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SOS – Save our Sand.

SOS – Save our Sand.

SOS – Save our Sand.

Maui has experienced significant loss of beachfront in the last few decades and the problem is getting worse. The causes are not fully understood. But there is agreement that beach nourishment by sand replenishment is the best way to slow the loss of sand from our beaches. Shoreline armoring just shifts the erosion to the neighboring beaches and shoreline.

The two local sources for replacement sand are, mining sand from inland sites, or dredging off-shore areas and pumping a wet slurry of sand-laden seawater back onto the beach. Inland sand mining is cheaper than dredging sand from the seafloor. I have heard that the sand from dunes near Wailuku is mined at a rate of more than 300,000 tons a year, and is mostly shipped to Honolulu to be used in the manufacture of concrete. It is estimated that at the current rate of extraction that Maui’s supplies of inland sand will run out in 5-7 years. Maui needs to keep all of its own supply of replenishment sand. Sooner or later Maui will need this local supply of sand for its own uses including, replenishing the beaches here. When we run out of local sand stocks, we will have to start importing sand from elsewhere at a much higher price. We need our beaches for recreation and to stabilize the shorefront homes and other buildings that would otherwise be consumed by the sea. Please spare a thought for the plight of our beautiful beaches and save our sand before it is too late.

Sand Barge being loaded with Maui Sand in preparation to export it to Oahu.

Sand Export is Accelerating: The rate of sand export is accelerating and now at least 96 of these barges per year take Maui sand to Oahu, that is about two of these barge fulls per week. *look closely and you can see the back end of a semi-truck on the barge unloading a full load of sand. It is estimated that Maui is losing over 2 million tons of sand that are being shipped out to Oahu each year.

Click here to read more about the Sand Export Problem on Maui

Windsurfing at Kanaha Beach

Windsurfing at Kanaha Beach

Windsurfing at Kanaha Beach

Kanaha Beach is known as one of the best places to windsurf in the world. Warm water and reliable trade winds are ideal for this popular water-sport. Kanaha Beach is favored by Maui’s unique geography. The west Maui mountains and Mt. Haleakala form a valley that is perfectly aligned to funnel the trade-winds blowing from the North east. The trade-winds become squeezed along the north shore and into the Kahului bay, this makes the wind stronger at Kanaha Beach and from the ideal direction. Maui is lucky to have a Kanaha Beach that is blessed with so many natural assets. When you come to Kanaha Beach you will see the beginners learning in the light morning winds in the eastern cove, and then at 11am and afterward the experts come out to play. Kanaha Beach is an excellent place to see all levels of windsurfing, beginner to expert on display.

The Sport of Windsurfing: Windsurfing was a sport that was invented by Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake in 1967. It quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. Early adopters of the sport were the Hawaiians, with year round wind and warm water Hawaii was a natural place to practice the sport. Hawaii had no shortage of accomplished water-men (and women) ready to try the sport. Hawaii has produced many icons of the sports, legends, and many world champions. Some names are legendary, and have become industry icons. With millions of participants worldwide, and now an Olympic sport, Windsurfing now is an international sport with competitions in multiple windsurfing disciplines, and world tours, as well as a recreational market as well. Windsurfing has now been around for about 50 years and is now often a family affair. Especially at Kanaha Beach you can often see several generations windsurfing together. Windsurfing is now a family sport, and we sometimes even see three generations sailing together at once.

Professional Career Opportunities: For as few dedicated windsurfers, there is the opportunity for the career path of a professional athlete. Maui has a great representation of professionals at every level of their career. Even at Kanaha Beach we have a large community world class professional windsurfers, active and semi-retired, and many current up-and-coming athletes. This makes Maui an ideal environment for creating and training athletes. Stiff competition, mentoring, and professional level sports specific fitness training, gives Maui windsurfing athletes a great advantage.

