How to Read a Weather Map

How to Read a Weather Map

David Dorn, master Instructor.HOW TO READ A WEATHER MAP by David Dorn

“Weather Maps may seem confusing when you first see them. But you can learn the basics easily. The information they contain helps us to understand the current weather picture and to make future weather predictions. Just looking out your window only tells you the immediate weather in your local spot, but it cannot tell you what changes to expect like the coming of a storm, or the possibility of surf arriving in a few days. Weather Maps look at a large area and show the large weather systems that are moving toward your area. Come with me as we take a look at How to read a weather map”. Aloha, David Dorn

Weather maps contain information about atmospheric pressure, fronts, storms, and wind speeds and wind direction. The areas of different atmospheric pressure are what drive our winds, and in turn generate surf. It is nice to know if the wind is going to be too light or way too strong before we venture out onto the water, or before we plan a weekend camping trip. Weather Maps also show the positions of severe storms, like hurricanes, and typhoons that are especially important to island, and coastal communities and mariners.

How they are made: Weather maps use a collection of weather observations that are made at many locations at the same time. They are all put down on a single map to create a snapshot of an area too large to normally observe. Each weather station, or data collection point transmits its data to a central point, usually the national weather service. Each surface station reports the atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, cloud cover, and weather condition for their particular location. Meteorologists combine the data and create the map to show the area of interest. By connecting the location of each surface station that reported the same barometric pressure, with a line (isobar), a pattern emerges that is useful in predicting weather. Air temperature is also measured, and edges of warm and cold air masses are marked on the Map. A cold front or warm front will be marked on the map. A weather map uses specific symbols to indicate specific features.
The most obvious feature of a weather map is the squiggly lines. These lines are called isobars. The isobars are lines that connect areas of equal atmospheric pressure. The word isobar, comes from iso=equal and bar=pressure. Anywhere on one line will have the same pressure. The pressure is usually noted on every other isobar so you can see the pattern of pressure distribution. The point with the highest pressure is called a High. It is usually marked with a capital letter “H”. this High pressure center is surrounded by concentric circles of isobars, the isobars closest to the center of the High will have a higher number, than the ones further out. The area with the lowest pressure on the map is called a “low”, this is designated by a capital “L”.
Atmospheric pressure is measured at the earth surface, and is know as surface pressure. The difference in surface pressure is measured with an instrument called a barometer, and is sometimes called barometric pressure. Pressure changes with altitude. Pressure readings taken at any altitude, like from a surface station in Denver (5000ft), will be corrected to sea level, for a common frame of reference. Pressure also changes with temperature. Hot air has lower density and rises creating lower surface pressure. Cooler denser air descends creating a higher surface pressure. Low pressure cells are areas of converging air that rises upward an the center. Lows are usually associated with unstable conditions and stormy weather. High pressure areas, “Highs” are associated with milder, more stable weather.
Side view of Low pressure Cell Side view of High pressure cell.
The atmospheric pressure will attempt to reach an equilibrium, so air will flow from a high pressure area toward a low pressure area. The horizontal flow of air is called wind. The Between the lows and highs are where the winds are blowing, The wind blows from High to Low, but not directly. Because of the earth’s rotation (Corriolis force) the wind will blow more parallel to the isobars. The wind blows clockwise around a High in the northern hemisphere. The Wind blows counterclockwise around a Low in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere the wind rotational direction is reversed. When you have a lot of lines close together is means strong winds. Areas with widely spaced isobars will have little or no wind.

The horizontal movement of air at the surface are the surface winds that we measure.

The rotation of winds around the pressure cells caused by the earths rotation, called the Corriolis force.

Also when there is a very low pressure low, next to a high pressure high, the difference creates stronger winds than normal. The greater the difference between the high and the low, the greater the Pressure Gradient Force (PGF) that drives the wind will be. More isobars (lines) packed close together means strong winds. Weather systems generally move across the map from west to east. The exceptions are hurricanes and tropical storms that often move towards the west.

Frontal Systems: The areas between hot and cold air masses are called fronts. Fronts are located on the transition between different air masses. Fronts are significant because they influence the vertical movement of air, and the formation of clouds, rain, and storms. The four types of fronts are Warm front, Cold front, Occluded Front, and Stationary Front.

Warm Fronts are the leading edge of a warm air mass that generally brings light rain and gradually deteriorating weather. They appear on the weather map as a red line with semi circles on the side the front is moving towards. Cold Fronts are the leading edge “front” of a cold air mass that brings about abrupt weather change and can bring sudden heavy rain and the possibility of thunderstorms. Cold fronts are indicated by a blue line with blue triangles indicating the direction it is travelling. The Occluded Front is caused when a cold front overtakes a warm front, they can bring about thunderstorms and a variety of weather conditions. The occluded front is indicated by a line with triangles and semi circles on the same side indicating the direction it is travelling. The Stationary Fronts are non-moving fronts that stay in a particular area for an extended period of time and can bring extended bad weather and persistent protracted rains and floods. Stationary fronts are indicated by a red or blue line with triangles and semicircles on opposite sides.

Storms that are large enough will be named, and their progress will be tracked across the map. Special attention is paid to storm tracking to give the population the maximum amount of time to prepare for them. Severe weather is responsible for many natural disasters, like high winds, huge waves, and flooding rains. Intense severe winds and thunderstorm activity can also be anticipated. The storm’s anticipated track is often indicated with an arrow. The ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone) is located near the equator, and is an area on no wind doldrums. The ICTZ has a special symbol of a stripped red line.

Hurricanes are severe low pressure storms with dangerously high wind speeds; they cover hundreds of square miles and can last for weeks. Hurricanes tend to be fuelled by warm water and meteorologists use computer models to help them predict their behavior. Hurricanes usually start out as Tropical Storms which are less severe. The hurricane is dangerous to ships at sea, and can generate huge waves that can batter a coastline thousands of miles away. When the hurricane makes landfall, the waves and wind combine to create an especially destructive storm. Hurricanes can also cause coastal flooding, by creating wind driven waves that pile up on shore, and by creating a higher than normal sea level by lowering the atmospheric pressure to an extremely low level. When a hurricane, moves over land it will lose its power and eventually dissipate. When a hurricane moves into the western pacific it is called a Typhoon, A Typhoon is exactly the same thing by a different name. In the southern hemisphere the Hurricane is called a “Cyclone”.

Wind Barbs are little arrows that indicate the wind’s direction and strength. The number of “tail feathers” indicates how strong the wind is. The arrows are oriented to indicate the direction the wind is blowing. and on the back of the arrow the are different symbols to indicate the wind strength. A short tail feather means 5knots of wind, a longer feather has the value of 10 knots of wind. The feathers can be combined to indicate other wind speeds. A short feather plus a long feather combines to indicate 15knots of wind. A triangle represents 50 knots. See the diagram below for some of the different wind barbs. A knot, is a nautical mile per hour. 1 knot = 1.152 miles per hour.

1 Knot = 1 Nautical Mile per hour
1 Nautical mile = 6076.12 ft. = 1852 m
1 Statute mile = 1760 yards = 5280 feet


Cloud cover symbols are given by surface stations to describe the local cloud cover. A all black circle symbol describes a clear sky, the all white circle symbol means overcast sky (white=cloud). A quarter white circle means 25 percent cloud cover. Half white circle means 50 percent cloud cover etc.

Cloud cover symbols can also be combined with a wind barb to describe the local weather at the station.


Current Weather Map (North Pacific)

DISCLAIMER: The user assumes the entire risk related to its use of this data.  This data is provided “as is,” and the author disclaims any and all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will the author be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.

How to Fly a Trainer Kite


How tro fly a Kite

David Dorn, master Instructor.HOW TO FLY A KITE  “The basics of kite flying do not need to be complicated. With some basic equipment, some open space, and a little breeze you can master the fundamental flying skills in an afternoon. Using the trainer kite is a fun and relatively safe way to learn about the wind, and to learn the basic kite steering reflexes. Remember that mother nature is the boss out there, and you should always treat the elements and your environment with respect. Do not underestimate the power of the wind either. Even the small trainer kites can overwhelm kids and novices, so we recommend parental supervision for young kids. And remember that it is always more fun to fly with a buddy. Lets take a look at How to fly a Kite”. Aloha, David Dorn

How-to use a Trainer kite by David Dorn

Guide for beginners.

Flying the trainer kite.Kites are fun to fly and provide many hours of entertainment. There are many different types of kites available. From kids toy kites, up to high powered sports kites that are fast and furious. Some kites are suitable to be used as trainers for the kiteflying skills that we need for kiteboarding. So we call them Trainer kites. We use the trainer kite as a training tool for kitesurfing skills. The trainer has much less power than a full size inflatable, so the pilot can practice safely and feel more confident. When you are learning to fly kites, you will make mistakes and crash many times. With this type of kite you can make mistakes with fewer consequences. The important thing is to reduce the damages to kite and pilot, and also to learn for your mistakes. The best way to learn kite flying is with a professional instructor. But if you are learning by yourself, there are several things you can do to help yourself.

You will be discovering many things for the first time, with this learn by doing approach. also known as “trial and error”. This technique works quite well most of the time however, If you were to make every possible kiteflying mistake yourself, you probably wouldn’t survive the learning process. So we strongly recommend that wherever possible, you can learn from other people’s mistakes. You can do this by flying with more experienced kiteflyers, or by reading and studying some of the basic techniques and safety information, like in this how to guide.


Firstly here are three main rules you should know for Kiteflying Survival:

Rule#1 Respect the Kite

Most people’s experience flying kites is from childhood. They used simple one-line kites or small two line kites for fun. This gives many people that misconception that kites are toys. Some kites are toys, but most are not. They are sports equipment that require skill, strength and experience to control. The kite itself is the interface with the earth’s atmosphere. You are hooking into the force of the wind. And that is a lot of power. Even small trainer kites under 2 m². have the power to knock you over and beat you up if they are mishandled. Never underestimate the power of any kite.

Rule #2 Respect the Weather

Knowing the weather and wind conditions is essential to kite flying. Avoids strong winds when learning. Stay away from wind obstacles that cause turbulence. Never fly a kite in a storm, or extreme weather.

Rule #3 Choose a good location

Location is essential. First choose an area with good clean wind. An open field, or wide beach. Stay away from people, cars, power lines, trees, and buildings. Choose grassy surface that will not damage the kite when it crashes.

Please note: Never attempt to recover a kite from power lines. Call the fire dept or 911, so they can turn off the power first.

Flying with a buddy is more fun.


It is best to Kite with a buddy:

Having a kite buddy is best. It is best to share the experience with someone else. Someone to hold the kite and help you launch. Someone to help in case you have a problem or get into trouble. Share the learning experience and don’t forget to share the kite too. Your buddy is a second set of eyes to spot trouble before it occurs. they can also help to hold you down if the wind is strong. Make surf your buddy does not suddenly let go or you could go flying. If you are sharing a kite with someone who is bigger than you, take care that the kite does not have too much power for the lighter pilot. In this picture, the young pilot is assisted by the author (me). and we have attached the kite’s bridles directly to the bar’s lead lines. This makes the setup very easy and controllable.


Types of Kites:

Ram-Air Kites are best for trainers.

Two Line Deltas are fun but are too fast. Also they are susceptible to damage.

LEI =  Leading Edge Inflatables, which can be used but the get damaged more easily.

Our trainers come with a kite control bar, not handles.

We recommend to always use a kite leash.


Setting up the trainer Kite:

Trainer Kites are set up slightly differently to other kites you may have used before. Our trainer kites are typically “ram-air” foil kites and will have shorter lines, a control-bar, a kite-leash (with quick release), and sometimes a releasable harness line. Kite leashes should be set up to fully flag and depower the kite when the bar is dropped. Some control bars will need to have their lead lines extended for this purpose.

Flying lines: If the kite’s flying lines are too long, the pilot can “double the lines back” to shorten them. This gives the kite a shorter stroke, and less potential for generating excessive power. Using shorter lines allows more kites to operate safely in a confined area. Also the shorter lines prevents different pilots wind-windows from overlapping, and uses a smaller area.


Kite Sizes and power:

Larger kites have more power than small ones. Trainer Kite sizes usually range from 1meter to three meters. The three meter has three times more power than the one meter. In a steady wind, and adult can usually use a two or three meter foil kite on shorter lines. Using a trainer that is too small will give a false impression of the kite’s power, and allow bad habits and techniques to develop.

Kite Line length:

Many kites come with long lines as standard when they are new. Lines can be up to 20-30 meters long. This is way more than we need while learning. Longer lines are more power than shorter lines. But they also make steering more difficult. Shorter lines give the pilot a better feeling for the kite and more control. We sometimes shorten our lines to as little as  five to seven meters long. Most often we will half the line length of the standard lines to begin flying with. You do not have to cut the lines, but you can simply double the lines back top the bar. This will give you the option of flying on the full length lines later. Doubling back 20m lines will give you 10m lines to practice with.

Using Shorter lines:

Shorter lines are easier to handle, and they require less area to practice in. This setup simulates the steering concepts of a larger kite and gives enough resistance to require some counterbalancing. Children can use a trainer kite with the kite’s bridle attached directly to the control bar’s lead lines.

Treat the trainer kite with respect:

Trainer Kites should be flown in the same manner as larger inflatable kites, never use techniques that are not also appropriate for the larger kites. This will give you good habits that can be transferred to larger kites later on. Never drag your kite on the ground. Do not step on your kite  Never fly the kite without a leash. Do not jump over land. Do not fly your kite over the top of anyone. Make sure you never take more power than you can handle.

Safety Tips:

  • Always use the kite leash.
  • Do not “hot launch” the kite directly downwind.
  • Do not “power” loop the kite.
  • Always demonstrate good techniques.
  • Respect the equipment (do not drag it , crash it or put it away wet or sandy).


The Drop Zone:

Drop Zone is the area where the kite may fall, and is a circle with a radius the same as the line length. Set up away from all obstacles, and make sure everything and everyone is outside your dropzone. Outside of your dropzone you want to keep a safe distance away from all hazards, like rocks, people and trees etc. Keeping a safe distance between yourself and the hazards is called a safety buffer. When you are learning it is best to keep as much distance between yourself and other beach goers, and other objects. We recommend a safety buffer of two kite line lengths.


Wind Window:Wind Window

 The window is where the kite is going to fly. The wind window is directly related to the wind’s direction. the window will be across the winds direction. And it is also that area over head and above you. Make sure that you have enough room above you, downwind,  and on either side too. The edge of the window has the least power. this is where you want to launch and land the kite. The back of the window has the most power, so you want to avoid this part of the window when you are learning and launching. The top of the wind window is called the Zenith. The Zenith is where we start to fly the trainer kite.



Wind Direction:

 Find the wind direction before you launch the kite. Stand with your back to the wind. Each side at right angles to the wind is the edge of the wind window, and is where we want to launch and land the kite. Directly downwind is the hot zone. Directly above you is the zenith or neutral zone. make sure you clearly understand and remember the wind’s direction before you launch. Look for tell tale signs of wind direction, like smoke rising, and flags etc.

Stopping the kite:

Before you launch the kite you should have a clear understanding of hot to stop the kite!! With a kite leash, You can stop the kite by letting go of the bar. This is best for landing the kite alone or in an emergency. You should practice emergency stopping until it becomes an automatic reflex. Make sure that your kite leash is attached correctly so that the kite depowers fully when the bar is dropped.

Recovering the Kite:

after you have stopped the kite, it should be flapping on the end of one line. You can recover the kite by walking toward it and climbing up one line to the kite. We climb up the safety line (the tensioned one), by going hand over hand until we can reach the kite. Once you get to the kite secure it with sand so it does not blow away or relaunch.  Only grab one kite line at a time, and Never wrap the kite’s lines around your hand.

Steering the Kite:

to steer in the kite we pull on each end of the bar. Pulling the bar tensions the kite’s lines. Pull the left side of the bar to make the kite turn left. Then pull the right side of the bar to make the kite turn right. Trainer kites are very sensitive to steering, so only pull gently on the bar to begin with until you know how the kite will react. You may only need to pull the bar a few inches to get the kite to steer. It is a push-pull action that will steer the kite. Steer the kite to one side, then steer the kite back to the middle of the wind window again. Keep the kite in the middle of the wind window while you are learning. Steer the kite slowly at first. Steering faster will generate more power. Notice that there is a time-delay in the steering.

