Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kiteboarding Hawaii: Find a Ringside Seat

It was only a matter of time. Surfing has been around for centuries, a sport of Hawaiian Royalty, including the big guy himself, King Kamehameha I. Windsurfing—with a mast and sail fastened to a surfboard—is of more recent lineage, having begun a few decades ago in Maui and then spreading to the seven seas. Kiteboarding? It still looks like some machination of the future.

These dudes harness into a sail (that is calculated to body weight so as not to simply jerk them into the wild blue yonder) and head out over the waves, lofted skyway and making pendulum sweeps over the breaking crests. If headed to Hawaii, you gotta check it out:

1. On Kauai, the best view spot is Fuji Beach in Kapa'a, where a near shore reef allows for a pretty mellow take off. (The photo is from Haena Point on the north shore, a less frequent kiteboarding venue. Wave action and complicated reefs make for treacherous current.)

2. Mokulei Beach on Oahu's North Shore (west of Haleiwa and the famous surfing breaks) is the hot spot for kiteboarders. A narrow strip of sand with an onshore break makes entry tricky, so make sure to stay well back and give these guys room.

3. Maui, no suprise, is the best place to see kiteboarders in the Islands. The center of it all is Kanaha Beach Park, which is tucked away not far from the airport on Kahalui Bay. Farther down the shore at this same beach park is also a prime venue for windsurfers. Kiteboarders, ever seeking new stuff like their surfing compartriots, also have taken to tiny Waiehu Beach Park, on the other side of the bay north of Kahalui.

4. On the Big Island, kiteboarders capture the fierce winds at Kapalaoa Beach, just south of Anaeho'omalu Bay (A-Bay), which is near the Hilton Waikoloa.

Trailblazer guides have further details on where to watch kiteboarders, as well as surfers and windsurfers on all the islands.