. With a short walk away from the action you reach private coves perfect for a day at the beach with excellent swimming and fair snorkeling. The view is across the big bay to the West Maui Mountains. (You can actually walk a few miles to Paia on coastal trails.) A little-visited bird-watching preserve with several ponds is across the sleepy road from the park. See page 98 of Maui Trailblazer.

Kiteboarding has become the next big thing for adventure sports nuts. They use toe clips on the board and a harness that is attached from the rider's waist to the kite—which is calculated to have enough lift to swing over waves, but not enough to pull the rider into the wild blue yonder. Taking off from the beach is tricky.