Assisted Kite launching Launching the Kite with an assistant:

After checking your lines and attaching your leash. Have your buddy pick up the kite from the back side of the kite. Farthest away from the pilot. The assistant holds the leading edge and fills the kite with wind. The assistant steps back away from the pilot until there is tension on the lines and the kite is full of wind. The assistant waits for the thumbs up from the pilot and releases the kite. The assistant should then retire to a safe distance away from the kite, in case it crashes.


Landing the kite with an assistant:

After signaling the assistant to catch the kite (by patting your head) the assistant stands cross wind from the pilot. The pilot carefully steers the kite down to the assistant. So he can catch it. After the assistant catches the kite, they step towards the pilot to slacken on the lines, then they can secure the kite.

Trainer Kite flying Procedure:

1)      Chose a kite with the correct amount of power, “Never use a kite with more power than you can handle. Start with a smaller kite then test the wind first.
2)      Find a clear area away from trees and obstacles. Make sure there is good steady wind. Find the wind direction. And determine the wind window
3)      Secure the kite with sand and untwist the lines. Make the lines straight and parallel. Attach the lines to the kite’s bridle, and to the bar. Check the kites safety leash.
4)      Next show your assistant how to hold the kite, and tell them to release it when you give the launch signal. Tell them that after they launch the kite they may walk around and get behind you. The Pilot holds the bar, puts on the wrist leash and gets in a crosswind position. Then the pilot gives the thumbs up and launches the Kite.

5)      Bringing the kite up to about one o’clock. The pilot begins some slow steering exercises, and tests the wind window.

6)      The next step it to practice the emergency stop by releasing the bar. Wait till the kite falls before recovering it.

7)      Recover the kite safely by climbing one line to get up to the kite.

8)      Set up the kite for another launch, and repeat. Practice makes perfect.



Common Problems:

Pilot gets lifted too often and/or can’t easily steer,

This may indicate that they could be overpowered. Shortening the flying lines, or reducing the kite size could alleviate this problem.

The kite repeatedly crashes hard on the ground;


The pilot could be overpowered and their grip is too tight, or they may be over-steering the kite. Try to move the kite more slowly, using small amounts of bar movement (like one inch at a time).  remember to steer by bending the elbows.

Kite steers wildly side to side;


This is usually due to over-steering. The pilot is over-correcting the movement of the kite, creating a P.I.O. (pilot induced oscillation).  Practice incremental steering. “steer and wait”, to allow for the kite’s response time. There is a time delay between the control input (bar movement) and the kite’s response. Understanding the timing and response of kites is a critical step. And every kite has a different feel.


Points to Remember:

  • Respect the Power.
  • Do your homework (seek information).
  • Kite with a buddy.
  • Always use a kite leash.
  • Have Fun.


Definitions of Kite terms:

Apex =  Zenith, the top of the wind window.
Bar =  the control bar used to steer the kite.
Bridle Lines =  the lines that give the kites shape and steering.
Cutter = An emergency line cutter hook knife.
Drop Zone = the area where the kite can fall.
Edge of Window = the area of least power in the window.
Flagging = having the kite flap in a depowered position.
Gust = A sudden burst of wind.
Kite Leash = A leash from the kite to the flyer, that depowers the kite when the bar is dropped.
Lark’s Head = the knot we use to attach the kite lines.

Lead Lines =

thicker lines connected to the bar.

P.I.O = 

Pilot Induced Oscillation.

Ram Air =

a dual surface kite with openings at the leading edge.

Respect =

the most important part of kiteflying.
Safety Buffer =  the extra space you put between your self, your kite, and hazards.

Shadow =

an area of turbulent wind created by an obstacle.

Wind Shadow = 

the area around an obstacle with turbulent wind.

Wind Window =

the area where the kite flies

Zenith =

Apex, the top of the wind window.

  Written by David Dorn, Images copyright, all rights reserved. ©2009-

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Maui Windsurfing Guide


“Whether you are are a windsurfing addict or a weekend warrior, you have probably discovered that Maui is a windsurfer’s paradise. This magical island has something to offer windsurfers of all levels; Beginners, Kids, First timers. All will like the tranquil waters in Maui’s bays and coves, or the extreme athletes will hit the waves on the many reef breaks, Speed sailors will revel in the focused wind blasting over 40 knots in Ma’aleaa Bay’s Speed Beach. Maui has it all.”  Aloha, David Dorn

What makes Maui special: Maui is located at roughly 21 degrees north of the equator, so we get plenty of sunshine and warm sunny weather all year. You hardly ever need a wetsuit because of the warm 85 degree water almost year round and the air temperature rarely drops below 75 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level. The location at this particular latitude ideally places the islands in the trade wind zone. Being an isolated island chain, Hawaii receives uninterrupted air flows from across the ocean, without large land masses that generate their own weather. Maui also receives the right amount of swells, and has abundant waves that break on the north or south shores depending on the time of year.


Oceanic Culture: Traditionally Hawaii had an oceanic based culture, and water sports still play a large part of the culture. Surfing and canoe paddling and sailing have long played an important role here in the islands. Surf swimming was common among the people. The canoe was a source of sport, and warfare, transport, and fishing. The ability and skill of the mariners to handle all the oceans conditions would have a direct bearing on the success of the people. Surfing too, called “He’e,nalu” in Hawaiian, was a serious recreation from the royal family all the way down to the common folk. Surfing had ritual, and spiritual significance, and strict rules governing who could ride what types of boards, when and where someone could ride. There were strict social class lines governing these activities. Surfing competitions were also held, especially between chiefs, and sometimes they gamboled their land holdings on the outcome of a surfing contest. Surfing Skill became a sign of prowess and surfing skills were very highly regarded. The surfing culture was largely revived due to the efforts of Duke Kahanamoku and the Waikiki beach boys, who popularized the sport in the early 1900’s. The sport of surfing was spread around the world with the diplomatic missions and surfing exhibitions of Duke Kahanamoku and early surfing practitioners. Duke introduced surfing to Australia in 1914. And eventually the Hawaiian sport of surfing became a worldwide phenomenon. In more recent times windsurfing also evolved in Hawaii. With many major advancements in the sport, and many of the sports pioneers coming from Hawaii. Many more windsurfing pioneers moved to Hawaii. Windsurfing became hugely popular in the 70’s an many windsurfing competitions and events were held in Hawaii, and many of the sport’s top competitors and innovators came from Hawaii. Windsurfing is now accepted and respected as a legitimate athletic endeavor, and many professional athletes live here and train here year round.
Maui Beaches: Maui has the right mix of sandy and rocky coastline. The rocky reefs create the ideal seascape, and the sandy beaches provide great access to the ocean. There are different beaches for different conditions and skill levels. The Beaches of the north shore are most well known for windsurfing. The north shore is the windward coastline, and gets the brunt of the trade winds, and the large winter waves.

Kanaha Beach Park: The most popular windsurfing beach in the state is Kanaha Beach Park, Kanaha offers may different areas for windsurfing and other sports. Kanaha deserves its very own pages. Click here for the Kanaha Beach Page.

The most popular windsurfing beach in the state is Kanaha Beach Park, Kanaha offers may different areas for windsurfing and other sports.

There are basically two seasons on Maui, the windy season, and the wavey season. The summer brings the most wind in the form of tropical tradewinds, These winds are very reliable and plentiful. The peak wind months are May through September. The wind blows all year just will less frequency than the summer winds.Maui Seasons: the Maui seasons are not the typical ones that you might expect of your normal place. There are basically two seasons on Maui, the windy season, and the wavy season. The summer brings the most wind in the form of tropical trade-winds, These winds are very reliable and plentiful. The peak wind months are May through September. The wind blows all year just will less frequency than the summer winds. the waves are biggest in winter, with north pacific storms near Japan and bearing straights producing huge winds and waves. these wave trains travel 1000’s of miles to hit Hawaii’s northern facing shores. The large winter surf hits the northern exposures the hardest, abut can also wrap around the islands to create plenty of surf-able waves at various island locations. in winter the trade-wind producing high pressure systems move farther south and create winds from the east and south east. When the wind get south enough the wind flow direction across Maui reverses, producing a Kona (or leeward) wind. Kona Winds are from the south and are usually ridden in the south shore beaches. Kihei and Ka’anapali become the hot spots. And just a few daring pros might venture out at “Lanes” but this is definitely a high risk venture with the possibility of losing all their gear out to sea. 
Maui Geography: Maui’s volcanic mountainous geography plays a vital role on the wind patterns that predominate on the island. The two large volcanoes (extinct) create a huge valley that bisects the entire island. Maui's volcanic mountainous geography plays a vital role on the wind patterns that predominate on the islandThere are several Hawaiian islands with island wide valleys, Oahu, Big Island, Kauai, BUT only Maui’s central valley is oriented Northeast-to-southwest. This orientation is what makes Maui’s geography so favorable to wind sports. The valley acts as a huge funnel that directs and squeezes the trade winds. “Trades” come from the North East, and are scooped into the wide mouth of the valley on the north shore, and are then squeezed into the narrowing valley where it is forced to accelerate by an effect called the “Venturi effect”. Then by the time the wind hits Ma’alaea Bay is is blowing one and a half times the speed of the winds on the north shore, and this creates a steady blast of extreme high wind, that expert windsurfers just love. 
The youngest little board sailors can do a windsurfing lesson using tiny specialized rigs and stable boards. Kids lessons are available year round but really take off in the summer months, especially during the school holidays.Windsurfing Kids Camps: The youngest little board sailors can do a windsurfing lesson using tiny specialized rigs and stable boards. Kids lessons are available year round but really take off in the summer months, especially during the school holidays. Local kids and travelers can do one of the summer camps offered by Action Sports and Maui Sports Unlimited. These Youth power camps are giving back to the windsurfing community and providing an avenues for all kinds of kids to expand their. These youth camps are famous for turning out happy little windsurfers. The Youth Power kids camps have been going for over ten years, and have produced a new generation of  windsurfers including a new crop of professional windsurfers too. Kids camps are held in the protected waters in the upper kooks beach at Kanaha park. 
Beginner Windsurfing Lessons: Maui’s warm weather and trade-winds make ideal conditions for beginner windsurfing lessons all year round. Most lessons happen at the Kanaha Beach park on the north shore. Beginner lessons are scheduled in the mornings when the wind is lightest. Beginners take small lightweight sails and big stable boards, to make the experience easier. The instructors take small groups or private students for a few hours or lesson. There is usually a short land Maui's warm weather and trade-winds make ideal conditions for beginner windsurfing lessons all year round. Most lessons happen at the Kanaha Beach park on the north shore. Beginner lessons are scheduled in the mornings when the wind is lightest.lesson followed by some easy sailing exercises in the shallow water near shore. Most people will be up and sailing in their first lesson, doing some tacks and turns. Lessons can range from a single day, intro lesson, up to a longer course or 3-5 days or more. Lessons are available for all levels of windsurfer, not just beginners. The windsurfing instructors can teach any skill ranging from your first waterstart, first jibe, up to Racing, Speed Sailing, wave jumping and more. Make sure that you describe your sailing experience accurately when you are booking your lesson.
Maui is synonymous with wave sailing. Wind and waves come together on Maui like nowhere else.Windsurfing Wave Sailing: Maui is synonymous with wave sailing. Wind and waves come together on Maui like nowhere else. the right combination is the perfect prescription for awesome wave sailing. The world’s best known wave-sailing beach is Ho’okipa beach on Maui’s north shore. This location was discovered by Mike Waltze in the 80’s and has become a landmark for windsurfers around the world, and for thousands of non-windsurfers too. Ho’okipa is an awesome location with the reef breaks close to shore that the spectators on the bluffs surrounding the bay, can see the action close up, and even catch the expression on the faces of the expert windsurfers as they shred the waves. take care because Ho’okipa is strictly for advanced windsurfers only. It only has a tiny sand beach, and a huge rock ledge that makes launching and landing critical. There are often heavy waves and strong currents that will drag unfortunate windsurfers over the rocks. If you get down-winded here, there is only rocky beaches to come in on downwind. If you sail at Ho’okipa expect to loose a portion of your equipment into the rocks, and some of your skin too. You must be an accomplished wave sailor, and a very strong swimmer before you attempt to ride here. Not to mention you will just get in the way of the pros if you kook out there. 
There is also Lanes, and Kuau for the more advanced wavesailors. Other Wavesailing Spots: There are many more lesser known wave-sailing spots on the north shore; Upper Kanaha, Lower Kanaha, Sprecks, and Camp One and the best known wave-sailing spots, and are much more forgiving that Ho’okipa. There is also Lanes, and Kuau for the more advanced wavesailors. There is some wavesailing at Kahana on the upper west side, and also in Kihei especially at Maui Sunset, and Ohukai Beach in a southerly swell.
When wavesailing on Maui for the first time it is probably best to go out at Lowers at Kanaha before trying other more challenging spots. Beginner Wavesailing: When wavesailing on Maui for the first time it is probably best to go out at Lowers at Kanaha before trying other more challenging spots. Kanaha has almost no shore-break, and a flat area inside the waves where you can warm up, and dial in your gear and your jibes before hitting the waves here. Is is best to keep to the mushy rollers on the inside until you get your timing down, you and get used to the conditions. You had better be an expert water-starter and have reliable jibes or you will eat it in the waves and get tumbled  mercilessly in the washing machine like a rag doll. We recommend that you get a wave sailing lesson to save your self a lot of grief at this point. 
Most of the windsurfing at Hookipa is at H'poko, the break at the western end of the beach near the grassy bluff at the western end of the bay.Ho’okipa Breaks:  Ho’okipa is also a very popular Surfing beach. There is no windsurfing allowed at Pavilions break, and rarely at middles break. Here there is a ten man rule, which is “if there are 10 surfers in the water, you cannot go windsurfing here. Also there is an 11 o’clock rule, No windsurfing before 11am. Most of the windsurfing at Hookipa is at H’poko, the break at the western end of the beach near the grassy bluff at the western end of the bay. 
The Weird Wave: Between The Lowers Break and the Uppers Break at Kanaha is the “Weird Wave”. The weird wave in like the “Bermuda triangle” of Maui. This area is to be treated with extreme caution and is best avoided at all times. the area appears deceptively normal, but its combination of currents and wave action create a vortex that can hold a swimmer down, and make escape extremely difficult. You have been warned!!! Seriously this wave takes lives *(at least three lost souls since I have lived here that I know of). Ask any experienced local or lifeguard to point out the location of the weird wave to you so you can totally avoid it.
The Bone Yard: The shallowest reef on the north shore is at lower Kanaha in an area known as the bone yard. the bone yard is downwind of where most windsurfers might go, and is in the kiteboard area. this area just north of Ka’a point is so shallow that the reef is exposed at low tide. The coral sticks up and looks like bones at low tide. At other times it might  just be covered by a foot or two of water, and suck dry in between waves. If you wipeout here you might be walking out over the sharp coral instead of swimming out. This area could be extremely hazardous if you get catapulted head first here. Avoid this area, there are plenty of better places to sail.
Maui Sail Safe GuidelinesMaui Windsurfing Rules: No Launching Before 11am. No Windsurfing in Swimming Areas, at Kanaha. No Windsurfing At Camp One. No Windsurfing at Baldwin Beach. No Windsurfing At Ho’okipa if 5/10 surfers are at H’poko break. Beginner windsurfing allowed in defined beginner area at Kooks beach from 9am to 11am. For a more detailed look at the Maui Windsurfing Guidelines take a look at the Guidelines from the Maui Boardsailing Association Below. Or for the detailed Boating Regulations check out the DOBOR Information Below. 