Maui windsurfing legends: Maui’s best known windsurfer is Robbie Naish,  a 13x world windsurfing champion, who is also famous for his company Naish International based on Maui that make some of the worlds best water-sports equipment. Pete Cabrinha, who designed his own brand  windsurf gear, and his name is associated with top brands. Maui legends include, Francisco Goya, Jason Prior, Dave Kalama, Rush Randle, Mike Waltz, Laird Hamilton, Jason Polakow, Josh and Jason Stone, Mark Angulo, Josh Angulo, Rhonda Smith Sanchez, Kevin and Matt Pritchard,  Sean Ordonez, Jenna de Rosnay, Fred Hayward, Alan Cadiz, Alex Aguera, Robby Seeger, Phil McGain, and many more.

This impressive list can not be simply defined as windsurfing legends, because they are often masters of multiple sports disciplines. Many have created diverse careers including cross-over with other sports, created new hybrid sports, had successful endeavors, and adventures.

Famous designers and creative innovators include: Keith Teboul, Barry Spanier, Jimmy Lewis, Kai Hopf, Dave Mel, Dave Ezzy,

The Renaissance of Paia Towne: Back in the late 70’s Paia got a boost from the influx of windsurfers coming to Maui to experience the Maui Windsurfing lifestyle and culture, this helped the local economy and allowed Paia town to reemerge as a vibrant and bustling surf town. The surfing lifestyle economy saved Paia. Now as many of the windsurfers are growing more mature and responsible they are creating more long term businesses, including shops, factories, making gear, clothing, and restaurants. This has helped make made Paia a focal point for tourism creating many local jobs and business opportunities for the local community, and attracted other local companies to invest in Paia.

New generation of Maui Windsurfers: Many younger windsurfers got a start in Kids windsurfing camps at Kanaha Beach, which has been the nursery that has produced many current word champions, Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Ashley Baxter, Zane Schweitzer (Son of Matt Schweitzer, grandson of Hoyle Schweitzer, ), Harley Stone (pro windsurfer), Savannah Stone (pro surfer),  Pro-windsurfer Jake Miller, Bernd Roediger, just to mention a few

Maui Windsurfing Industry: Maui is at the forefront of design and innovation, many of the worlds top windsurfing equipment companies are either based here or design their gear here. This industry provides many jobs and careers for local people, and make an important contribution to Maui’s economy. Maui’s industry depends on reliable year round conditions for developing and testing new equipment. Kanaha Beach is a test bed where new prototypes and products are developed before being sold to the rest of the world. When a new product is ready for the market, you can often see the pro-sailors doing photo shoots at Kanaha Beach, This is when you see a bunch of windsurfers with a helicopter flying close overheard, they are shooting next years catalogue. Equipment testing at Kanaha Beach, is a common occurrence, all the new gear from all the manufacturers is a big deal, magazines and independent gear testers come to Kanaha from all over the world to test the latest ad greatest windsurfing gear. Not only gear made and designed on Maui, but from all over., The gear is out through its paces and thoroughly tested and compered to see which is the best, these results are published in magazines and websites, the results can really help the suggests of the different products as they will be sold to a very discerning world-wide market.

Maui Windsurf Equipment Companies: Maui Sails, Naish, Ezzy Sails, Goya sails, Goya Windsurfing, Hi Tech, Simmer Style, S2Maui Sails, DaKine, Sailboards Maui, Angulo Boards, Hot Sails Maui, Nelson Factory, Quatro Windsurfing, Tectonics Maui, SOS Shapes, Goya Windsurfing, Maui Fin Company, Black Project Fins, Naish Windsurfing.

Local Windsurfing Shops (and gear rentals):

Kanaha Windsurfing Schools:

Windsurfing Competitions:



Polynesian Wind Surfing History:

Windsurfing, as a sport and recreational activity, did not emerge until the latter half of the 20th century. But before this, there have been sailing boats of various designs that have used wind as the driving force for millennia, and Polynesians have been riding waves for many of them, undertaking day trips over oceans standing upright on a solid board with a vertical sail.[9]

WW2 history at Kanaha

WW2 history at Kanaha

WWII Artifacts at Kanaha:

World War 2 –  WWII, brought dramatic changes to Kanaha. the building of the NAS, Naval Air station in Kahului, aka “NASKa”.  (Now known as Kahului Airport – OGG). There are also coastal fortifications for artillery, as well as new roads, and recreational; facilities for the troops. Artifacts and evidence of our history are spread throughout the beach and dunes. Unfortunately there seems to have been no effort to preserve these artifacts and many are still undocumented. If you explore the area you will find many interesting and intriguing things.

