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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]

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