No Windsurfing before 11am, except for beginner lessons at the beginner area at the easternmost end of Kanaha Beach11 o’clock Rule: On Maui we share the water with fishermen and divers. Divers and Windsurfers do not mix. Divers are just below the surface and are difficult to see, and windsurfers travel fast and can run over a skin diver. So there was a compromise struck between the divers and the windsurfers, that is now a state law. No Windsurfing before 11am, (except for beginner lessons at the beginner area at the northern end of Kanaha Beach). At other times windsurfers must keep clear of divers, and look out for diver’s flags. Please Note that not all divers use dive flags.
Windsurfers are sail craft, and should always give way to swimmers, and surfers, and canoes, kayaks, and SUP standup surfersPriority Rules: Windsurfers are sail craft, and should always give way to swimmers, and surfers, and canoes, kayaks, and SUP standup surfers. Also you should always be on the lookout for marine life, especially turtles!!
You might see whales when you are out windsurfing on Maui. Whale season is December 15 to May 15th each year.Whales: You might see whales when you are out windsurfing on Maui. Whale season is December 15 to May 15th each year, but whales sometimes arrive early and stay late. Please do not interfere with whales for their sake and yours. Whales are protected marine mammals, and you must stay 200 feet away from them. If a whale surfaces near you, simply stop and wait for them to go away, or immediately turn and ride away from them. Whales are often females giving birth to their calves, or are escorting their young in Maui’s near shore waters. If you continue to sail toward a whale you will face a minimum $250.00 fine, or possibly jail. OBW, there are whale spotters stationed all around the island during whale season, doing surveys and studying whale behavior and they often have camera with telephoto lenses watching everything that goes on. 
Maui has a lot of slalom racing, almost every Saturday in summer there is a slalom series event of a prelim for the State titles.Windsurf Slalom racing: Maui has a lot of slalom racing, almost every Saturday in summer there is a slalom series event of a prelim for the State titles. This is great to watch or even more fun to enter.  Here to windsurfers battle it out during the Neil Pryde Slalom series at Kanaha Beach Park.



Speed Sailing clinics and private coaching classes are available for future speed champions, or for those people who just like to sail really fast!Speed Sailing: has become very popular, timed events, and the emergence of the GPS Speed events has created a sub-category of windsurfer. the speed freak. Traditionally speed events were held at Speed Beach at Ma’alaea. where the wind was offshore and the water smooth. Now the trend is toward open water sailing, where individual sailors wear portable GPS devices and record best top speeds and speed averages, to be trained against and compared to. All through the summer speed meetings are held at various locations depending on the conditions of the day. Also Speed Sailing clinics and private coaching classes are available for future speed champions, or for those people who just like to sail really fast!
Maui is also hove to many world class professional windsurfing athletes. many of whom have made Maui their base of training because of the year round conditions, and also spend much of the year traveling between events that are scattered around the world.Professional Windsurfers:  Maui is also hove to many world class professional windsurfing athletes. many of whom have made Maui their base of training because of the year round conditions, and also spend much of the year traveling between events that are scattered around the world. many more windsurfers are retired professionals who have several generations of windsurfers, who continue to love the sport, and pass along their stoke for the sport. Now we are even seeing professional windsurfers as young as 9 and 10 years old competing locally, and also traveling to events too. Don’t be surprised when you see tons of famous pro-windsurfers at the local beaches and stores. 
Maui is known as a world class windsurfing destination, and the sport has increasingly become a destination sport.Windsurfing Vacations: Maui is known as a world class windsurfing destination, and the sport has increasingly become a destination sport. A vacation in Maui almost assures the best windsurfing conditions one could expect from any destination.  The windsurfing vacation can be a week or several months. and many people have made it an annual pilgrimage. There are returning windsurfers enjoying their 20th season on Maui, and they keep coming back for more. There are specialty travel services that understand the needs of the athletic traveler, and can also hook you up with the right place at the right price. Windsurfing travelers have grown from individual travelers, and in many cases matured and grown into windsurfing families that bring several generations with them. Some travelers might opt for the camping and backpacking experience, while others will want the 5star luxury of the resorts or private luxury home rentals. Most windsurfers usually will want the simplicity of a tidy clean self-contained condo. Click here for more information on windsurfing vacations. 
The windsurfing industry on Maui employs thousands of people. The windsurf manufacturers, shops, travel industry, professionals, schools, and support industry are integrated into the community on Maui.Windsurfing Industry: The windsurfing industry on Maui employs thousands of people. The windsurf manufacturers, shops, travel industry, professionals, schools, and support industry are integrated into the community on Maui. There are manufacturers of boards and sails, and all the accessories based here on Maui. Naish Sails, HotSails, Maui Sails, Ezzy, Simmer, Goya, Maui FinCo, Tectonics fins Maui, Maui Ultra Fins, Hawaiian Proline, DaKine, to name just a few, Many more companies have teams of designers and gear testers who are based here purely in research development and promotion of the new products. When you buy a Maui windsurfing Product or spend money in a Maui windsurf shop, you are helping to support the vital windsurfing community that in turn supports the windsurfing lifestyle that you know and love.
 Always follow the directives of the lifeguards. They are responsible for public safety.Lifeguards and Safety:   Always follow the directives of the lifeguards. They are responsible for public safety. Know the rules and follow the rules. Know the Local rules, and the Right of Way rules, so you will avoid accidents. Sail with respect for others. Do not get too close to other sailors. You may misjudge, or wipeout and hit someone. Never Sail farther than you can swim. People often get separated from their gear, and have to swim in. There are lifeguards at Ho’okipa and Kanaha, but they will only save you in a physical emergency. They quit at 4:30pm so you are on your own after that. Always sail with a buddy, check your gear before you go out. Stay with your board, It floats and is more visible than your head. If in doubt, Don’t go out! if you are unsure of your ability to handle the conditions do not go out. Use caution, there are always conditions too big for anyone. Better to be too cautious then too reckless.

In case of any emergency (fire, rescue, police, lifeguard) call 9-1-1

Links to Windsurfing Information


History of the Hookipa Ten Man Rule: Since there have been surf sports there has been an unofficial pecking order so that people got their fare share of waves and they avoided crashes. At Ho’okipa when windsurfing was introduced, the first windsurfers were also surfers, and they knew the surfing rules, and applied them to windsurfing, who has the right of way on the wave etc. Then the windsurfers also had their own rules, and had to work our a priority with surfers. Because Surfers rely on their own paddling power to maneuver, the windsurfers give way to them. So the windsurfer should automatically give way to any surfer. As windsurfing became more popular in the mid 80’s at Ho’okipa there was a need for an unofficial rule for sharing the water. Windsurfers and surfers came up with their own rules to share the water. Then in 1988 the state adopted the gentleman’s rules to make their, state regulations. The complete regulations can be seen at the state boating website in the ORMA regs. The 10-man rule is nothing new. it has worked for 30years. But the increase in numbers of surfers, and windsurfers in recent years has caused more overlap in use by the different groups and the application of the law has been tested. If there are no complaints, there is no need for enforcement, if there is conflict and complaints, the the laws will be  enforced. Like it of not the law is the law. and if someone tells you the law and you are breaking it, then you will be at risk of the penalties. Yes you can change the law, by a long legal process, but you must respect the existing law until it is changed. There were two new lifeguard towers added at Ho’okipa, because of the beaches heavy use, and the need for improved safety. The lifeguards duty is to provide rescue service and govern safe use of the area. If a windsurfer is sailing close to the surfers, there is a safety issue, and they can tell someone to leave the area at any time. If they invoke the 10man rule, it is for this reason. The other problem happens when a windsurfer tells a surfer to get out of the area, or a windsurfer complains when a surfer in in the area. This is asking for trouble. And the best way to get on the wrong side of the lifeguards and the local surfers. Windsurfing at Ho’okipa is a privilege not a right, at any time a surfer is present that windsurfer must avoid them. Windsurfing could bring about their own exclusion by making complaints against surfers at Ho’okipa. Surfers have surfed here for hundreds of years, and royalty surfed here long before any windsurfers.
For some historical perspective keep in mind that under the ancient Hawaiian Kapu system, you would most likely be put to death for such audacity. Respect the locals, respect the surfers, obey the rules, and share the waves. First you have to give respect BEFORE you may expect respect in turn. Some people do not appreciate this, or have no concept of the history of the place.

Unless otherwise credited, all contents Copyright  © 2009-2020 ActionSportsMauiLLC


How to SUP Standup Paddle Surf

How to Standup Paddle Surf by David Dorn

How to Standup Paddle Surf – SUP by David Dorn.

Standup PADDLE Surfing is a modern revival of an older surfing style from EARLY PART OF THE  last century. The original INSPIRATION for this sport may have come from fishermen standing in their canoes and catching waves. This skill has now evolved into the sport we now know as Standup paddle boarding.

How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comBoards: Standup Boards are wider than regular surfboards, and usually have more volume. This adds to their stability at slow speeds. This is known a static stability. The greater the static stability the easier the board is to learn on. This simply put means bigger is better. When learning How to SUP Standup Paddle Surf, larger riders will want larger boards. Longer is not always more stable. Mostly it is the width that aids initial stability. Some boards are designed for cruising along on relatively flat water, and some boards are designed for riding breaking waves. The cruising boards may be longer, 12’6″ to 14′. Surfing SUP boards may be shorter 10′ to 12′. Surfing standup boards will also have increased nose rocker to reduce pearling when dropping in on a steep wave. The board pictured below is an 11 foot SUP. With an EVA foam deck pad. And a DaKine board leash. This board is made from Styrofoam and epoxy resin, so it is lightweight and strong.
How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comPaddles: Paddles are sometimes made of wood, or aluminum, or carbon fiber. Standup paddles are similar to canoe paddles, but standup paddles have longer shafts, so that the blade can reach down to the water whilst the surfer is in the standing position. Choosing your paddle length is a matter of preference. Most surfers will have a paddle one shaka (8inches) taller than their height. For flat-water coast running, I prefer a paddle 1.5 shakas taller than me (add 1foot). Most paddles can be customized to the rider’s height. I recommend having a few sessions with your paddle before you cut it!

Tip: when learning How to SUP Standup Paddle Surf you can wrap a layer of Duct tape to the paddle blade’s edge, so you don’t scratch the rails of your board.

How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comPaddle blades are sometimes swept forward. this gives the paddle some stability during the stroke. The center of the blades resistance is behind the direction of the shaft’s movement. This helps to keep the paddle blade perpendicular to the stroke. When holding the paddle, make sure that the blade is bent away from your toes as shown. 
How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comLaunching the board: When entering the water, take the board under your arm and walk straight in at 90 degrees to the surf. Chose a place with an easy water entry point. Preferably at a place with little or no shore-break. Holding the nose of the board securely under your arm, in this way will prevent the board from hitting your legs. Lead the board into the water, and the tail will stay behind you. Make sure you already have your board leash on, and that it is long enough to let you stand this way. The tail of the board will be dragging along the sand. Do not drag your board over rocks. When you get beyond the first few waves into waist to chest deep water, you can get on the board. Paddle away from the beach quickly, so that you do not get pushed back onto the beach by the waves.
How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comPushing the board? The pushing technique pictured here is not recommended for beginners. The oncoming wave can sweep the board to either side, or cause the tail to get pushed into the surfer. If you are trying this technique you must keep the board pointing directly at the wave, And with one rail raised up so that the wave does not slam down on the deck.
Tail How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comFirst launch: One easy launch with small waves is to drag the board into the water tail-first. When learning How to SUP Standup Paddle Surf, Simply hold the base of the board leash, and lift the fin off the ground and pull the board into the water. Take care to only use this method in small waves because the board can buck upwards and wrench your arm if a large wave comes. Once in deep enough water, this surfer turns the board around before jumping on.
How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comStarting to paddle: When you jump on the board you can start paddling from the kneeling position. Hold the shaft of the paddle and do some short strokes to get the board moving. Holding the paddle low down on the shaft make it easy to control the blade. Keep the board pointing into the waves as you paddle away from shore.

Going over the Waves: The board will go over the waves more easily at 90 degrees. Try not to let the board get side-on to the swell.

Alternating Strokes: You will have to paddle with an alternating stroke.  Paddle a few strokes on on side of the board, and then you will change sides and paddle a few strokes on the other side. This will keep the board pointing in the intended direction. The board will do a slow s-shaped path as you paddle along. Do two or three strokes per side, and change the paddle to the other had, and do two-three strokes on the opposite side of the board.

How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comGetting your balance: When starting out try to find flat water. It is easier to get your balance and coordination. Go out early in the mornings to avoid as much wind as possible. Wind makes paddling harder. and the water choppy. to get your balance, start out in the kneeling position, and then standup when you have more confidence. In the beginning, you may get tired feet and legs, and can sit or kneel down to rest.
How to Standup Paddle Surf   www.actionsportsmaui.comBody position and Stance: When climbing up to your feet, stand halfway along the length of the board. a forward facing stance is best. Place your feet a shoulder width apart, and keep your knees bent slightly. Keep your eyes on the horizon to assist with balance. and stay loose as the board goes over small waves. Let the board move over the waves. Do not try to hold it super steady.

Reach with the paddle, and do not over-commit your weight outside the board. As you take a stroke with the paddle, the paddle will push back against you. As you gain experience, you can anticipate the thrust from the paddle and lean on it more.

You will find that you have more stability when the paddle’s blade is in the water.

Turning the Board: make sure that you have plenty of room to turn around. To maximize the time to turn before a wave, start turning as you reach the crest of one wave to get the maximum time before the next one comes. To turn the board you can paddle in a wide stroke on one side of the board, and then the board will travel forward in an arc. To do a faster turn you can backstroke on one side and forward stroke on the other. practice turning when you are on flat water. So that you are ready to turn quickly when you are among waves. make sure that when you are turning that you do not get the board sideways when the wave comes.

To Book a Standup Lesson Click here:

How Waves are Made

How Waves are Made
David Dorn“Understanding the elemental forces that create our ocean waves, and the processes that deliver the surf to our beaches will help you to better appreciate the different surf conditions that exist, and to better participate in ocean surfing sports. Wind, weather, tides, and land-forms all have their effect on the types of wave that we experience at the shoreline. Lets take a look at the basics of How waves are Made”. Aloha, David Dorn.

Ocean Waves Formation: Ocean waves are usually formed by a distant wind. Usually storms generate strong winds that act on the ocean’s surface for several days. The strength of the wind, and the duration it blows have a factor on how the resulting waves will be. The area which the wind affects the surface is called the fetch. The larger the fetch, the greater the waves produced. the small waves generated by storm winds are often confused and disorganized. These waves that come from a storm are called a “sea”. The sea travels in the direction that the wind was blowing. After some distance the waves become more uniform in a processes of interference, superposition and assimilation. Smaller waves are eaten by larger waves, faster will overtake the slower ones, and some waves will superimpose or cancel each other out. The organized waves that result are then called a swell, and they travel across the ocean in a wave train. The wave train transmits wave energy through the water, But not much water itself is moved forward. The swells lie low and wide in an undulating rhythm, and they do not create much resistance as they move.

This wave energy can travel across the ocean for hundreds or thousands of miles. Swell height and wave length are measured from a series of wave rider buoys. the height is an average of the larger waves in the series. The wave length when measured in time called the wave period. The time in-between two wave crests is its period. Long wave periods mean that the waves have more power stored in them.  The longer the wave period usually means that the resulting waves will be larger. Swell travels across the surface of the ocean to a depth of about half the wave height. Waves become arranged into sets. Sets are groups of waves with a pattern. Usually sets consist of some smaller waves followed by some larger ones.

Wave Formation

Swell becomes surf: When swell meets the land it changes its form. Once the swell can touch the seafloor it meets resistance causing the wave to slow, and turn, and gain height. When the waves gain enough height and become too steep to support themselves, they will start to break. When a wave begins to break we call is surf. Surf have several characteristics caused by the swell that created it, and also has much to do with the local seafloor that it hits when it starts to break. The quality and character of the waves varies greatly, and the experienced surfer, or mariner will know which telltale signs to look for. Some waves are dangerous, even small ones. the beach situation, and the experience of the surfer will determine whether the encounter is a happy one or a tragic one.

Waves on a human scale: Almost any wave can be dangerous to a human is the right circumstances. Water is heavy, and it takes a lot of energy to get it moving. Once water is in motion it carries with it a tremendous amount of energy, and it can unleash a huge amount of force. also take into account that a swimmer floats in the water and can be overturned with only a slight amount of energy. A small wave can turn swimmer over and cause neck and back injury as they hit the bottom. Wave height for human sport should not exceed a certain limit. Generally larger waves are more powerful than small waves. However small waves even at only knee height can easily overturn a swimmer and crash them over or cause the swimmer to lose their footing and be swept out to sea is an undertow. Waves can pile up at the shoreline and create a rip current. Waves can break onto rocks, or against cliffs which are dangerous.

