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Ho’okipa is the most famous surf sailing site in the world. In the spring and fall it catches and shapes spectacular waves suitable for very advanced to expert sailors. In the summer the surf is much smaller but the shorebreak can be worse since the swell does not break as much on the reef.

The launch can be rugged. Almost the entire beach has an old reef papa shelf that makes entry or exit impossible. At the west end there is about 30 feet of beach. The water is waist deep close the beach and there is coral and urchins on the bottom. Going out is fairly easy. Watch the incoming shore break carefully, wait for a lull, run to water and beach start. There can be a current running from right to left right at the shore if water is backing up behind the papa. Allow for this as you beach start. There is often very little wind inside so pump to get past the surf zone fast or you will round up and fall.. If you go down inside and can not waterstart promptly you will we swept towards the coral encrusted, surf swept rocks downwind where you will lose mast, board and skin. The trick is to know when to give up trying to waterstart since this will just blow you onto the rocks. Instead sink your sail and let the sideshore current sweep you towards and then around the rocks. If a clean up set does not catch you and sweep you onto the rocks you will be in better wind or at least drift past rocks as you try to waterstart. Coming back to the beach is more difficult since it is hard to time the shorebreak.. The best bet if your timing is bad and the shorebreak is gnarly is to sail right into the sand, jump off and push with your mast so your board slides up the beach before the next wave breaks over you. Don’t worry…its only a wave fin.

There are 3 distinct sailing sites here. Most of the action is at H'Poco off the west end of the parking lot below the bluff. The coral bottom here is very rugged and shallow in places. Lanes, around the point from H'poco is less popular except in Kona conditions. There is no beach access here since the papa blocks the full length of the beach. It is possible to go over the papa here or Moma's when the tide is low or you can launch at H’Poco beach and sail down wind. Middles, off the middle of the parking lot, is less popular and not as will formed. Pavilions to the east is windless and is for surfers only. Do not land here through the tiny breaks in the papa

The name Ho’okipa means hospitality in Hawaiian however you sometimes pick up vibes that some of the sailors here are missing the spirit. There is a tiny sailing area here and some the world’s best work here. Some of them make newcomers, .especially those who are not skilled, feel unwelcome. If you are new to wave sailing it is best to pay your dues somewhere else. Then give Ho’okipa a try on a mellow summer day with small surf that most locals ignore.
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 Season: Feb.- Nov. 
 Water: Warm & clear 
 Ability Level: Expert Only 
 Familiness: Park, showers, lawns 
 Parking: Very crowded 
 Launch: Rugged, coral & sand. 

From the airport area head east on the Hana Hwy. Pass through Paia checking out the cool atmosphere. Continue past Mama’s restaurant. Go past Ho’okipa and turn into Ho'okia Beach Park. Go left past the pavilions and park at the end of the lot. If you are here just to watch go pass this parking area and back on to the Hwy. and park in dirt on the bluff overlooking the sailing area.

This sensor is located downwind of the sailing site on top of a 3 story building on Aleiki road. It is the only place this sensor could be placed with phone lines and above all the trees. While not an absolutely perfect siting, it's the best situation we have found to date.

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