Seven Windsurfing Wonders of the World

Maui: Windsurfing Heartland

Sooner or later every boardsailor goes to the Hawaiian Island of Maui—and once you get there you'll understand why. The island offers good instruction, top equipment, and—most important—the right conditions: warm weather and trade winds that blow at 15 to 25 knots nonstop.

For these reasons, Maui is one of the best places to learn the sport. The island also offers what experienced windsurfers look for in addition to strong, steady winds: a good selection of sea conditions, from flat (at Kahaha and Kihei) to big swells (at Ho'okipa) to a mixture of the two (at Spreckelsville).
Unless you've got a buddy with a condo on the windward side, you are wise to book a windsurfing package through one of the well-established shops on the island. A package with a car, condo, board rental, and rental car will start about $900 per person for a week, based on double occupancy. The price will include a top-quality slalom or wave board, with full rig—sail, boom, mast base, and roof racks for your car.

Remeber this when booking your trip: most of the action is on the windward, northern side of the island, near the airport. So if you have a choice, don't stay on the leeward side, or you'll be spending a couple of hours a day commuting to and from your sailing spot.

On Maui the rental equipment is so new and so good that there's very little reason to bring your own gear, other than personal items such as gloves, booties, and harness. The preferred rental board is a 9-foot to 9-foot-4-inch epoxy production slalom board, although longer boards are available for complete novices, and the latest SVF custom wave boards can be rented as well. Sail choice is up to the individual, but on a typical Maui day most sailors will be using a cambered monofilm slalom sail in the 4-foot-six-inch to 5-foot-one-inch range. Women can rig one size smaller.

All the top windsurfing shops on the island offer package tours—and all provide excellent equipment and service. Hawaiian Island Windsurfing, (800.231.6958. has seven-night packages starting around $600 that include accomodation, board and rig, and rental car with unlimited free mileage. Other recommended windsurfing shops on the island are Second Wind Sail & Surf (800.936.7787. and Hi-Tech Surf Sports (808.877.2111.

When booking a tour, we recommend spending a night at a North Shore guesthouse with its own beach. This way you won't have to fight the crowds at Kanaha or Sprecklesville. Maui Windsurfari (800.736.6284. offers an assortment of accommodations, with prices ranging from $45 to $1,000 per night. Also, be sure to book a rental car before you leave the mainland for your vacation. During peak season, rental cars are in short supply, and you may not be able to get a suitable car without advance reservations.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 20 Jun 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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