How Waves are Made

Wave Size: Large waves travel faster than smaller ones. Waves are measured from crest to trough, and we usually describe the face of the wave. Some people measure the back of the wave which is smaller than the face. This back of the waves style of measurement is called Hawaiian Style. example “the surf was a solid 6 foot Hawaiian brah!”. This “6 foot Hawaiian” wave would probably have a 12 foot face, or be “double overhead”. Estimating wave height is difficult without some reference. The best visual reference is a surfer riding the wave. You can estimate the wave height relative the surfer’s height. The wave is head high, waist high, over-head, double-overhead etc.

How Waves are Made


Respect the Ocean: Always respect the power of the ocean. Do not go out in conditions beyond your abilities. No matter how good you are, there will always be conditions beyond your abilities. Never turn your back on the ocean. Keep an eye on the incoming waves. Beware of rogue waves and freak waves. There are commonly extra large waves in a set or just occasionally, we call these “clean up sets” or rogue waves. Check the ocean conditions with the lifeguards and surf forecasters. Seek advise from more experienced surfers. If in doubt don’t go out!


Types of Breaking Waves: Waves can break in a variety of ways, the three main types of waves are Mushy rollers, hollow plungers, or surging waves. the mushy rollers are the most predictable wave, because the break gently and gradually. This is usually because the sea floor is gently sloping and and the wave breaks over a greater distance. The hollow plunger is a more violent type of wave. they are usually the result of a steeper shelving sea floor. The wave breaks more violently and the wave gets more vertical, an can even throw its crest over the front of the wave causing it to collapse suddenly. this type of wave can be hazardous to humans. the third type of wave is the surge, which doesn’t need to break. the wave can swash up the shore and backwash again in a strong horizontal motion. This is especially dangerous to waders and people entering or exiting the water. Especially dangerous if the wave is surfing over rocks.

Wind on Waves: Wind is important in the creation of waves, but can have a negative effect on the waves afterward. Surfers usually prefer to surf in the mornings when the wind is light or blowing gently away from the shore in an offshore breeze. If the wind gets too strong the wave’s surface will become bumpy with small wavelets. If the wind is strong on the surf, small choppy waves are produced that will mess up the surf. If the wind is blowing strong offshore it can make surfing difficult, but can result ion some spectacular spray sheeting off the crests. How Waves are Made

Wave generated Rip Currents: We said earlier that swell does not transport water, but rather the swell transmits the energy through the water. however this changes when the waves start to break. Breaking waves begin to push water down the faces of the wave. this results in water building up near the shoreline. When sufficient water has built up it will try to flow back to the sea. The water usually flows along the shore on a Longshore current until it finds a way back to the ocean, usually is a deeper channel or where the wave action is least. the water moving seaward in a current called a “rip current”. Rip currents can be extremely strong and can drag swimmers away from shore and our to sea. The rip current is usually localized, so knowing the limits of the rip will help when trying to escape it. Most novice swimmers do not realize they are caught in a rip until it has them firmly in its grasp. A novice may try to swim directly to shore against the current. This is usually futile and just wastes energy. If caught in a rip, the victim should try to swim across the flow of the rip to the side, and then swim towards shore outside of the area of the rip.

Standing Waves: Standing Waves are most common in rivers where a constant water flow over an underwater object creates a wave that breaks continuously. There are standing waves in the ocean where the strong current meets the surf or creates a wave from the flow of water on the seafloor. This kind of wave can be deceptively dangerous, because the swimmer can get held down in a hydraulic vortex. Because the wave is being continuously fed by a current, the wave is endless, and there is no pause for the swimmer to escape. Standing waves are characterized by staying in one position relative to their surroundings.

from The Safe Surfing handbook by David Dorn Copyright ©1999-2020 all rights reserved


DISCLAIMER: The user assumes the entire risk related to the use or misuse of this information. 

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Surfing 101




“Surfing is a great way to get in touch with the ocean. Learning to surf could be the beginning of your new lifelong passion. The best way to learn surfing is to take a lesson with a professional instructor. But until you get the time & opportunity for a lesson, you can check out my free online beginner’s guide to surfing. Surf Safe and have fun”. aloha, David Dorn.

Page 1 - beginners guide. Page 2 - intro to safe surfing. Page 3 - start in small surf. Page 4 - take off zone. Surfing Sequence Diagram
Surfing Sequence - slideshow. Page 5 - ending a wave. Page 6 - surfing laws. Page 7 - surfing terms. Page 8 - the surfboard.







Surfing Instructor Clarissa demonstrates the Safe Surfing sequence.
This method has been successful for 1000’s of students of all fitness levels and ages.




Click here for our Surfing 201 Page Click here for our Wave and Surf Page

Gear Guide

Maui Gear & Equipment Guide



The learning experience is challenging enough without having the wrong gear. We have found that using equipment specifically designed for learning or chosen for its user friendly characteristics, will enhance the learning process. We recommend using this Gear Guide. You will have greater success, more fun, and maintain a higher level of motivation. Use the equipment recommended in this Gear Guide.


Personal Gear and Supplies you should Bring for All Lessons:

  • Wear Sturdy Swimwear (board shorts), this goes for men and women.
  • Wear a rash-guard shirt; If you are buying one, get a long sleeved rash-guard.
  • Bring your booties (reef shoes) if you have them. (We have them if you don’t).
  • If you have a “shorty” wetsuit, bring it along.
  • Yoga (lycra) pants are recommended to protect legs from, scratches, sun, chafing, and jellyfish.
  • Always wear a good waterproof sunscreen, that is designed for surfers. Good sunscreen will be at least 30+ or 40+ SPF,
    and it will not wash off or burn the eyes.
  • Wear a hat, or baseball cap; Wear your hat at all times in and out of the water.
  • Wear sunglasses, preferably polarized, at all times on the beach.
  • Ideally you should purchase water-sunglasses, like the Sea-Specs or Oakley Water-jackets (available from us).
  • Bring plenty of water to drink at the beach.
  • Bring all your usual medications (if any).
  • Bring your lunch in a cooler if you want to spend the whole day at the beach.
  • Bring a beach towel.
  • Bring a set of dry clothes to change into.
  • Bring a minimum amount of cash for incidentals, and instructor Gratuities 🙂

What NOT to Bring to the Beach:

  • Do not wear jewelry or expensive watches; instead you should lock them in the safe in your hotel room or leave them at home.
  • Do not wear eyeglasses without a sturdy strap, or you WILL lose them. Do not wear expensive sunglasses without a sturdy strap.
  • Do not bring expensive cameras; unless you have someone to sit on the beach and use them during your lesson. You will not be able to secure your cameras and valuable electronics while engaged in a lesson or activity.
  • Do not bring your wallet with all of your cash and credit cards; Just bring one credit card, and ID, and a small amount of cash. (for incidentals, and instructor Gratuities 🙂
  • Wedding Rings and Engagement Rings; These do often fall off in the ocean, so maybe better to take them off before the activity and secure them properly somewhere at home.

Gear Selection: when you are doing one of our beginner lessons all the gear is supplied. The instructor selects the gear for you based on your weight, experience, and the conditions of the day. There are different sized boards and sails to choose from, and generally a bigger person will need a bigger board and sail than a smaller person. Bigger boards are easier to balance on, and have more stability. Bigger sails are heavier to lift, but have more power to counterbalance with. Getting the right mix is part of the instructor’s skills and experience. You instructor will usually ask you about your experiences in different sports to gauge your fitness level, and athletic abilities. Don’t feel embarrassed is they recommend a big board, it just means that they want you to have a good time. We often see beginners going into too smaller boards before they are ready. This means frustration, and less time on top of the board, and more time trying to get back on.
What is Beginner Gear? Beginner gear is equipment the was either specifically designed for use by beginners, or is gear that has great advantages for beginners. Often when they design gear for pros, some of the design benefits will also be beneficial for beginners, and will translate into better gear for beginners too. Selecting the right gear for the situation, makes learning much easier. When we are learning so much at once, we don’t want you to struggle with your gear also. Why make learning harder than it has to be. If you were Robinson Crusoe on a desert island with just one board, you would do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to learn to ride it. But fortunately now you don’t have to. We have all the beginner gear, in the school, and for rent. This way you can use all the easy gear at first, and gradually step up onto more challenging gear when you are ready. Take full advantage of all the gear available, and your progress will be faster, and learning will be more enjoyable.
Does Size matter? Boards vary greatly in their dimensions and designs. There are different classes of board, that are generally described by their intended function. “All round boards”, “fun boards”, “Slalom Boards”, “Race Boards”, and “Wave Boards” etc. In the all round and beginner class boards, the sizes vary greatly. It is important to know the specifications, so the you know the gear’s limitations. A big dude, will not be happy on a small ladies board. Generally it is better to have a board that is too big when learning, but this is just a generalization, and there are specific cases when bigger is not better. Your instructor can best advise you. When it comes to sails and kites, smaller is better because they have less power and are lighter for learning. The characteristics that we are really looking for are, Stability: Low Power, and lightweight! When you are taking lessons to use the gear, your instructor will also be teaching you about the gear, and what gear is suitable for your ability level.
Basic Measurements: Boards vary greatly in their shape and design, even if they are designed for the same purpose. the purpose may be to be used as a “beginner board”, but the different board designers may have different ideas on how to achieve the ideal board. There are some general design conventions, but also there are a few design concepts unique to certain designers. There are two important measurements to be considered with boards, and that is length width and volume. The length will give the first indication of size, but some boards are long and fat, some are long and skinny, so we need to know the Volume also known as displacement. The volume gives an indication of the stability, and the amount of weight the board can carry.

 Basic Measurements

Length  feet inches and meters, or centimeters Gives a basic indication of the size and range of the board Longer is more easy
Volume given in Liters Gives an indication of the carrying capacity of the board, also stability Bigger is easier
Width in inches or centimeters The boards max width, indicates the stability and speed. Wider is more stable.


Other Measurements

Wide Point Measured as a percentage of the board’s length. Wide point is a measure of design, wide point back is stable at lower speeds.
Rocker Measured in inches or descriptively. Rocker is the bottom curve that helps a board to turn, but also affects stability and speed. A little tail rocker and lots of nose rocker for beginners.
Don’t be confused: Board statistics and technical details can easily overwhelm the novice. Don’t worry about the tech stuff, there are always friendly guys at the shop who are more than happy to talk “Tech Specs” with you and explain all the design features of different boards. Just keep in mind that you should start paying attention to the gear now, so that one day you will be able to describe your ideal board to the rental guy, of the retail sales clerk. or maybe even Santa Clause.
Beginner Windsurf Boards: will be between 11-12feet and 180 liters up to 230 liters, they have enough stability to stand on easily when not moving, and they can support the weight of the sail too. Wider & bigger is best for the first few lessons. After a few lessons when the student has better balance skills, they may not need so much stability, and may want to trade down to a slightly narrower/smaller board. Smaller boards are faster, and turn easier.
Beginner Windsurf Lesson: Naish Kailua 200L with a 2.0m – 3.0m school sail, larger sail for heavier sailors. Sailors over 220lbs may want to use the 230 liter “Naish Kailua”. (Students should bring booties, waterproof sunscreen, rash-vest or tee-shirt, drinking water or drinks). Bring the biggest most stable board you can find, and a lightweight sail, with a low boom. Do not jump on a friend’s “shortboard” because you will be totally frustrated. Most actual beginner boards are often only found in schools, which is a good reason to buy a lesson. Many rental fleets will not bother stocking a true beginner’s board, so you are just given the biggest board they have, (or the biggest one they are prepared to lift onto your car’s roof-racks.)
Waterstart Lesson:
Transition Boards 120 liters for lighter sailors with 4.0m – 4.5m sail.
Transition Boards 140 liters with 4.5m -5.0m sail is standard for average sailors.
Transition Boards 160 liters with 5.0m – 5.6m wave sails for heavier sailors.
(No centerboards or cambered sails please)
A transition style board, or a big floaty short-board (aka funboard). Not too big though, because it is an advantage if the board can sink slightly under your weight.
Harness & Footstrap Lesson: (First time shortboarders)
Transition Boards 130liters (with 3 footstraps) for lighter sailors
Transition Boards 160liters (with 3 footstraps) is standard for average sailors.
Transition Boards 180liters (with a retracting centerboard, with 3 footstraps) for heavier sailors.
(wave sails preferred, slightly underpowered, waist harness with a high hook)
A transition style board, is a big floaty short-board (aka funboard). When learning the straps you need an easy planing board that has a wide unsinkable tail.
Shortboard Jibe Lesson: General rule; floaty slalom boards with slightly underpowered sails. (Students should already be using the harness and footstraps). For longboard jibes we do a warm up exercise on the Kailuas. (with the Centerboard up). A floaty wave/bump style board is best, is a big floaty short-board (aka funboard). When learning the straps you need an easy planing board that has a wide unsinkable tail.
Jumping & Looping lessons:
Bump & Jump 120L should be the maximum size board for jumping class.
100L Floaty waveboards, bump & jump boards are best for loop class.
All students must wear a helmet, and wetsuit or impact jacket.
Loop lessons can be punishing on the gear, so do not use an eggshell strength board. Use a stronger production board, with a nose-guard. (for the board), (but one for yourself is not a bad idea either.).

Beginner Surfing lessons: 9ft longboards like the “BZ foamy” for students up to 185lbs. 10 foot long-boards for heavier surfers 185-210 pounds. 11 foot long-boards for big folk 210-230 pounds Children can use the 8ft BZ if they’re very small. We recommend a rash vest and booties. Big is beautiful. We have more success and more fun using a slightly oversized surfboard. Larger boards are easier to paddle and have more stability than shorter ones.

Gear Guide: Once you have learned the basics, you will want to buy your own gear that will grow with you as you progress. Having used user-friendly gear in the learning process, was just the stepping stone to something a little more challenging. In this section, we recommend the gear that is quality and offers the most versatility for a rapidly progressing student.


Wear Sturdy Swimwear (board shorts), this goes for men and women.  Shorts offer protection against board rash and sand infiltration. Surf shorts will be made of a synthetic fabric so they quick dry, and have a tied fly so they don’t fall off in the surf, or Velcro fly with a snap, Not a rusty metal zipper. Newer shorts have done away with the velcro fly too, and have a fabric insert , instead of the scratchy velcro, fly closure. Good shorts will allow freedom of movement. My latest O’Neill shorts have stretch panels made of ultra thin neoprene. I like to have one pair of shorts for every day-per-week I surf. I surf seven days per week, so I have seven pairs. I try to rinse off my shorts in fresh water after every use, I jump in the shower with them and kick them around in the soapy water, -This is the surfer’s laundry trick. Check out the stretchy fabrics in some of the newer board shorts. They are way more comfortable. Some of the high-end shorts incorporate neoprene and rubber in the stretchy parts, so you cannot put them in the clothes dryer. A good pair of shorts will cost about $50.00 – $60.00

Wear a rash-guard shirt for sun protection or under a wetsuit to increase warmth, and to reduce friction that could chafe and cause a rash. Rash-guards are also way better than sunscreen for protecting your skin. When you are buying one, get a long sleeved rashguard for the most protection. There are different styles and makes, some are slinky Lycra, and there are polypro fleecy fabric for more warmth. Take care when choosing a lighter color because white becomes transparent when wet.
Bring your booties if you have them. You can get thin ones or thick ones. Split toe or round toe. Try them on and check your foot straps to see if they will still fit. Generally, for use with board-sports you will want a bootie with a relatively thin sole, especially when you are using foot-straps. Surfers prefer a thin sole bootie so that they can feel the board better with their feet. A sports bootie will often have a velcro strap to secure the bootie tight so it will not get ripped off on the waves. Booties provide better grip, but most of all they will provide protection from rocks, coral, and most sea urchins etc.
On Maui, if you have a “shorty” wetsuit, you should wear it. When buying a wetsuit, get a good fit!!! Comfort is king. For more information on wetsuits check out our Online Ocean Education Pages. Buying a wetsuit should be done with care. Take the time to try as many different suits as you can, which is a difficult task in itself. Do not get rushed into a decision or swayed by discounts. Select an appropriate style and thickness of neoprene for the water temperature in your area. In Hawaii, you would not think about needing a wetsuit but there are times when you need a little insulation. Remember that water conducts heat faster than air, and wind chill, on wet skin cools you down fast. The stronger the wind, the cooler you get.

