Maui Kite Beach Overview
Kanaha is a favorite for locals and visitors on days when the ENE trades blow. Plenty of grassy rigging area, showers and bathrooms. Populated by locals and international visitors. From east to west, Kanaha is divided into the kite beach area, lowers, swim area and uppers. When there is a north swell, waves are on the reef about 1/4 mile from the beach. Inside the reef is bump and jump conditions. The Lowers break is well defined but often crowded as a result. Between Lowers and Uppers is a channel that allows you access to the deep water past the reef on all but the biggest wave days. Next is weird wave. This wave breaks into the wind and creates a no-mans land where you can get stuck due to the wind being cancelled by the wave action. Stay far away from WW when it is big. It is not a problem in the summer months. Next is the Uppers break which is disorganized, but still fun. The bonus is it is usually possible to pick a line to get out through the waves that avoids anything critical. On the way back in you can find a peak to ride, but it won't offer much DTL sailing.
1. There are no submerged obstacles other than sea turtles. Please keep an eye out for them as they can ruin your day and you can ruin theirs.
2. Barefoot sailing is not a problem, but avoid falling in over the reef. For that matter gybe either inside or outside the reef to save your feet.
3. When fishermen are present avoid their fishing lines - either gybe well outside of their cast range or sail to shore upwind of them as their lines drift downwind.
4. Don't sail in the swimming area.
5. Weird wave can ramp up in a moments notice, so watch how it is breaking before you go out. Observe a few sets. If you are sailing lowers / channel, just make sure you are downwind of the wave. If you are sailing uppers and cannot clear WW, sail downwind of it, pinch upwind past the break for a long reach and back. If you see it forming ahead of you, tack outside of the wave and head back out pinching. You should be able to clear WW and get to Uppers on 1 or 2 tacks.
6. If you get caught in weird wave, follow the normal rules of body/equipment positioning. Realize it is a standing wave and therefore there is a current that sucks you back into the wave. Stay shallow, don't try to water start when the wave is breaking, after the set swim / water start out of danger.
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