Hawaii Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Posing with our gear (circa mid 80's!)
Windsurfing... Sailing & Surfing
Hawaii windsurfing and kitesurfing is as good as it gets and it's no wonder that it all started here in the islands.
When my wife, Dawn, and I started windsurfing back in the eighties, little did I know that it would become my biggest passion for over ten years! At that time, the “crowd” of windsurfers on a windy day at our home spot in Kailua made it difficult to find a spot in the launch area to lay down your rig.
The Hawaii windsurfing scene was one of mild chaos with experienced sailors zipping in and out amidst a constant herd of beginners struggling to pull their sails out of the water then falling over backwards as the sail came up. But Hawaii windsurfing times have changed, at least in Kailua. Nowadays, when the wind is blowing, you might find three to four windsurfers in all of Kailua Bay and perhaps three to four times as many kitesurfers.
Yet, despite the diminished windsurfing activity here on Oahu, there couldn't be a better time to pick up the sport! The level of equipment available to windsurfers now, whether they’re rank beginners or hardcore experts, is like night and day when compared to what we used a few short years ago!
After so many attempts and wipeouts, I finally nail a "duck-jibe"!
Beginner rigs are stable and enable a much quicker learning curve while the “high-tech” rigs offer the utmost in lightness, speed, and sailing efficiency to turn harder, jump higher, and increase the number of flips or rotations!
Hawaii Windsurfing Locations:
Kailua Beach, , on Oahu, is often considered the home of Hawaii windsurfing... or the world for that matter, due in large to one of its most famous residents, one Robby Naish, the biggest name in windsurfing bar none! As a kid, Robby took to the cumbersome rigs of the day and pushed the level of performance to where it eventually attracted scores of others fascinated by the speed and exhilaration of the then “new” sport. The whole Naish family became immersed in windsurfing--putting out cutting edge boards and sails and then, when kitesurfing began to take hold, augmented their expertise and inventory to cater to the growing fans of kitesurfing, too.
Perhaps the lull in windsurfing might make it a very good time to take up the sport as equipment costs have stayed relatively low due to the lower demand and learning in a less crowded area would always make for a much more relaxed experience. The best Hawaii windsurfing spots are definitely on the islands of Maui and Oahu primarily due to the more convenient launching conditions at the prime spots and of course, for the experienced sailors, waves!
On Maui, both of the hotspots are on the island’s north side. Kanaha Bay right near the Kahului Airport offers strong steady winds which blow parallel to the shore (perfect for zipping in and out) and the famous Ho’okipa Beach which offers the best wavesailing (windsurfing in waves) in Hawaii, and possibly the world! In Maui, the morning hours are generally greeted by light winds which increase almost always to a strong 25+ miles per hour by the early afternoon, except the week Dawn and I flew over for our Maui windsurfing vacation! Here you’ll find windsurfing/kitesurfing shops like Maui Sailboards and Hi-Tech which have been at the forefront of the windsurfing industry all along and continue with the advent of kitesurfing.
I wasn't the only one hooked on windsurfing - Dawn gets into the groove with her second new board!