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):
- Maui Windsurfing Company
- Naish Maui Pro Center
- Hi Tech
- Hawaiian Island surf & Sport
- Second Wind,
- Adventure Sports,
Kanaha Windsurfing Schools:
- HST -Hawaiian Sailboard Techniques,
- Action Sports Maui,
- Maui Sports Unlimited.
- Maui Summer Race Series; is the longest running windsurfing competition in the US.
- Aloha Classic Maui
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.