Forums > Windsurfing General

Flat to small wave windsurfing in Hawaii

Created by Penski > 9 months ago, 24 Apr 2015
NSW, 39 posts
24 Apr 2015 2:03PM
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Hi all,

Well I have a big bucket list item coming up in June/July. A trip to Hawaii and an opportunity to sail there. At 46 I'm not sure if I'll get a chance again if I don't get organised for this trip (unlikely to be back for a good while).

I was last there in the early 90s and though Kailua looked magnificent and I visited the Naish shop nearby, I didn't sail

So can you tell me where is the best place for some flat water/small wave fun across the islands??Visiting them all over 3 weeks but not taking any gear. I'm 6'2" and 95kg and whilst I sailed a lot when I was younger, I only ever get out a couple of times each summer now if I'm lucky. My board is a good ol' Omega AHD (circa 1990) which were quick in their day but pretty unforgiving with their sharp rails. So also looking forward to experiencing the new equipment.

Also, when it comes to hiring (and where is a good place to do that??) what sort of board should I be looking at?

Would appreciate any advice whatsoever


Tony Wills
NSW, 221 posts
24 Apr 2015 6:20PM
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Hi buddy,

I'm also researching a similar trip for 2017. I'll be 47 by then so very similar to you, I may never get another chance to do so...

Some links that I have found include:

...and of course Gustbusters' own Dezza's awesome blog regarding her own experience >

I'm looking at the Sep / Oct period followed by a cruise home on one of Royal Caribbean's liners. My brother has been there and recommended staying on the west coast near Lahaina and doing the 30 minute (according to him) over to Kanaha Beach park daily. That way, SWMBO (who doesn't windsurf in my case) will remain happy with a great deal more infrastructure (read - shops and nice resorts) in Lahaina than up north.

I'm happy to be corrected by those that have travelled there but this is simply what I have researched so far...

WA, 3222 posts
24 Apr 2015 5:00PM
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Kanaha on the North Shore of Maui is the place you want to go. There are small wind-waves that time of year and it is rare to have a day that is not windy.

The wind is fresh-strong 25-35 knots on average every day. You'll wear through your hands pretty quickly!

There are a tonne of hire places nearby - you won't miss them.

I'd recommend staying on the North Shore around Paia - it's way less touristy and very chilled out. There is still plenty to do for non-windsurfers and it's a reasonably short drive to the main resort areas on the West Coast (Lahaina / Ka'anapali) or the South (Kihei/ Wailea).

I reckon Lahaina to Kanaha is more like 45 - 60 minutes to drive. Kihei is way closer if you don't want to stay on the North Shore.

Have fun!

SA, 199 posts
24 Apr 2015 7:40PM
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Wifey and I went to Maui last year.
We stayed at Sugar Beach Resort. Rm 223 from memory Its good and reasonably priced accommodation. Only a short drive to the north shore, Kihei and the west coast.
As indicated by others there is gear to hire everywhere. Probably every brand apart from Severne.
If you do one trip you will find a way to make it back for others.

Have fun

QLD, 177 posts
24 Apr 2015 9:49PM
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Stayed at Kihei in Dec whilst on Maui & it was great. Drive upto Kanaha about 25 min +/-. We stayed at Kamole Nalu - right on the beach (self contained unit with every thing -, snorkeled with turtles right out the front. Wind wasn't too good in Dec - managed one day at Kanaha Beach - flat & waves right out the back - plenty of locals out there. Hire places everywhere - plenty of gear + soft roof racks included if you don't have racks or room in the car/van. I would go back tomorrow. Fantastic place.

Have a great time.

NSW, 611 posts
24 Apr 2015 9:50PM
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The best place as said above will be Kanaha beach park on Maui. You'll need to have a car to get to the beach with your gear, nothing to rent straight off the beach. If you're travelling around other islands you may find some other spots with windsurf gear for hire, but Maui is the heart and soul of windsurfing in Hawaii, it too was top of my bucket list and it met all my expectations.

At Kanaha, its easy to launch and there are heaps of people out windsurfing, so many of all ages and backgrounds, from all around the world. And there really are all the world pros right there sailing with you.

I forgot about that write up Tony :) 3 years ago, and I remember that trip like yesterday.

SA, 2844 posts
25 Apr 2015 11:48AM
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We are on Maui all July, look us up ;)

214 posts
25 Apr 2015 4:23PM
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Only Maui and Oahu rent gear.

Maui has the best conditions and best rental gear.

Naish is the best rental shop on Oahu - they are still in Kailua but they no longer rent on the beach, you'll need a rental car to take gear to the beach.