Always wear a good waterproof sunscreen (sunblock), that is designed for surfers. A good sunscreen will be a 30+ or 40+ SPF.  It should be waterproof and it will not wash off or burn the eyes. I use one thick gel for my face, and I use a separate lotion for my shoulders etc. Some are alcohol based (no thanks) Bullfrog is well known, but gets in my eyes. “Zinc Oxide” cream is a good sun blocker, it is the one with the distinctive white (or pink) color, that does not rub in. The active ingredient in many sunscreens is “Titanium dioxide”. I have tried every waterproof sunscreen and still prefer to use the Aloe Gator Gel (not the lotion) for my face. It is so thick it does not wash off. You actually have to wash your face quite thoroughly after using it. It is not available everywhere, so when I see it I buy several large tubes of the stuff. It is about fifteen bucks per tube. People with sensitive skin might prefer the “Raw Elements” at about $20 for a stick or a small bottle.

Update: Always Get Reef-Safe products as some ingredients in sunscreen can harm coral. And always insist on products that are natural, and Not tested on animals.

Wear a hat or baseball cap. Wear your hat at all times when you are not in the water. The bigger the brim the better. but that is until the wind comes up, You may need to downsize your hat as you downsize your sails. Make sure the hat has a good strap to keep it from blowing away. Wear a hat in the water (when you are not wearing a helmet). We like the FCS hats with the neoprene chin strap. These stay on good and protect your head from sun and scrapes. Some hats have wide floppy brims that will fold down over your eyes at the critical moment. Get one with a moderate width brim that is stiff enough to withstand some strong wind while wet.
Wear sunglasses, preferably polarized, at all times on the beach, & while driving etc. And preferably you also should wear eye protection on the water. Ideally you should purchase water-sunglasses, like the Oakley Water-jackets, or Sea-Specs. I wear these surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. These reduce harsh effects of sun, wind and salt spray on your eyes. Long term these effects can damage your vision. If you wear prescription sunglasses, make sure you have a secure strap when in the water. Better yet invest in some prescription sports sunglasses that you can take in the water.


The DaKine “Thermo” and “Pyro” waist harnesses, and the Naish waist harnesses, are the simplest and easiest harnesses to use, especially if you like the freedom the waist harness provides. These harnesses are useful for kiteboard and windsurf. (Hammerhead bars are for kiteboarding use only) get the generic hook if you intend to use the harness for both sports. You may also want to get a bar pad for under the spreader bar. Wear a rash-guard under the harness to eliminate the inevitable chaffing.

DaKine fusion seat harness or the Naish Balance seat harness, for kiteboarding and windsurfing offer the most support and comfort. (Hammerhead spreader bars are for kiteboarding use only) get the generic hook if you intend to use the harness for both sports. The lower hook, is great for lighter riders, and especially kiters with shorter arms (women & kids). The seat harness doesn’t ride up as much as a waist harness, so they are great for weekend warriors and intermediate riders. You will want to wear board-shorts under these types of harness to give you a little protection under the leg straps. and sometimes a second layer of lycra shorts helps too.


Beginner Windsurf equipment:
Hifly 335 Revo with a 2.0m – 3.0m school sail, larger sail for heavier sailors. Sailors over 220lbs may want to rent the “Naish Kailua”.  These wide style beginner boards are available in several different sizes & lengths. Heavy people will want the 230 liter version, and lighter sailors might prefer the 180 liter. Some boards of the larger boards will come equipped with a retractable center-board. These boards will be the best on light winds.
Small lightweight sails will work best, Sail sizes will be relative to the rider’s weight.


Shortboard Jibe equipment:
After you have mastered the shortboard basics the next challenge will be mastering the jibe. Some boards are easier to jibe than others. As a general rule; floaty wave/slalom boards with slightly underpowered sails work best. (You should already be using the harness and footstraps and waterstarting).  Your board should have a slightly curvy tail rocker. A bump & jump board will foot steer a lot easier then a flatter slalom board. Your board should have a single rear footstrap on the board’s center-line. or slightly offset to leward side. This helps with the pre-jibe bear away.

Harness & Footstrap equipment: (First time shortboarders)
A big Floaty 160 -182 liter board with good beginner placement straps works best. these boards plane early, and are forgiving even when if not kept in perfect trim. This is best for learning the harness and straps. Then you can pare down your board size to about 120-140 liter for some more speed and learning some basic jibing. Wave and bump sails work best, keep the rig light and slightly under-powered until you can use the harness and have got at least one foot in the footstraps. (wave sails preferred, slightly underpowered, Waist harness with a high hook)

Jumping & Looping equipment:
A bump-n-jump 115l board should be the maximum size board for jumping class.
Floaty waveboards, bump & jump boards are best for loop class. The Naish Wave, is an epoxy foam sandwich board with good strength to weight characteristics. Wave sails, with short booms. Preferable 4.5m or smaller. With strong carbon-fiber wave masts. Wear a helmet like the Protec, Deluge, or Gath. A wetsuit will provide some protection against scrapes, bruises and slaps. There are also some good thin style impact jackets.

Beginner Surfing equipment:
9ft longboards like the “Surftech soft-top” for students up to 185lbs.
10 foot longboards for heavier surfers 185-210 pounds.
11 foot longboards for big folk 210-230 pounds
Children should use the 8ft BZ if they’re very small.
We always recommend that you use a rash vest and wear booties.

*After your lessons you will want to take about one foot off the board length you used in your lessons.
*If you used a 10 foot board in the lesson, buy yourself a nine footer.
*some consideration should be given to your fitness level, and anyone else sharing the board with you.
*If two different size people are to share one board, you should choose the board to suit the heavier surfer.

FOAMIES: If you have children learning to surf, a “foamie” board could be the best first board for them. Foamies are a softer foam construction *After your lesson you will want to take about one foot off the board length you used in your lesson.
*If you used a 10 foot board in the lesson, buy yourself a nine footer.
*some consideration should be given to your fitness level, and anyone else sharing the board with you.
*If two different size people are to share one board, you should choose the board to suit the heavier surfer.boards. There are several types, that are more or less sophisticated. The “BZ” brand foam board is the traditional beginner board. 8, 9, and 10 foot sizes are available. these boards are the safest type, because they are soft and they have soft plastic fins. These boards should be rinsed in freshwater after use, and kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Sun damage will age these boards prematurely.

SOFT-TOPS: The softtop type board is a hard epoxy board with a foam skin over the deck, these boards have the performance of regular boards, with more durability. These boards are suited to adults and intermediate surfers. SOFTOPS blend performance, safety and durability. Their unique epoxy/fiberglass construction gives SOFTOPS a stiffness that helps them out-perform sponge or soft surfboards. And their E.V.A. foam-rubber deck-and-rail combination gives you extra safety, comfort and traction without wax. Sizes available are: 5’6″, 7’0″, 7’6″, 8’0″, 8’4″, 9’0″, 10′, 11′, 12′.

Surftech make a range of boards called soft-top, they are made of advanced materials, styrofoam, epoxy, and have a distinctive EVA foam skin on the entire deck. they do not need surf wax. The foam gives them grip, and makes them softer to lie on. especially at the pressure points of the hips and ribs. The foam skin also acts like a bumper that will protect the board from many bumps and dings. However you have to were a rashguard to protect from the rubbing. (These boards are the number 1 choice of surf schools, and could be your choice for your first board)



New Surf Project (NSP) make a line of lightweight epoxy styrofoam construction boards, that are lighter and stronger than regular boards. they have a thin plastic top-sheet that protects the board’s finish from scratches. (your second board) After your learning phase you may want to step up to the NSP type construction. Still quite durable, but light enough to take you to the next level. These boards will need wax and are best kept in a padded bag.


Advanced Surfing Equipment: mini tankers and fun shapes are more challenging than longboards. They require more paddling power and a steeper wave to ride. Shorter and wider styles offer a good compromise of stability, easy paddling, and good turning ability. Short “longboards” are also called mini-tankers. They are characterized by a round nose similar to a longboard’s nose-rider shape. Fun shapes are fatter longer versions of the typical shortboard. They have narrow noses and thinner rails at the tail. As the name suggests, they are fun to ride, and they are easy to paddle. Then there are “fish” boards. The Fish board concept is a new take on some classic design elements, or a re-combination of design features. They are boards that can ride on the flats ahead of the wave face. They stay planing while offering a turny feel like a much shorter board. Fish boards are distinctive looking and resemble the “Friar Tuck” knee boards of the 70’s.  They often have big swallow tails to aid their turning ability.

Surftech also make a complete line of epoxy/sandwich boards, which are light, stiff & high performance. They call this line, “Tuflite”. Tuflite construction is more expensive and lighter than other constructions. That is why we only recommend it to advanced surfers.


Southpoint make a superb line of lightweight foam sandwich construction boards, that are durable and lightweight. their line of production boards includes a variety of mini-tankers, and fish, and fun shapes. the extra lightness of this construction will only be appreciated by the more advanced surfer (your third board) This construction is less robust than the other two. The boards are stiff, light and fast. The finish coat may scratch up if not cared for. This board will not like to get hard knocks on the rocks. This board type should be kept in a padded bag, and repaired with epoxy if necessary.


Airush Trainer

For the fun and easy way to get kite-flying skills, we recommend that you purchase a trainer kite before your kiteboarding lessons. Ram-air design kites in sizes ranging from 1m, – 2m. When using any kite you should take extreme care. You should read the instruction manual and watch the training DVD’s. Good brands of trainer kites include; Naish, Slingshot, Airush, and Best. These are fun performance kites that can produce a lot of power, and younger fliers should always be supervised by adults. These kites are extremely fun, but they are not toys. The larger trainers  can be used as traction kites on land or snow. 

For the most success an entry level kiter should use a low aspect kite, that is easy to control. More manufacturers are making entry level kites. Kite schools too will tend to favor this style of kite, to give the students the best chance of success. Some entry level kites are described as a moderate aspect ratio kite. A kite with a fuller shape will have more consistent power, and easier relaunch-ability. These kite will handle being overflown, and over-sheeted. and will tend to smooth out some of the beginners over-corrections. An entry level kite will tend to have slower steering. The kites used by your kite school will generally be of this style. And will be recommended by your instructors. We generally recommend that beginners learn with shorter line lengths, and learn safely. A 20m line length option is better than 25m when learning. 

For the intermediate kiter, there are medium aspect, all-round kites that are stable and offer smooth depower. Each manufacturer will make one all-round kite. On Maui we recommend a kite that can handle being very overpowered. Smooth and predictable handling makes a kite trustworthy and gives the rider confidence. These kites are great kite for pushing your limits and learning new tricks. These kites should still offer 100% depower like the full bow kite design, or SLE design. The all round design is great for big jumps, or riding the waves. Intermediate kites should allows easy relaunching after a wipeout, even in light winds. 

There are many different design concepts. Some kites are designed for a specific purpose, and are more specialized. If you have a particular style of riding in Mind, there could be a specialty kite available. Kites that are specific will tend to sacrifice some unnecessary traits, to gain more performance in certain areas. One example for an advanced kite would be the sacrifice of easy relaunching. A kite designed for an advanced kiter may be more difficult to relaunch, because this is not a priority to the intended purpose and design. Flatter kites for example are faster and can sail closer to the wind (more forward in the WW), but are harder to relaunch, High Aspect kites are good for racing, and jump well but are hard to relaunch, and are unpredictable in the hands of a novice. Wave Kites, will tend to be lower aspect, and fly deep in the powerzone, Racing Kites will tend to fly forward in the Wind Window. Wake Style Kites will keep the power constant to help with tricks and unhooked riding.


Choosing the type of kiteboard to buy depends on your ride-style. The size you choose depends on your weight and wind range. The lighter the wind in your area, the larger & longer the board you should ride. Heavier riders should ride bigger boards than lightweight riders. In kiteboarding, it is not the volume or buoyancy of the board that counts, but mostly the surface area, because it provides the lift. if you plan to ride in extreme light air, at displacement (sub-planing) speeds, you will need a larger floatier board. Very popular with light wind riders is surf style riding on surf-style kiteboards, or regular surfboards.



Board Types: Here is a range of different styles of kiteboards.  The semi-bi-directional board that has hybrid abilities. The directional wave style is a full on surf style board for the waves. The Thorns are hard edged twin-tips inspired by snow boards. The Sol is the wider wake-style twin-tip. And the Haze is the entry-level twin-tip board with easy riding, more flex, and good durability.


Examples: Naish Thorn, Haze, Monarch, Momentum, Hero, Money Shot –  sizes ranging from 125cm to 162cm
These are our favorite production Twin-tip boards. These board use snowboard technology and wooden cores for the ideal combination of flex, weight and strength. New uni-directional laminates of carbon and Kevlar have been added to increase the reflex speed making the board feel super positive and lively. There are a range of sizes, and two flex patterns. Common sizes are; 125cm, 130cm, 135cm, 140cm. and some even larger sizes that are better for the lighter winds.

Naish Thorn GromNaish Thorn

Board Types


Directional Boards: For big waves, small waves, freestyle or just light wind cruising, these boards are so much fun that everyone wants one. Directional boards are like surfboards but they are made specifically for kiting, they are stringer, stiffer, and have footstrap options too.

Twin-tip boards: feature much more power control, solid edging, controllable speed and greater pop for all the performance required for contemporary riding. These look a lot like snowboards, or wakeboards, and have footstraps instead of bindings.

All-Round boards: offer an affordable twin tip range developed for all levels of rider.

Wake-style Boards: are a premium twin tip range developed for top level riders. They combine a refined design concept sometimes incorporating channeled bottom shape. These are similar to wake-boards, and are also similar to twin-tips, but are usually wider, stiffer, a little bigger, and have full foot bindings that support the ankle.


Naish Wave directional surf style kiteboards, are one of the most enjoyable styles of boards to ride. The Naish Directional’s literally tear up the waves. They can be ridden with foot straps or strapless. They are made from a strong epoxy construction so they can take a beating. The all-round board is the Global, the bigwave board is the Gun, the fun board is the Fish great fro sloppy waves, and the Skater is designed for strapless riding. We have these available in different sizes, 4’10” and up to 6’2″.

General Information


Action Sports Maui is the center of Watersports Lessons and Ocean Sports Education, tours and adventures, and is Hawaii’s original kiteboarding center. For a quick overview of our school go to our “At a Glance” page. Our Instructors are full-time, well trained professionals that are dedicated to their sports; Surfing, Standup, Windsurfing, Kiteboarding. Take a look at our Action Calendar  for special events & Clinics. And don’t forget to check our Kite-van out at Kitebeach at Kanaha Beach Park, and our new Surf Center in Kihei.

Click here to see our Surfing brochure!Hawaii is one of the best and easiest places to learn to surf. Being located in the center of the Pacific Ocean. Pure ocean swells combined with our off-shore reefs give us a variety of quality waves to ride. In the summer the south shore has the better surf, with a swell originating in the south pacific. In wintertime, the north shore is visited by large swell systems that travel down from Alaska and Japan. The winter swell has the most spectacular waves for the expert riders and spectators. There are always plenty of smaller waves for the beginners year-round.

ASM is a full-service surfing school, located on Maui’s south shore.  We offer a range of lessons to suit every surfer. Our surfing school has been established since 1996, dedicated to offering the best quality surfing and SUP lessons. Our experience has come from teaching the sport of surfing, and sharing our appreciation for the ocean to each and every student that we work with. The personalized lesson is in keeping with the traditional teaching approach to surfing. Our beginner surfing area is in a “Marine Park” that offers a variety of surf breaks to suit different levels of surfers and changing conditions. The beginner surf class is an ideal family activity.  The average student will be up and surfing in their first lesson.  A range of board sizes are available to suit individual surfers. Advanced surfers can tackle the larger waves with our instructor guides on the “Surfari”.

Our instructors study the wave conditions and take the guesswork out of where to surf. Each surf break has its own character which is explained to every student. Knowing where to surf and how to ride the break is a huge advantage to surfers of all levels. In addition to sharing their local knowledge with you, the instructors show you how to “read the wave break” when surfing a new location for the first time. This is a fundamental skill every surfer should know.

All Equipment is supplied. Our board selection includes lightweight Black Tip Foam Surfboards, and quality “Soft-top” surfboards from Surtech™. And a full range of selected SUP Standup paddle boards. These boards combine a high performance epoxy/styrofoam construction which is lightweight, with a comfortable layer of EVA foam on the deck. We have a range of sizes in our quiver, from the larger and most stable cruisers, to the smaller more agile performance boards. *Specialty boards are available from our rental store or by request.   *Digital on-water Photography & on-water Video service is available by request.