Military on Maui during WWII: Maui was a huge training area for the military during the war. There were two major airfields, and camps and training areas all over the island.

Preserve our History: Please do not take away or disturb any artifacts as they are part of the historical record, and give us information about our recent history.

Here is a shoreline bunker, it was originally on land but shoreline erosion has caused it to be in the ocean.

(*Since before the war and up until the late 1970’s sand mining and sand removal continued in these areas for decades accelerating the beach loss).

This is what appears to be an artillery placement, and it is adjacent to a concrete bunker at Ka’a Point. Once it would have had a 270 degree view of the Kahului bay, but it is now surrounded by Kiawe trees.

This rusting collection of metal includes rails and rail wheels. Is it part of the same installation or is it something different? There is all kinds of metal pieces strewn all over this area, presumably from ww2 era equipment.

Here is a concrete bunker hidden in the dunes behind the beach.

WW2 Fighter Plane Wreck
WW2 Fighter Plane Wreck

Click Here to See the WW2 Era officers Club at Kanaha Beach © 2023
Dune plant habitat at Kanaha

Dune plant habitat at Kanaha

NATIVE PLANTS: native Plants include, indigenous, endemic and endangered species. native plants have persisted despite competition from invasive species. Re-vegetation programs, and weed control have brought back the flora to near pristine condition in many areas. Native plants are b Volunteer waters native plants (Ma'o = native cotton plant) at Kanaha Beach restoration project area.est suited to the dry coastal environment and once established thrive here. Natives provide an important part of the coastal ecosystem, Stabilizing dunes, trapping moisture, shading the ground, habitat and food source for native insects and fauna. Kanaha’s established flora has become a repository for many species. Seeds are collected here for the reforestation projects on the island of Kaho’olawe and other areas. Indigenous plants are used in traditional Lei making, and for medicine and other practical purposes. Native plant destruction from off-road beach driving has been reduced and controlled with the addition of  beach fences and designated driveways and parking areas. The efforts of many hard working volunteers have made all the difference in the revival of Kanaha’s Flora over the years. To ensure that Kanaha’s natural beauty will be preserved for future generations.

Indigenous and endemic Native Species: These plants occur naturally in Hawaii, either migrating here as seeds floating on  the ocean, or carried by birds and wind. The endemic plants have evolved into unique species that are found nowhere else in the world. Many plants are endangered because of the destruction to their natural habitat. Some of the endemic/endangered plants at Kanaha are species unique to Maui. In some cases there are only several hundred individual plants of a single species remaining in the wild, therefore every individual plant is important for the perpetuation of the species.

Indigenous or endemic plants at Kanaha include: Iliahialoe (Santalum ellipticum), Naupaka (Scaevola sericea), Dwarf Naupaka (Scaevola coriacea), Pohuehue (Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis), (ipomoea_indica), Pohinahina (Vitex rotundifolia), Akia (Wikstroemia uva-ursi), Ilima papa (sida fallax), Nehe (Lipochaeta integrifolia),  Nama (Nama sandwicensis) Aeae (Bacopa monnieri), Ihi (portulaca_lutea, portulaca molokiniensis),  Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis), Loulu (Pritchardia sp.), Popolo (Solanum nelsonii), Hinahina (Heliotropium anomalum var. argenteum), Nena (Heliotropium curassavicum), Ohai (Sesbania tomentosa), Naio (Myoporum sandwicense).

