Despite the fact that the trade winds blow almost every afternoon for the majority of the summer, most windsurfers flock to the island’s North Shore in winter. Summer windsurfing is reserved for spots such as Kanaha Beach Park in Central Maui where wind takes precedent over waves.
Here on Maui’s North Shore the world’s best all flock in droves to Ho‘okipa Beach Park for the chance to combine the trade winds with waves regularly reaching over 20 feet in height. Don’t expect to see any windsurfers during your morning drive to Hana, however, as there is a local law that prohibits windsurfing before 11am. Seeing as the trades don’t usually start blowing until noon, however, rarely is this ever a problem for those who want to get out on the water.
If you’re an avid windsurfer, you already know without reading a travel guide that Ho‘okipa Beach Park is the mecca for the world’s best windsurfers.Spreckelsville is a local sailing spot that offers conditions less crowded than Kanaha or Ho‘okipa. It’s an advanced location, so if you’re still new to the sport, it’s best to stick to the area around Kanaha. If you’re a competent sailor, however, the launching point at Sprecklesville can be reached by turning on Stable Road 1.4 miles past the intersection of Hana and Haleakala Highways. On Stable Road there are two main launching points known as Euro Beach and Camp One. Euro Beach (named for the number of European windsurfers who frequent the spot) is the closest to Hana Highway, and Camp One is the spot toward the end of Stable Road. Both have short access roads off Stable Road that lead down to small parking areas by the beach. There isn’t any kitesurfing allowed here because the beaches are directly beneath the flight path of departing aircraft, so don’t be startled when a jet engine roars over your head while you’re rigging up on the sand.
If you’re an avid windsurfer, you already know without reading a travel guide that Ho‘okipa Beach Park is the mecca for the world’s best windsurfers. The best place for watching these front-flipping professionals is from the western tip of the beach (the side closest to Pa‘ia), since this is the section most frequented by the windsurfing crowd. Since Ho‘okipa is a multiuse area for a variety of water sports, there is a rule that states if there are more than 10 surfers in the water at The Point then there isn’t any windsurfing allowed. Conveniently, however, good windsurfing conditions make for bad surfing conditions, so on windy days most surfers will just move down to the surf break known as Pavilions slightly more protected from the wind. Parking can be tough at Ho‘okipa, so if you’re only coming here to watch the windsurfers, it’s best to park up along the highway and leave the spots closer to shore for those who need to move their gear.
Although most of the windsurfing rental shops are in Kahului, Simmer Style (137 Hana Hwy., 808/579-8484, 10am-7pm daily) is the closest shop to Ho‘okipa and is the best spot on the North Shore for windsurfing rentals and supplies.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.