Lessons run daily at 8 AM, 6 days a week, year-round. Meet at our Surf Club in Kihei. We highly recommend our semi-private classes to beginner and intermediate level surfers. The instructor will give each student the maximum individual attention they need. We recommend private Instruction for: very young students, older students, and Advanced riders.

Board Rentals: Our Surf Center in Kihei is open 6 days a week for surfboard and SUP rentals. 7:30am to 4pm, call ahead to make a reservation, or for more details. (808) 283-7913. (In winter, there may be earlier closing times).

BOOKINGS: We fill up fast so call ahead and make a reservation, so we can confirm your schedule. Students should try book at least 48 hrs ahead by calling (808) 283-7913. (Earlier the better). In winter, there may be later start times during the day.

CALL IN: Students should call in the night before to (808-283-7913) for; the Surf Check, and location of the day’s activities. Beginner Lessons usually begin at 8am to take advantage of the lighter morning winds. Advanced surfing lessons and surfaris may start earlier (e.g. 6:00am).

Click here to see our Standup Paddle Surfing brochure!Standup Paddle Surfing SUP Standup paddle-boarding is fun for all ages. No Experience needed. It is a great way to get onto the water, and can be more relaxing than regular surfing. Group Sessions start at our regular times at our Kihei Location 6days a week. Every standup session begins with a brief land lesson to discuss technique, safety and theory, we practice some of the skills you will need later in the water. Then we begin the water part of the lesson close to shore on the flat water. We cover topics of surf sense, ocean awareness, board handling, and our float plan. In the near shore area we practice board handling steering and power strokes until you get comfortable with the basics, balance and steering. After the basics have been covered we move out a little further to explore our ride area and interact with the ocean. Each Standup Group class is small and personal and has people of a similar skill level. Each individual student receives plenty of attention from the instructors. Private and semi Private lessons are available too.

Lessons run daily at 8 AM, 6 days a week, year-round. Meet at our Surf Club in Kihei. We highly recommend our semi-private classes to beginner and intermediate level surfers. The instructor will give each student the maximum individual attention they need. We recommend private Instruction for: very young students, older students, and Advanced riders.

Board Rentals: Our Surf Center in Kihei is open 6days a week for SUP rentals. 7:30am to 4pm, call ahead to make a reservation, or for more details. (808) 283-7913. (In winter, there may be earlier closing times).

BOOKINGS: We fill up fast so call ahead and make a reservation, so we can confirm your schedule. Students should try book at least 48 hrs ahead by calling (808) 283-7913. (Earlier the better). In winter, there may be later start times during the day.

CALL IN: Students should call in the night before to (808-283-7913) for; the SUP Check, and location of the day’s activities. Beginner Lessons usually begin at 8am to take advantage of the lighter morning winds. Advanced Standup lessons and SUPfaris may start earlier (e.g. 6:00am).

 Click here to see our Windsurfing brochure!Maui is the heart of the windsurfing world because of the reliable trade-winds, and the warm water year round. Maui has the most number of windy days of any windsurfing destination. The trade-winds blow at a perfect cross-shore angle on the north shore, making it ideal for beginners and advanced sailors. ASM is a full service windsurfing school, servicing Maui’s north & south shores. Our beginner windsurfing area is located at Kanaha Beach Park, the most popular windsurfing beach in Hawaii. Kanaha offers a variety of conditions to suit every level of windsurfer.

The “trades” start to blow lightly in the morning, So the beginner classes usually start at 9am. The winds get stronger during the day, so intermediates generally launch at noon. Advanced riders will revel in the strongest winds that tend to peak in the afternoon. The beginner windsurf class is an ideal family activity. The average student will be up and riding in their first lesson. Advanced windsurfers can tackle the stronger winds in the afternoon.

WINDY SEASON: Maui is the windiest windsurfing destination. We have the most strong winds from MAY till SEPTEMBER. This is the most reliable wind time and the best time to plan your Windsurfing Vacation to Maui. We can have good wind all year, but there is a chance of light wind to no wind for several days to a week at a time. If you come over in the non-peak season, beginner windsurfing is still good, but you should be flexible to try surfing or some other light wind activities.

Lessons run daily from 9 AM, Monday thru Saturday year-round. You can choose from; a private Lesson, A semi-private class, or a longer multi-day course. Small class sizes give the student the maximum attention. That is why we highly recommend our semi-private class to beginners and intermediates. The high Instructor to Student ratio ensures each person gets personalized and intensive instruction. We recommend our private lessons for young children, seniors, and the more advanced riders.  We meet at Kanaha Beach Park, on the north shore, behind the Kahului Airport.

All Equipment is supplied: Our sail selection features custom-designed sails that are lightweight replicas of the sails the pros use. We also use Specialized equipment designed exclusively for children and women. Our philosophy is to use the best equipment to accelerate the learning curve. All our courses can be customized to fit your group &  schedule. Digital on-water Photography & on-water Video service is available by request.

BOOKINGS: All lessons are by appointment only. We fill up fast so call ahead and make a reservation, so we can confirm your schedule. Students should book at least 48 hrs ahead by calling (808) 283-7913. (Earlier the better). In summer, there are three start times per day: 9am, 12noon and 2:30pm.

CALL IN: Students should call in each morning (808-283-7913) for; the wind update, start time, and location of the day’s activities. Beginner Lessons usually begin at 9am to take advantage of the lighter morning winds. *There is no advanced windsurfing allowed before 11 am. Please note that we teach Monday thru Saturday (no lessons permitted on Sundays/holidays).

 Click Here to see our Kiteboarding brochure.Learning to kiteboard is easier than ever before: New equipment and new training techniques have made the learning process even more fun and rewarding. Kiteboarding is an exciting sport that requires proper training from a professional instructor. We have been dedicated to kiteboarding instruction, full-time since the beginning of the sport in 1997. Our school is dedicated to providing the best training techniques on the latest equipment. We can guarantee you a great training program, with well-trained certified instructors. Our hands-on lessons are taught one-on-one, so your very own instructor can work with you at your own pace. Beginners will get a thorough lesson covering all the basic skills and knowledge. Intermediates progress quickly, and advanced students can focus on the techniques they want to master. Whatever your skill level, our programs will trouble shoot any weaknesses and give you a well rounded skill set, that will help you to become a confident & self-sufficient kiteboarder, in the shortest possible time.

Intermediate/advanced lessons: We can work with you on your own gear, or ours. We can caddy for you or ride alongside, whichever works best in a given situation. Kiteboarding & kiteboarding instruction has been our full time passion since ’97 and we have constantly updated the systems to get the best results possible. We have integrated the best features of the worlds best Kitesurfing training systems into our unique program, which has been tried, tested, refined and proven in Maui’s demanding conditions.

KITE EQUIPMENT: We have all the equipment you will need in the school vans for your unlimited use during your lessons. We use the complete range of the very latest Naish kites (the leading kite brand). If you have already purchased kiteboarding gear, bring it all to Maui (except the board maybe).   *When we see your kiteboarding gear we may have to review your safety-system setup and update it if necessary. NB: We have supervised kite rental on Maui, however if you want to ride a lot after the lessons, bring your kites. Boards are available for rental from about $25/day. Kiteboarding Equipment can be purchased. We have new accessories & a big selection of used gear. Kites from Naish, Cabrinha, and Best. Boards from Naish, Cabrinha, and Liquidforce. You may want to pre-purchase equipment so that you can use it during your vacation on Maui. We can make specific recommendations on equipment packages to suit your needs. For more Gear Info…

KITE LESSONS: Our kiteboarding program is the most advanced for teaching techniques, and is suited to the latest gear. We have been refining the lesson programs over the last 11 years of full-time instruction. We are the longest running kite school, and the largest on Maui, and have the best reputation for quality Instruction. We use the IKO, teaching systems within our lesson program, and certification courses are available. Our lessons are taught with a one-on-one student instructor ratio, so we can work on all the techniques you want. The emphasis is on safe repeatable protocol and kite control to make you an independent kiteboarder. All our courses can be customized to fit your group &  schedule. More lesson Info…

WINDY SEASON: Maui is the windiest  kiteboarding destination. We have the most winds from MAY till SEPTEMBER. This is the most reliable wind time and the best time to plan your kiteboarding Vacation to Maui. We can have good wind all year, but in winter there is a chance of the wind not cooperating for several days at a time. If you come over in the non-peak season, you should be flexible to try surfing or some other light wind activities. More Weather Info…

BOOKINGS: We fill up fast so call ahead and make a reservation, so we can confirm your schedule. Students should book at least 48 hrs ahead by calling (808) 283-7913. (Earlier the better). In summer there are two start times per day: 10:30am and 2:30pm.

CALL IN: Students should call in each morning (808-283-7913) for; the wind update, start time, and location of the day’s activities. Lessons usually begin at 11am to take advantage of the afternoon trade-winds. There is no kiteboarding allowed before 11 am.

CHECK IN: Students can check in at our Kite Beach Maui Van. Our beach location has exclusive amenities for our students and alumni. Students receive their pre-course information, watch our training video, and get their kiteboarding guidelines/map. We provide gear storage services, and a beach shuttle, showers and Wi-fi internet, for members at our exclusive Kite Beach Club.

KITE HOMEWORK: To be on the safe side:
*Don’t launch your LEI (inflatable) kites until you get enough training.
*Do keep practicing on a Trainer kite, in steady wind (use extreme caution when practicing on the land).
*Read our How-to Fly A Trainer Kite free online guide.
*Buy the DVD Titled, “Kiteboarding Progression for Beginners”.

Here is some general information regarding Action Sports Holidays & lessons.

OUR ACCOMMODATIONS: One of our luxury South Shore accommodations.Our travel department can arrange local accommodation and activities for your visit. We have a range of places to stay, from Hotels, to condominiums and studios. Email us your arrival and departure dates, number of people traveling with you, and your accommodation preference (luxury/economy) and we will give you a range of options, and price packages. Our preferred accommodation venue is located in Kihei on the South Shore. This is a central location to all the activities and great value. Exclusive North shore accommodations also available. Click here for More Info..

Kitesurfing Information


Modern Inflatable Kitesurfing Kite

Kitesurfing is the natural evolution of extreme wind-powered watersports. Combining traits of windsurf and wakeboard, the powerful air-foils and lightweight boards give the kiteboarder higher performance capabilities than ever before. In its short but exciting history kitesurfing has brought together the most exciting components of other extreme sports. The simplicity of the kite-board concept allows every rider the ability to create their own ride styles that reflect their creative imagination and personal expression. With every new move the definitions are changed and the sport continues to expand in possibility. Nobody knows what kiteboarding will look like in the future. But already at the present time kiteboarding has expanded into snow-kiteboarding and has taken new directions into foil-boarding and land-boarding.

What makes a kitesurfer work: The kitesurfer flies the kite across the wind to provide traction power through the lines to his kite-control-bar. The rider holds the control bar like a waterskier holds the ski-rope’s handle. the kitesurfer steers the kite by pulling the ends of the bar. Pulling left to fly the kite left, and pulling the right side of the bar to steer the kite to the right. The rider wears a harness and hooks into the kite bar’s harness line. The harness allows the rider to hold the power with the body instead of the arms. So the arms are more easily able to steer the kite. the harness also allows the rider to fly the kite with one hand. The rider has a board that looks like a wakeboard, (or a small surfboard). the rider steers the board by leaning the board with the feet (just like waterskiing or surfing). By steering the kite to different positions, the rider can sail himself across the wind in both directions, the same way that a sailboat can tack across the wind. A kitesurfer can sail towards the wind by making a series of tacks (zig  zags) like a sailboarder. The kitesurfer has  a big kite and very little weight of equipment, no heavy mast or rigging like a boat may have. So this makes the kiteboard equipment very light and fast.

“The kitesurfer, flies forty feet in the air above huge bone crunching waves in Hawaii’s famous surf. He approaches the wave at blistering speed and launches himself from the crest of the oncoming wave. He leaps high into the air where he hangs effortlessly suspended from his wing and dances as gracefully as a bird, soaring and looping, he defies gravity until he softly descends, and challenges the next wave. Returning to shore he rides the wave with the agility of a surfer.
This aerial ballet is the manifestation of the new water sport of Kitesurfing. Kitesurfing is the synergistic offspring of windsurfing, wake boarding and paragliding. Kitesurfers control a wing of lightweight fabric, which pulls them across the water or above it. The sport is fast becoming the center of attention on the world water sports stage as pre-conceived limitations are regularly being shattered.”
Rider:David Dorn, Photo:Mike Minichiello

Kitesurfing can trace its roots back to its ancestors, “kite-skiing” and “flysurfing” which first appeared back in the early ‘1980’s. Cory Roeseler from Oregon began to develop his Kiteski system using a rigid framed kite with a reel-bar & water-skis. The kite-skier launched the kite by hand and let out line from the reel to begin riding. When the kite crashed, the pilot reeled in the lines to re-launch. At about the same time in France the Legaignoux brothers were working on their early prototypes for their inflatable kites. These they tested on water-skis and a variety of other watercraft. The Legaignoux brothers called their sport “Flysurfing”, and their kites eventually became the basis for the original Wipika system. The modern era of kitesurfing began mid 90’s when Laird Hamilton and Manu Bertin gained recognition by kite-surfing on Maui’s north shore. Riding surf style boards with footstraps, they captured the imagination of the water sport community.


EQUIPMENT available product and was awarded patents for its unique design. It was first released around 1986. The Legaignoux inflatable kite, took 15 years of development before becoming commercially available as the Wipika kite, released around 1996. The Wipika, was an instant success and quickly became the most popular system. The Wipika System came with fixed length lines, however reel-bar systems were sometimes used. The Legaignouxs’ were given several patents for their spherical kite, and bridal system. Now the vast majority of kites produced are manufactured under license, and derive from the Legaignoux concept.

Kitesurfing popularity has exploded in recent years and the equipment is now widely available and more sophisticated than ever. Kitesurfing now has well-organized events such as the Kitesurfing World Titles, and the World Cup of Kitesurfing. Kitesurfing instruction is also widely available through several networks of accredited schools. Kitesurfing associations, Internet newsgroups, and web-sites are growing. There are many good kitesurfing instructional videos and DVD’s available and a plethora of kitesurfing magazines too.

Kitesurfing pioneers include: Cory Roeseler from Oregon. Lou Waiman, a wake-boarder from Florida who now lives on Maui. Eliot Leboe a professional windsurfer turned hardcore kitesurfer. Several professional windsurfers and waterman who turned their talents toward kitesurfing. Sail designer Joe Koehl has been largely responsible for getting kitesurfing up and running as a sport. Joe has introduced many of us to the sport and helped organize the events and promotion. Windsurfing legend Robby Naish has been converted. Rush Randle is also an accomplished kitesurfer. David Dorn and John Holzhall were responsible for the creation of the earliest structured training programs that made the sport accessible to many and promoted kite safety training for all new participants. Their timely contribution to the sport helped kiteboarding to become accepted and recognized as a legitimate sport.

Most beginners will usually travel downwind until they develop the skills for going upwind. For some light-wind riders using larger boards it may be possible to go upwind on their first day, but there is usually a learning period of about three weeks, where you will have to “schlep” your gear up the beach between runs. Eventually you can travel upwind as well as a windsurfer. Downwind riding is still very popular way to sail. Kitesurfers often do downwind coast runs and hitch a ride back upwind to do it again. (There are restricted areas restrictions apply in some locations like airports etc).

New kites with bar range in price from $1295- to $2195-(USD). A complete beginner setup including board will cost between $1500- to $2500-. Some equipment is sold as a “complete package” for a discounted price. A complete setup includes the control bar, lines, harness and a board. You may also want to buy a good buoyancy jacket (life vest), helmet and wetsuit. If you want to save money you can convert an old surfboard into a kiteboard by adding footstraps, this will be a good learning board but will probably be inadequate when you begin to get bigger jumps. Used kites are an option and buying a last years model may save you 30-40% off the new price. Always take care to inspect any piece of equipment before purchasing it. A good SAFETY system is a must.