Hawaiian (Polynesian) Traditional Plants: It is believed that this group of plants were first brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian settlers hundreds of years ago. Chants and oral history tell how these highly valued plants were brought along on the original sailing-canoe voyages from (Tahiti). The best known examples include, Milo (Thespesia populnea), Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Kou (Cordia subcordata ), Ti leaf (Cordyline fruticosa), Taro (), Coconut (Niu)  Hala tree (Pandanus tectorus). These trees are considered sacred to Hawaiians and have many uses in traditional culture. The living plant, the wood, sap, leaves, roots, fruits and flowers may be used in a variety of ways. Some woods are used in canoe building, fish-trap making, tools, and sacred objects. The spiny leaves of the Hala tree called “Lau hala” were made into cloth by weaving. The flowers of certain plants have medicinal properties, and the flowers, seeds, sap and bark are sometimes used to make dyes.

Sail Safe Guidelines for windsurfing on Maui

Sail Safe Guidelines for windsurfing on Maui

Maui Boardsailing Association

Sail Safe Guidelines for windsurfing on Maui

In the interest of promoting safe and enjoyable windsurfing for everyone on Maui, the Maui Boardsailing Association has drawn up the guidelines for beach and water etiquette and safety. Please respect other beach users, and adhere to these guidelines so we can continue to enjoy this great water sport on our island.


Please Observe the Following Guidelines:

● SWIMMING AREAS marked by buoys. DO NOT sail, launch or jibe within these areas. See attached map for “No Boardsailing” and “Swimming Only” zones.
● SLOW NO-WAKE ZONE – 200 feet from all beaches.
● NO JIBING within 200 feet of all beaches. 200 feet CLEAR ZONE AROUND ALL DIVERS.
● Current WEATHER reports and forecasts.
● DO NOT sail in offshore winds.
● KNOW and COMPLY with ALL NAVIGATION rules applicable to sail powered craft.
● DO NOT sail in areas or conditions which EXCEED your SAILING SKILLS.
● The Hookipa 5 man rule at Middles and 10 man rule at H’Poko.
● TO ALL swimmers, snorkelers, divers, surfers, fishermen and waterstarters.
● TO SAILOR on starboard tack.
● USE CAUTION in areas shared by divers, swimmers, snorkelers, and fishermen as they have right of way.
● MOVE your rig at least 40 feet from water’s edge.
● PREVENT “FLY-AWAYS” – Secure your rig at all times.
● NO BOARDSAILING at Baldwin Beach or Paia Beach Park.
● NO SAILING at Kanaha or Camp One before 11:00 am (With exception for beginners).
● To protect our whales, the law requires that you maintain a safe distance from them: KIHEI – minimum 100 yards Violators of this law are subject to a maximum fine of $25,000.

Maui’s beaches and ocean environment belong to everyone. Be safe, considerate, and keep beach areas clean of litter and trash. SAIL-SAFE – MAUI STYLE
415 Dairy Road, Suite A Kahului, Maui, HI 96732


  1. Promote the “Sail Safe” program and educate residents and tourists on “Sail Safe” rules and etiquette.
  2. Promote relations with other ocean users. Develop a program for satisfactory “mutual use” of the ocean, respecting others’ rights and maintaining responsible windsurfing rights.
  3. Accept input, ideas and suggestions from MBA members at regular meetings to solve present and future problems.
  4. Develop and sponsor events for the purpose of uniting the windsurfing community and benefiting the community at large.
  5. Serve as the unified voice, the “spokesperson” for all media, political and community contacts.
  6. Act as forum for the windsurfing community to air views, ideas and suggested actions.
  7. Act as liaison with community and political groups and representatives to further relations and advance responsible use of the ocean and beaches.
  8. Develop an active “Beach patrol Program” for policing rules.
  9. Protect and develop the rights of people who wish to windsurf and to maximize the enjoyment of the sport by developing solutions to growth-related problems.