Kauai also has worthwhile windsurfing but no windsurfing shops. There used to be an instructor on the the way to Princeville (Anini Beach???) who had old gear they'd rent out if you asked. Not sure if they are even around any more.

No idea about the Big Island.

Naish will probably have their new free ride board the Titan for rent by the time you get here. Probably be perfect for you on Kailua Bay.

NSW, 39 posts
25 Apr 2015 6:50PM
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Great info everyone ...much appreciated!!

What I didn't mention is that I'm only in Maui for 2 days as part of a stop on our Norwegian Lines cruise. So we'll be based in Kahului Harbour which is just West of Kanaha Beach, Spreckelsville etc. So whilst it's only a small window, I'll be close by to where I need to be.

After the cruise we spend about 4 days in each of the other Islands but don't return to Maui. Does anyone have any recommendations for other locations? Kailua, Oahu looked fantastic when I saw it years ago although I read the wind isn't as consistent. Anything on the big island or Kauai??

Thanks again

NSW, 39 posts
25 Apr 2015 6:57PM
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Thanks Philn, posted before I spotted your comments. Seems like it'll be definitely a Maui sail and hopefully Kailua if the wind is up. Strictly hiring but all the gear will be newer than mine so will be great. Might be a bit expensive when I get home and am faced with sailing on gear from the 1990s!
Much appreciated

315 posts
27 Apr 2015 1:25PM
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First post, long time lurker on here...

If you're on Oahu in June/July don't count on any decent wind in Kailua... come up here to Mokuleia and have a blast. Most summer tradewind days will get thermal wind about 2pm. I ended up kiting a lot the last couple years, but my normal summer ws gear is a 5.3 / 85L waveboard. The sailors are some of the nicest around and most have been in the sport since the beginning. I'm "the young guy" at 34. If there's not much wind there's plenty to do on the North Shore, so don't worry about getting skunked. If gear is going to be a hassle I'm sure between the local guys we could scrounge some decent stuff for you to use. I usually check the forecast on, if they are calling for 10-20+ ENE trades (and it's clear) we usually will get a good thermal, and a good sailing day. Any questions just fire away!

NSW, 8593 posts
27 Apr 2015 4:23PM
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^ What's a thermal? Is that a seabreeze, where the inland heat rises into storms sucking all the wind off the ocean?

Seabreeze sounds nicer.
Thermal sounds cooler.

315 posts
27 Apr 2015 3:49PM
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OK bear with me, I'm not the best at explaining it!

So we do get seabreezes occasionally when there is no tradewind flow in the islands, it's usually pretty weak and not days that are sail-able. What happens at Moks in the summer is the trades are amplified because of Mt. Kaala heating up during the afternoon. This heating will bump the normal trades up a notch and make for lots of smiles around here... I'm not sure if I'm explaining it right, Reo Stevens' dad is actually the best at explaining how it all works. If you end up at the beachpark on any potentially windy day, just talk to the guy in the white van with Naish stickers on it, he is the master.

So, on a summer day you may be able to sail in Kailua on a huge board and a 8.0m, but when the "thermals" kick in at Mokuleia you would be on a 5.3/85L board. Kind of like how on Maui they are on 4.7s when we are on bigger gear on the same day, the terrain really plays a part in our conditions. Hope this somewhat makes sense!

214 posts
28 Apr 2015 6:13PM
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JKimbler, I'm on the south shore so I seldom sail Moks and never in mid summer as I just assumed it is flat. If the trades have been blowing for a while do you get a nice wind swell at Moks?

315 posts
29 Apr 2015 6:36AM
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Summer time Moks is always somewhat breaking... usually about chest high but kinda weak, one of the main reasons I have been kiting so much. Occasionally we will catch an out of season N swell. The good thing about summer time Mokuleia is the wind is usually nice and filled in, not like D-head or Toes! So if it's a decent day up here, you will plane pretty much the whole time. I might come down and sail south shore this summer so I can work on that dreaded port tack, and ride some real waves. Not to mention get in shape hiking my junk up and down that stupid cliff... Sorry man, I love to hate Diamond Head!

214 posts
7 May 2015 7:16AM
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Not a fan of Diamond Head either, too many surfers and wind dies too early in the day for an after work sail. I hear you about Toes too, it has to be the gustiest sailable spot on the planet. But at least the waves line up for better DTL sailing than Diamond Head. Toes likes a SE swell more than a SW swell, so if the swell direction is less than 180 degrees I'll see you out there.

QLD, 179 posts
7 May 2015 10:19AM
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where is toes??


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"Flat to small wave windsurfing in Hawaii" started by Penski