Most people will learn to fly a small “trainer kite” on land first. The smaller kite has less power and is easier to manage. The student can learn about the “wind window”. and how to steer the kite correctly. Kite control skills are necessary before the student attempts a more powerful kite. The proper trainer kite will have a control bar, and a kite leash that will de-power the kite if the user drops the bar. Flying kites on land should always be done with caution. Always find open space away from buildings, power lines, fences and people. Find a place with steady wind, and have an experienced person help you. Even small kites can get unruly, so do not take them for granted. Get a lesson in power-kiting from a local kite store, or school. they will save you a lot of time, and prevent many bumps and bruises.

Inflatable or Ram-Air?
When kitesurfing was evolving around the world, the pioneers used existing power kites (or traction kites) that were already available. these early traction kites were designed for sport flying and in some cases for para-carting (a buggy). While the designs were efficient, they were not designed for use on watercraft. They would not float and they did not relaunch very well. Newer designs have included water exclusion devices that make the kites float and are able to be relaunched more easily than before. When selecting a ram-air you should only chose ones that have all the modern features. Ram-airs are lighter than inflatables because they don’t carry PVC bladders, they have a very efficient shape with a flat profile which makes them very powerful for their size. They are often cheaper than inflatables. They are popular in some areas probably due to availability and marketing rather than performance. However at Action Beach Maui you may only see one or two ram-air kites amongst 30-40 inflatable kites. This is because in stronger winds, efficiency is measured less by power-to-size and more by relaunch-ability and stability. The ram-air shape relies on a steady wind to maintain its shape and is therefore susceptible to micro gusts and will invert and distort with very little provocation. For this reason Maui Kitesurfers overwhelmingly prefer Inflatable style kites. Ram-air design is converging with inflatable performance and may ultimately be the kite we prefer to use in extreme light air like on a mountain lake at high altitude. But for crash and burn in the surf give me my inflatable!.
Directional or Bi-directional?
These days the kite board type you chose is usually determined by your previous boarding experience rather than the wind-range in your local riding area. The advent of larger bi-directional boards has extended their wind range into the lightest breezes and the development and availability of smaller more efficient directional boards gives them a virtually unlimited high-wind potential. Kitesurfers with wake-boarding and snow-boarding backgrounds will tend to gravitate toward the bi-directional style. Beginners can use footstraps and slipper style bindings on bi-directional boards. Bi-directional doesn’t mean that you have to have the full wake-board style bindings. Directional boards come in so many production sizes and constructions that there is a board for every body type and size. Directional boards are usually preferred by people with a surfing or windsurfing background. Directional boards require you to change your feet when jibing. Directionals use foot-straps in an inline or “Y” configuration, depending on their width. All boards should be used with a leash while learning, and when you use a leash, you should always use a helmet.
Using Short Lines?
One of the most important choices for a kiteboarder is what length of kite lines to use. Using shorter lines when learning will create a much safer and easer  system when learning. Shorter lines will give the kite less maximum power by reducing the distance it can travel. Also shorter lines allow the kite to steer faster with less lag-time, an give the rider a more responsive kite. This also gives better feedback to the rider. Short lines are easier to untangle, and need less room to maneuver. When using shorter lines, you can use a larger kite size. All the teaching systems recommend using short lines to their students. Generally a new kiteboarder will start on the shortest length, and then gradually increase their line-length as they become more proficient. Short line sets are available in 4m, 7m, 10m, 12m, 15m.

Multiple Line Lengths?
Most kites are supplied with one set of lines of generic length, usually about 25 meters (75 feet). Additional lines sets can be purchased from kite stores. Line sets are also available in; 17m, 20m, 22m, 25m, 27m. Lines can be combined for a variety of lengths to give the rider a greater range. Using shorter lines in strong wind will help reduce the kite’s power. This gives the rider a greater wind range with one kite size. The shorter the lines, the less power from the kite. Longer lines give the kite more potential power. When using a newer Bow Kite design it is possible to ride with even shorter line lengths. 10m and 15 meter lengths are used for learning and for riding in waves.

Safe Kitesurfing,

The Maui Kiteboarding Association
The United States Kitesurfing Association

Kiteboarding FAQ, Q&A Page.
Action Sports Maui Kitesurfing School info Page.

WARNING, Kitesurfing is an extreme sport that requires a high degree of water confidence and a good understanding of kite flying skills. The lightweight foils are extremely powerful and often overwhelm the novice and may place them in dangerous situations that can also endanger onlookers and innocent bystanders. A responsible attitude and Kitesurfing Training is essential for a safe entry into this sport.

I just updated this page. Be aware that safety systems are changing all the time. You should consult your user manual for proper safety system function for your brand of bar, for the latest safety systems and protocols.
No promises are made for the accuracy of the information in this page, or for any error or omission. Things change, Get training from a certified kiteboarding instructor. Read a lot, and Practice using your safety systems (carefully) in non-critical situations. Ride Safe!

First version posted 1997, Copyright © ; David Dorn, all rights reserved

Kiteboarding FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

Is kiteboarding difficult to learn?

Is kiteboarding easier than windsurfing?

Where can I do it?

How much does the gear cost?

Do I need to take lessons?

Is Kiteboarding safe?

Can I learn Kiteboarding from watching a video?

How about books and DVD’s?

When should I take a lesson?

Where should I take a lesson?

Should I buy a trainer Kite before the lesson?

Is flying a trainer kite a substitute for a lesson?

I have windsurfed for 20 years, will that make me a better kitesurfer?

How long will it take me to learn?

Can I check it out first?

What is the maximum age that you will teach?

What is that minimum age for your students?

Is kiteboarding fun?

Q. Is kiteboarding difficult to learn?

A. Learning to kiteboard is easier than ever before.  We have been teaching kiteboarding now for over twelve years, and it just keeps getting better and better. Our new equipment and new training techniques have made the learning process fun and rewarding . It only requires a modest investment of time and money to get into the sport. This combined with a little patience and motivation is all it takes to be a kiteboarder. Compared to other water/wind-sports kiteboarding is relatively easy to learn. The learning curve compared to windsurfing is faster, and the kiteboarder will be more advanced after their first year. Kiteboarding is harder to learn than wakeboarding, because it is more technical. Remember that Kiteboarding is like learning two sports, Board riding, and kite flying. Kiteboarding is getting easier to learn each year, and is now available to a wider demographic of participants.  

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Q. Is Kiteboarding easier than windsurfing?

A. Learning to kiteboard is “faster” than learning to windsurf.  We like to say that the kiteboarding learning curve is steeper than the windsurfing learning curve. This means that you will learn more in a shorter time. In windsurfing there are several stages of learning, the longboard stage, then the shortboard stage, that requires a waterstart lesson and advanced sail skills. You will begin to learn the harness and footstraps after about one or two months or so. In kiteboarding you will learn the kite flying, harness and footstraps and waterstart in the first few days. There is only one stage, and the basic skills to master. The basic kiteboarding skills can be learned in a week or two and most people will be upwind riding in 6 to 8 weeks.

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Q. Where can I do it?

A. You can kiteboard anywhere that you see windsurfers.  Kites like medium to strong wind,  10-25 miles per hour, and shallow water a few feet deep (sandy bottom). Generally kiteboarders will like the same wind and weather as windsurfers.  Kiteboards get good speed and can do jumps in much lighter wind than most windsurfers because the kite can be more powerful than the windsurfing sails. Kites are also going on the ice and snow, and on land buggies and dirt surfers. 

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Q. How much does the gear cost?

A. Kiteboard equipment cost less to buy than windsurfing equipment.  Kites complete with the bar and lines cost about 950.00 to $1600.00 each depending on their size. Boards cost from 599.00 to 899.00, then you need a harness and jacket for another $150.00. Totaling 2000.00 to $3000.00 new. However now there are many great deals on last years stuff, or packages that come complete for under $1500.00. There is also lots of used gear available, of all conditions an ages. This years kite used may be 30-40 percent less than its new price. And a complete used setup a year or two old may be as low as $600.00 – $1000.00. Beware when buying gear more than 3 years old. Never buy kites from before 2009.

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Q. Do I need to take lessons?

A. Absolutely, Kiteboarding is a technical sport with a steep learning curve.  Like scuba diving, or flying a paraglider, you don’t want to take unnecessary risks while learning. Many of the techniques are counter-intuitive, and are best learned in a lesson. Because of the huge forces involved you do not want to make costly mistakes. Lessons shorten your learning time and keep you much safer in the process.

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Q. Is kiteboarding Safe?

A. Kiteboarding is safer than ever!  Since the invention of the sport there has been a lot of attention paid to kite safety. The pioneers of the sport had their fair share of problems as they figured everything out. All kites nowadays come with safety systems as standard equipment. Kites safety systems that allow the rider to release the power, kite leashes and safety training have all contributed to make the sport as safe as possible. In particular the newest kites that have become available in the last few years have the ability to fully depower 100% at any time. This has made the sport much safer than at any other time in the sports history. Two things to keep in mind are, 1) always use the latest gear, that is in good condition, and 2) Make sure you get professional instruction, that includes the proper use of the safety systems. (Of course there will be some people who take unnecessary risks, by not getting lessons or generally not respecting the kite’s power).

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Q. Can I learn Kiteboarding from watching a video?

A. Definitely not! (but they can help).  There have been instructional videos available for as long as there have been kiteboards. And like the equipment the videos too get dated, old and superseded. Watching a few videos before your first lesson will help you to visualize the overall process. Only very few videos or DVD’s will have up to date techniques that will stand up to the latest equipment. That is why a lesson with a live instructor is so important.

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Q. How about books and DVD’s ?

A. Books and DVD’s are great homework before and after your lesson.  Watching a good instructional DVD before your lesson, and having a good instructional book to refer to after your lesson is great to reinforce what you have learned. Students who watch the DVD before the lesson, learn faster, and progress earlier. Students who read the instructional books after their lessons will have much better retention of the information. This is a real advantage in kiteboarding because people often have a long period after their training before they try their own equipment for the first time.

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Q. When should I take a lesson?

A. Take a lesson Before, During and After you purchase your equipment.  Take a lesson to see if you like the sport. Doing a single day lesson will give you a taste of what is to come. Most people will know right away if it is right for them. The investment is minimal in a single lesson. Be sure to tell the instructor that you are just trying the sport out. They usually have a “discovery” type program that is light on the technical jargon, but gives you an overview and hands on experience.
If you like the sport you should sign up for a complete course usually up to 3 to 5 more days. Then you will have progressed beyond the beginner equipment and be ready to purchase you own gear. Ask your instructor what gear they recommend. After purchasing your equipment take it back to your instructor and do another lesson on your own gear. New Gear needs to be set up correctly, and adjusted to suit you. You instructor will make sure that you know how to use your new gear correctly. Take as many lessons as you need to feel confident and have all the skills to be independent. Then after you have mastered riding in your local area, you should take a lesson whenever riding a new location for the first time. Hook up with an instructor who is local to the area, and they can show you “where the rocks are”, Knowing the local conditions and hazards, and customs will help you enjoy the new location safely without creating problems for yourself and others. Once you turn Pro, don’t forget the instructor who helped you get into this great sport. Send your friends to him for lessons, you will be doing them and him a favor.

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Q. Where should I take a lesson?

A. Always take a lesson from a certified Instructor.  Not all instructors are the same. More than half of all kiteboarding instructors have never received formal training. They put the guesswork back into kiteboarding. The best lesson will come from an experienced and certified instructor that has been professionally trained. There are a network of official schools that offer the best level of professional service. These have been trained in many aspects of safety and teaching protocols and have a proven teaching system. You would not go to an unlicensed doctor for surgery, or a self taught scuba instructor to get training. (Some schools and instructors just say they are certified when they are not). Don’t just take their word for it, check out their credentials first. It pays to do your homework and seek out the best instructors possible. Your life is literally in their hands. Do not be tempted to go for a few dollars cheaper lesson to save a few bucks. The certified Instructor has made a big investment in training, certification, and always carries insurance. They are definitely worth every cent when it comes to your safety training.

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Q. Should I buy a trainer Kite before the lesson?

A. Sure why not, kites are fun.  A good trainer kite will cost between $100. and $200.  They should be ram-air (soft) type, with a control bar. They should be used safely away from people and powerlines, and you should start in light winds. You will need a dedicated buddy to run around and relaunch your kite too. Flying any type of kite will help you to understand the wind and kite better. A tow-line delta kite with handles works too. I have even heard of instructors who make their students fly a single line kite before they progress onto the two-line. Trainer kites and kite flying in general is especially good preparation if the water is cold where you live and you are preparing for your lessons that you have booked while on vacation in Hawaii. Trainer kites are also good for young kiteboarders and kids of suitable age. Take care because even a trainer kite can kite your butt, and drag your knees along the grass (ouch!). Be safe and start out in light wind.

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Q. Is flying a trainer kite a substitute for a lesson?

A. Definitely Not!!!  next question?  Trainer kites are no substitute for the larger “traction Kites” that need more respect and control, also when you add the water into the equation it is much more complicated again.

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Q. I have windsurfed for 20 years, will that make me a better kitesurfer?

A. Kiteboarding is not windsurfing (snowboarding/ wakeboarding/ etc).  These sports have similarities to kiteboarding that will carry over. And the same determination that was required to master these sports will also be required to learn kiteboarding too. Most people who ask this question don’t like the idea of being a beginner and learning all over again. But the sooner they put their egos aside and hunker down to the learning process, the sooner they will be out there cruising. Of course a guy with 20 years windsurf experience will do well. It is the same water, the same wind and it is a sailing sport with lots of the same jargon an concepts, but the equipment is different and the techniques used to ride the equipment are different. That is why in a lesson the instructor will take into consideration the previous experiences of the student and focus on the things they don’t know, “the Differences”. If the student has an open mind they will learn very quickly. If they are resistant to new ideas or wont let go of their ego, they will be in for a rude awakening, or at best a very frustrating experience.

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Q. How long will it take me to learn?

A. It takes as long as it takes.  Everybody is so different when it comes to kiteboarding, as I said a lot of skills carry over from other sports, So that if a guy is; a surfing/sailing/wakeboarding/paraglider instructor, he will pick up the sport much faster that someone who hasn’t ever done a board sport in their life. But as a rough guide, the longer kiteboarding courses are the best place to start. They range from 5 days to two weeks. After the lesson phase is the self training phase, where the student practices what they learned in the lesson and gets water time, this is when they will go from a downwind rider to and upwind rider. This process often takes a month or 10-20 sessions. Don’t be too fixated or worried about how long it takes, because you do not want to rush the learning phase. If you put too much pressure on yourself you wont enjoy the process as much as you should. Just be sure to give yourself as much time and patience as you need, and you will breeze through it.

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Q. Can I check it out first?

A. Yes you can! We recommend anyone curious about Kiteboarding to do the one-day “Discover kiteboarding” class. You can check out the sport and get an overview of everything from the skills to the gear. You can see how the sport feels for you. After your first session you will be able to get a concept of the sport and how much training you may want to take, then if you like it you can always upgrade to a longer course.!!. Some people will just take the sport day by day, and do several single lessons until they are ready to take the next step.

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Q. Is kiteboarding fun?

A. Ask any kiteboarder!!  Kiteboarding is heaps of fun and very addictive. Most people I know spent their whole week waiting for their weekend kiteboarding sessions. Most people secretly want to quit their day jobs so that they have more time to kiteboard, quite a few people actually do quit their day jobs and go kiteboarding every day. Then there are a growing number of full-time kiteboarders who do not have any other job. And of course there are the professional kiteboarders who fly around the world following the windy conditions in all the best destinations for at least 9 months of the year.

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Q. What is the maximum age that you will teach?

A. The oldest student we have taught is 73!!  Kiteboarding lessons can be adapted to just about anyone. We will take into consideration that age and fitness level of a student and recommend a specific lesson program for the individual. Older students will need to take some more time, and some extra lessons to learn. It is quite uncommon for anyone over 65 to take lessons. But most students are in the 35-55 year old category. We will train the body as well as the mind. Usually the more active seniors that are already doing other sports, are the ones that will be able to do kiteboarding. It really depends on the persons fitness and health being appropriate for the activity. Many seniors today do regular exercise and even yoga. Age is just a number, but all students should be realistic about their expectations, and fully disclose any medical conditions or problems that could affect their ability to safely participate in kiteboarding activities.

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Q. What is that minimum age for your students?