415 Dairy Road, Suite A, Kahului, Maui, HI 96732


Above guidelines courtesy of   MBA – MAUI BOARDSAILING ASSOCIATION

Sea-life at Kanaha

Sea-life at Kanaha

Turtles live year round in the waters off Kanaha, some will Honu is Hawaiian for Turtle. occasionally come ashore to build nests and lay eggs. If you see a turtle hauled out on the beach stay away from it and let it rest. If you see a turtle’s nest do not disturb it. It is best if you can report its location to the lifeguards so that they can protect it from harm. Turtle species we see at Kanaha include some endangered species such as the Green sea turtle, Hawksbill, and Leatherback. Turtles (Honu) do their part eating algae and some species will eat jellyfish. Unfortunately they occasionally eat trash (perhaps mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish) and get sick.

When enjoying water sports, paddling or windsurfing etc, please keep an eye out for Turtles in the water and do everything you can to avoid them. Respect them in their home, and actively avoid disturbing them in any way.

Marine mammals you can see at Kanaha include:

  • The Hawaiian monk seal (`Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua.),
  • Dolphins (spinner, bottlenose, and spotted) (Nai’a in Hawaiian) and
  • Whales (Kohola).

All marine mammals are protected from harm or harassment in Hawaiian waters. Do not approach a marine mammal or attempt to interfere with them in any way.

SHARKS (Mano) species include, Grey (Mano), Whitetip reef (Mano lalakea), hammerhead, and Tiger shark (Niuhi). Occasionally Hawaiian waters are home to the Whale Shark (which is more shark than whale). Sharks rarely attack humans, however you should always use caution when entering the ocean. Never go into the ocean if you are cut or bleeding. Stay away from dead fish, fishermen, nets. Stay away from streams and rivers especially after rain, and when the water is murky from rainfall runoff. Do not swim too far from shore, alone or at night. Do not enter the water if there has been a shark sighting. Follow warning signs and directives of the lifeguards. If you see a shark while swimming, swim calmly to shore, do not splash excessively, and try to keep your eye on the shark at all times.

Cane Toads on Maui

Cane Toads on Maui

Cane Toad: Rhinella marina were first introduced to Oahu, Hawaii in 1932. 148 Toads were released by sugar growers to control sugar cane beetles. Descendants of this original introduction were subsequently spread, intentionally, throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and is a major pest on all islands including Maui. The Toads couldn’t do a good job of controlling the cane beetle as the sugar cane stalks are often towering 6-8 feet high so most of the cane beetles sitting on the stalks were out of reach for the ground dwelling toads. The introduction of cane toads was a biological blunder and failure of epic proportions. Toads in Hawaii have no natural predators, they reproduce quickly and have little or no competition. The intentional release of this alien species of cane toads by the Sugar Cane industry was an ecological disaster for the Hawaiian islands because these toads indiscriminately preyed upon local insects and native frog species. Cane Toads produce toxic compounds through their skin, so do not touch them, or let your animals lick or bite them.

Cats at Kanaha

Cats at Kanaha

Feral Cats (are abundant in the coastal areas. Most of the cats you see are part of cat communities set up by the humane society. Individual cats have been captured then spayed or neutered to prevent further breeding. Then they are released into one of several “communities” where they are monitored and fed by volunteers. Cat communities are a humane alternative to the immediate destruction of wild cats. Sadly people continue to dump their unwanted pets at Kanaha, so the animals are victims of this man-made problem. Many cats from Kanaha Beach are rescued and taken to the shelter where they are adopted into new homes. This important work is done by volunteers, and members of the Maui Humane Society. If you want a new pet, please adopt one from the MHS,

Mongoose on Maui

Mongoose on Maui

Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) were introduced to help control rats. They now run wild all over the island, they probably do more harm to bird species than any rats. Mongoose move very fast and are usually shy, Most people will catch a fleeting glimpse of one when they dart in to the bushes at the edge of the roadway. In several camping areas mongoose have become emboldened and less wary of Man. They will stroll around the campgrounds looking for food scraps. The mongooses found in Hawai’i are native to India and were originally introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1883 by the sugar industry to control rats in sugarcane fields on Maui, Moloka’i and O’ahu.