A. The minimum Age has just been lowered to 9 years Old!!  The minimum age we were allowed to teach was 12years old. This was because of insurance and our instructor regulations. We have recently introduced a special “teaching Kids to kiteboard” program, which is a special IKO endorsement that your instructors receive after doing a specialized training module. We have small gear just for kids and the program is designed to teach the youngest kids all the skills they will need to become independent kiteboarders. We also teach younger kids to fly the trainer kites, and prepare them for power kiting an sports kite flying. Younger kids can do special kite flying kids classes and join in the action. Call to discuss the different programs for different age kids.

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Discover Kiteboarding


Start Kitesurfing the safe and fun way, and get all the skills you need, faster!

A young Kiteboarding Student www.actionsportsmaui.comYour first day Kiteboarding is one of the most important in your Kiteboarding career. Many newcomers will decide on this day whether this is the right sport for them or not. Much depends on the experiences that you will have in the first few hours or even minutes. At Action Sports Maui we know how important your first day is, and we do our very best to give you  a safe, fun and empowering experience.

Everybody is different: Kiteboarding combines two skill sets, “Kite Flying”, and “Board Riding”. Some student kiteboarders will have some of these skills from other sports like wakeboarding or flying kites as a kid. There are paragliders, pilots, windsurfers and other sportsmen that will have some background experiences to draw from. However there is also a growing number of people who have never done another water sport or board sport, whom are learning Kiteboarding as their first board-sport.

What to Expect: In your first lesson you will learn many of the core skills that are essential to Kiteboarding. There is a complete list of the kiteboarding skills on our IKO Levels page. Check it out to get an idea of what is in store for you. This skills are laid out in a practical sequence to allow you to build up to more complex tasks.  The average sports person may learn to be an independent kiteboarder in 10 hours of lessons and a non-sportsmen may need 15-20 hours to become an independent kiteboarder. There is no need to do it all at once. You can learn the sport one day at a time, and build up your skills and experiences, until you feel comfortable and confident to go on your own.

Ready to launch. www.actionsportsmaui.comEvaluation: When we begin the lesson your instructor will ask you about your previous experiences, sports background and water confidence. This is the best time to tell them if you have any reservations, fears or lack of water confidence. Also tell them if you have had some kite flying experience before. Example; a lesson from a friend, or a “professional lesson in Mexico a few years ago”. This is all helpful information to the instructor that allows them to better tailor the lesson to you. 

Your Own Pace: By pacing the lesson to the student’s learning speed we ensure that they stay in control, and learn the skills at the appropriate time. You will not be put in a situation where you will get blown away or not know how to get your self back to shore. Similarly if you are a fast learner, your instructor will be able to feed the techniques to you as quickly as you can absorb them. You are not held back by being put in a group situation with slower learners.

Step by Step: Every part of the kiteboarding process is broken down into simple exercises that are quickly learned, When we start to combine the exercises we will have the basics to learn the essential skills. We start at the beginning with the CORE SKILLS. The core skills include: Stopping the kite, steering the kite, & self-rescue. These skills give the student the confidence to take on the next set of more challenging tasks.

Control then power: We teach the students to have control, before we give them power. We maintain a high level of safety during the lesson by maintaining control. We will ensure that the students master the skills before moving onto a new task. Seeing is believing, so when we can see the student demonstrate the skill we can move forward. We do not pressure the students to progress at any particular pace. Just as quickly as they can naturally and comfortably learn. We repeat each exercise several times to ensure the student has good mastery of the skill and will retain the information. Once a student has completed the basics, we can add some more power to use.

Equipment: We provide all the equipment that you will need during your lessons. We only use the latest and best quality gear available. You can take a look at which equipment we use and recommend at our Kiteboarding Equipment Page.


STEP ONE: Kite Skills. We start with the trainer kite on land to teach you the steering reflexes that are so important to successful kite-flying. The trainer kite is smaller than the full size kite you will be using in the next steps. The trainer kite allows you to experiment with the wind and get the feel for the kite. During this process you will also learn about wind direction, flying in the wind window, using power-zones, using the harness and using the other safety systems.

Discover Kiteboarding www.actionsportsmaui.comSTEP TWO: We move onto the larger inflatable kite. The inflatable kites are what we use in the water because they float and are able to be relaunched. You will discover how to handle the kite and use the depower system, and steer one handed. We show the correct way to set up the equipment and how to use the various safety systems. Moving from the land to the water you will learn how to launch the kite safely. 

STEP THREE: We then learn to fly the kite on the water without the board.  We start with some body surfing behind the kite, and use kite power to return to the beach and to provide locomotion.  This is also called “body dragging”. You will fly away from shore, and surf a downwind course and return to the beach and self-exit. Next you learn to steer the kite “single-handed” while using the harness.

STEP FOUR: Discover Kiteboarding www.actionsportsmaui.comBoard Skills. You will learn how to launch with the board, and how to recover the board in deep water. You will learn board handling skills, and the Theory of the waterstart. The waterstart combines the board skills with the kite-flying skills. As you gain experience using the board and kite together you will begin to pop up on the board and start to ride a short distance.

Click Here to learn more about IKO Levels.After your lesson you will decide if you are ready to upgrade to one of our longer courses, or whether you just want to let all the information sink in for a while. You will receive an IKO Certification Card that outlines your progress and shows you where you are on the learning curve. This will enable you to judge how many lessons you may need to achieve your goals. If you are leaving our shores. you can take the card with you to any one of hundreds of IKO certified schools around the world, and continue your training where you left off. Your card is a record of your skills and can be used to prove your competency when renting equipment or when riding at a location that requires proof of ability.


To make your reservation Book now , Text or Call: 1-808-283-7913


Maui Kiteboarding Guidelines


Please respect other water and beach users at all times. Learn the rules and guidelines before going out. Follow the local guidelines and always fly safely. When you kiteboard on Maui you are representing all kiteboarders. Your actions both good and bad will affect the rest of us. Sharing the ocean resources is fundamental to Hawaiians. Disrespecting others right to share the resources is anti-social and will not be tolerated. Follow the posted warning signs, and always follow the directives of the lifeguards.

maui kite map
Maui Kiteboarding Map

With the increasing popularity of kiteboarding, kiteboarders on Maui see the need to step up self-regulating efforts to keep the sport growing in a positive direction. In addition, all kiteboarders are under specific FAA waiver stipulations. The FAA waiver stipulates that all kiteboarders must comply with: 


  1. No maneuvers shall be performed over persons or property not involved with kiteboarding activities;
  2. No kiteboarding in the 2 mile long by one mile wide corridor at the end of the runway in Spreckelsville (see map);
  3. The waiver is applicable and only valid between the hours of official sunrise and sunset;
  4. All kiteboarders operating within the area from Ho`okipa to Waihee Point shall be responsible for seeing and avoiding non-participants; and
  5. The kite will not be operated 125 feet above sea level.

The north shore of Maui is controlled by the Federal Aviation Regulations in an area that extends five miles from the boundary of Kahului Airport (OGG). All kitesurfers should get a copy of Federal Aviation Regulation 101.  a printout of the regulation can be obtained from the FAA website:  Kitesurfers intending to kitesurf on the North shore will have to comply with FAR 101 at all times. In particular FAR regulation 101.1 paragraph 2 which states that no-one may operate a kite weighing more than 5 pounds and FAR 101.7 which states that you may not fly your kite in a manner which is hazardous to persons or property. The MKA recommends that any kitesurfer on the north shore be thoroughly familiar with the FAR 101 regulations.

Kiteboarding Association LINKS:


Kiteboarder Skill Levels

Discovery Kiteboarder Program
  • Carry and set up the lines and kite
  • Determine the wind direction and upwind and downwind (windward, leeward).
  • Fly a small kite (inflatable, stunt kite, foil…) on the wind window edge and maintain it close to the ground.
  • Know how to stop the kite power in case of problem by releasing the bar. Be aware that the kite leash must be worn at all times, before kite launching and until landing.
  • Be aware of the area where the kite can fall down wind to the pilot.
  • Recover the kite on land.
  • Position the kite on request from 9 to 3 o’clock on the wind window edge.
  • Launch a kite with an assistant and choose the right angle to the wind.
  • Fly the kite in the power area without crashing it.
  • Twist and untwist the lines while the kite flies.
  • Recover a kite and secure it on land.
  • Land a kite with the help of an assistant.
  • Fly a kite hooked to the harness.
  • Pilot hooked to the harness with one hand.
  • Activate the harness release system or quick release located on a leader line.
  • Perform a downwind course by body dragging and using the power of the kite.
  • Relaunch a kite from the water.
  • Wind the lines in the water and recover the kite.
  • Perform a self-rescue in deep water.
  • Launch a kite alone on land.
  • Identify potential wind obstacles creating lift or down draft and be able to define the wind direction. Understand that practice with onshore wind is dangerous.
Kiteboarder level 1
Intermediate Kiteboarder Program
  • Define if the practice area is safe for practice.
  • Set up and check the equipment alone (kite, line, control bar).
  • Go away from the shore (with side-shore and side-on-shore wind) while body dragging, go down wind and come back to the shore.
  • In the water, pilot a kite with power from one side of the wind window to the other, passing by the power area. The pilot must be able to perform while piloting the kite at different heights from the water.
  • Perform the previously mentioned exercise while piloting with one hand.
  • Know the water start theory: board and body positioning, kite piloting.
  • Recover the board in deep water and position the feet in the foot-straps and keep the position while flying the kite.
  • Stand up on the board and ride while moving the kite up and down.
  • Set up a 4 line kite alone and check that it is properly done. Obligatory at this point if it hasn’t been done before.
  • Fly 4 line kite.
  • Activate the safety systems of a 4 line bar (power loop, kite leash).
  • Adjust a four line kite while using the power loop.
  • Adjust the trim system of a 4 line kite to avoid it to fly backward or to adjust the power.
Kiteboarder level 2
Independent Kiteboarder Program
  • Know the right of way rules.
  • Ride away from the shore and come back to the shore.
  • Edge on the heel and toe side to change the course.
  • Accelerate by edging down and moving the kite.
  • Stop by edging.
  • Be able to keep an edge.
  • Ride away from the shore and come back at starting point. Ride upwind.
  • Constantly ride upwind.
  • Recover the board without the leash, by body dragging upwind.
  • Ride a twin tip. Optional if it has been done before.
  • Switch of direction.
  • Know the theoretical approach to jumps.
  • Perform a small jump and land it.
Kiteboarder level 3

Learn to Kiteboard


LEARN WITH US: Action Sports Maui has been teaching the sport of kiteboarding since the beginning. We have tons of experience teaching all kinds of people to learn to kiteboard. We love to teach and make the learning process fun. We started as a Kiteboard school and that is our main focus, teaching people to Kiteboard. Learning is easier than ever before, with better equipment and better instruction methods.

LEARN TO KITE: Kiteboarding is a fast and fun water-sport that is easy to set up, transport and just uses the power of the wind. You can do it almost anywhere, on lakes rivers, dams, reservoirs, and beaches, even on the snow. There are kiteboarding destinations all over the country and all around the world. Once you have mastered the basics you can explore many fun and exciting locations. Learning is fun and you can take lessons from good certified instructors in over 40 countries.

SMALL AND LIGHT: Kites fold up small and the boards are small and light like a snowboard. All the gear packs down small and it is light enough to take with you whenever you travel on vacation. All the gear can pack into a bag the size of a set of golf clubs. And you don’t need to put a roof rack on your car, because it all fits neatly in the trunk.
LEARNING IS FUN: We make the learning process fun. From the very first time you feel the wind in your hands you will feel the excitement and the power. Every step is an easy progression, and the instructor stays with you every step of the way. Trainer kites and Ground School are followed by body-dragging in the water to learn the kite handling, then we add the board and the waterstart. In a few sessions you will be up an riding both directions and feeling the speed of the board flying across the water.
HOW YOU LEARN: We teach 90% of our lessons as private 1 to 1 lessons, so your very own instructor is right there with you side by side. Giving advice, supervision and feedback. When in the water he is right with you or close at hand spotting you and caddying for you. As you progress we give you the option of having a radio helmet so you can get real time instruction, and vital information. With the radio helmets you are are never alone. As you progress a little farther from shore your instructor rides along side you guiding you and giving instructions from the water. This is the best and fastest way to lean.
LEARN BY DOING: Our method is designed to give you the maximum hands-on experience because people learn by doing the Action. We do not just talk about it, we get you doing it, in a series of straight forward exercises that teaches you the skills. Muscle memory and some basic explanations are all that is required to get you trying it for yourself. We are right with you giving feedback and correction when needed so that you spend more time doing it right and less time struggling. No one can explain the feeling of kiteboarding, you have to try it for yourself, that is called proprioceptive learning, or developing the feel for the position, action, using spatial sensory perception (learning by doing). No book, video or verbal explanation can beat that. Our instructors are trained to use the best instructional techniques to help you learn and remember faster. At Action Sports our Motto is a little less conversation and a little more action!! Why just talk about it when you can actually get out and do it.
WHAT IS A TRAINER KITE?: A trainer Kite is a smaller easier kite to fly. We fly on the beach to learn the basics of steering. Trainer Kites are fun and not scary at all. The trainer kite session lasts about 40-45 minutes and you will learn about the wind, and steering, and the power zones, and how to fly with the harness and how to fly one-handed. (you can purchase a Trainer Kite to use after your lessons, and take it home to practice with). Trainer Kites are a great way to develop Kite Skills with a less powerful kite, you can learn on dry land, and they are great for kids too.)
WHAT IS A BODY DRAG?: A body drag doesn’t sound like much fun, but it really is. After the ground school and the trainer kite, we get into the water and fly the kite without the board. This is where you will learn the vital skills for handling a kite on the water. In this session we let the kite pull us through the water, like we are bodysurfing. The kite does all the work, and we can learn to steer, and relaunch the kite after it crashes in the water. With the body drag we can focus on learning kite skills and not worry about the board skills (yet). Body drag skills are important for any kiteboarder because you need to know how to do this when you lose your board later on. You can drag/sail up to your board and it is surprising how easy it is and how much control you have.
POWER CONTROL: The kite we fly have variable power. We show you how to fly with just enough power to get the job done. You control the power, have a little or have a lot, the power depends on the bar position just like a sailing boat adjusts its sails. We start by selecting a kite the right size for the student. Small people get smaller kites, and big people get bigger kites. Also on a windy day we will us a smaller kite than a lighter wind day. Don’t worry because your instructor always helps you choose the right size kite so that you are not overpowered. Also even if there is too much power, you can stop at any time. We show you how to depower the kite, and how to kill the power in the kite, so the you have the ultimate control.

WHAT IS A WATERSTART: A waterstart is how you get onto the board in the water. Just like a water skier gets up on a water-ski, or wakeboard, is almost the same as a kiteboarder getting onto the kiteboard. This is where the kite control you learned come into play. If you have good kite control, getting up is easy. if you have bad kite control getting up is harder. because you supply the power and steering needed to get up on the board. People with a boarding background have a slight advantage at this stage, the board skills cross over from wakeboard, and snowboard, but the “kite is king”. The kite skills are about 80% of kiteboarding, board skills are about 20%. Even if kiteboarding is your first board sport, but you have a smooth feel for the kite you will get the waterstart in a few tries.

Kitesurfing LessonHOW MANY LESSONS?: Everyone learns at a different speed. It depends on your comfort level in the water, and maybe some crossover skills from other sports. You learn the most on the first day, and after a few sessions (totaling 6-9 hours) you will be riding a little each way and know the starts, stops, and the tech side of setting up the gear. After about 15-20 hours you will be a basic rider and be riding upwind and cruising and making turns.
IS IT SAFE?: Kiting can be relatively safety if you learn from a professional instructor. You do not want to go cheap on your kite lessons, because it compromises safety. A professional *IKO Certified instructor is worth every cent because he teaches you how to protect yourself from the potential risks. You will spend less time struggling and learn more every session. Your instructor creates a safety net and ensures the ideal learning  environment. During your sessions you are wearing protective gear including; a helmet, rashguard shirt, and a buoyancy jacket/harness. Booties are also provided.
ACCREDITATION: The IKO International Kiteboarding Organization, is the worlds most respected kiteboarding training & certification organization represented in 38 countries, The IKO has a worldwide network of affiliated kiteboarding schools. Action Sports Kiteboarding School is a fully accredited and affiliated IKO Training Center (#372). Every Action Sports Kiteboarding Instructor is fully trained and Certified by the IKO. And is also certified in First-Aid and CPR. (beware of untrained imitators).