We had always heard that kiteboarding was scary or that kiteboarding was dangerous. It seemed that whenever we brought it up in conversation, everyone had an opinion on how difficult it was. We love adding adventure into our travels, and kitesurfing seemed like the ultimate water adventure for us to try.  When Maui tourism asked us what type of activities we’d like to do on our Hawaiian adventure, kiteboarding was definitely at the top of our list.

sign of kiteboarding maui school

Dave and I awoke early as usual from our deep slumber at the pleasant Paia Inn. We acted excited about giving kite boarding a try, but neither of us told each other how nervous we were about getting on the board. We found that out only after our lesson ended.

adventure travel kiteboarder catching a wave in Maui

We’ve watched Kite Boarding from afar as uber fit guys leap and flip in the air and show off their wicked skills on choppy waters and believed all the warnings that we heard. “You need to have a lot of upper body strength,” “Kites are very difficult to control” and “Kite Boarding is only for big strong men” These are the myths we’ve heard about kiteboarding in the past and it intimidated the two of us. What if we get swept out to sea or fly so high in the air that we get slammed into the ocean and break our necks?

Shattered Myths of Kiteboarding

It’s all nonsense. Kiteboarding is fun, safe and pretty easy to get the hang of.

travel couple deb on beach kiteboarding in maui

Adventure Travel at it’s Finest – Kiteboarding School

adventure traveler Dave with Kiteboarding Instructor in Maui

We met our guides Natasha and Tim at “Kite Beach” in Kahului and within a heartbeat, we were suited up in our life vest, waist harness and helmets. I carried the surf board, while Natasha carried the kite and we set off to the next sandy bay for our land instruction.

Adventure Travel Blogger Dave gears up for Kiteboarding

Dave Geared up for Kiteboarding

Our three-hour lesson started off with us learning about how to set up the kite, how to read the wind and how to move the kite on dry land. But the first thing you have to do is blow it up. Who knew? The C-shaped Kite has to be pumped up, and Natasha told me to keep pumping until it was as hard as a basketball.

travel bloggers Dave and Deb set up kites for kiteboarding in Maui

Pumping up the Kite before starting the lesson

After the kite is inflated, you have to set it up in the proper direction of the wind. The inflated part of the kite should be facing the wind so that it easily sweeps over the kite without catching the material and blowing it away.  Now you can get your lines ready.

There are long lines holding the kite to your body and it is important that you detangle them before you get started. The line lengths vary depending on the wind. When there is a lot of wind, you use a shorter line, when there is less wind, you lengthen the lines. And the red line is always on the left. Now you know.

Adventure travel blogger Dave detangles lines for kiteboarding

We then, sat on the sand and practiced controlling the kite and lifting it from the ground to a 3 O’Clock, 6 O’Clock and 12 O’Clock position. Once we could control the kite and hold it in place for at least 30 seconds, it was on to the other side.

Travel Blog editor Deb flies kite on beach in Maui

I couldn’t believe how subtle the movements need to be to control a kite. Most people feel that they need to tug and pull with fierce power, but it is as simple as bending a wrist and pulling in the line one little inch at a time. As soon as I found the sweet spot, I had it under control.

Kiteboarding in the Sea

Dave really rocked the kite boarding on land. Tim was so impressed with his skill that he decided to head over to the other bay where all the boarders were playing for the day to start body drags in the water. Since we were learning together, Natasha decided that I was ready too, so we followed along and got in the water a lot sooner than expected.

vacation photo of kiteboarding in Maui

Dave and Tim set out to kiteboard in the water

Body dragging is when you float in the water, lay on your side and let the kite drag you through the surf. It’s the perfect way to get yourself back on your board should you fall and lose it in the water so it is a very important skill to master. You never swim towards your board when kiteboarding. You simply tack your way back and forth up using your arm as a rudder and keeping your body straight. It’s truly amazing how much control you can have and how simple it all really is.

The Human Lure

Dave and I grabbed onto the back of Tim and Natasha’s life vests as they dragged us out to deeper water. I had to laugh a little bit. Here I was, laying in the water with my arm pointing straight ahead to act as a rudder as I was being dragged by a kite and another person through the Pacific Ocean. As Tim described it, body dragging is pretty much like being a human lure. Its better not to think about that, there are some mighty big fish in the ocean.

vacation photo of Kiteboarding in Hawaii

Why weren’t we scared? Because kiteboarding is fun!

I didn’t even think I’d be getting in the water today and here I was already holding onto a board while lifting and lowering a giant kite that I was attached to. I was having so much fun, I forgot to think about how worried I was just a few hours earlier.

two women making faces in water

Natasha and Tim of Kiteboarding School Maui are true professionals and they made us feel comfortable and confident in the water. There really isn’t anything to be afraid of. If you feel that you are losing control all you have to do is let go of the bar and the kite will fall into the water. It’s super easy to lift back up as well. You just have to untwist the lines by turning your handle bar over and then the kite will catch the wind itself and regain it’s shape. Once it catches the wind, you just have to subtly flick your wrist to start pulling it up. Keeping the kite at either 2 O’Clock or 10 O’Clock positions, you just ride the wind and enjoy the ride.

kitesurfing of coast in maui

Natasha shows us some moves on the Kiteboard

Once we felt that we had good kite control, both Tim and Natasha let us put on the board and feel what it’s like to hang onto the kite while having your feet strapped into the board.

We didn’t have enough time to stand up and go for a ride as you need three solid days before you have enough skill to be able to go it alone, but today was enough of a taste to help us decide that we’ve found our next sport.

woman-kiteboarding-maui

Both of us came away from kiteboarding on a high. Our adrenaline was pumping and we came out of the water with big grins on our faces. We can’t wait to go back to Spain or South East Asia later this year and take up some serious kiteboarding. We’ll definitely be joining in a week long course somewhere during our travels around the world.

For more information on Kiteboarding in Maui, check out Kiteboarding School Maui for prices and details

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12 Comments

  1. Mark Wiens

    This is so cool to read, from what I’ve heard too (just like you said), kiteboarding often sounds so difficult and hard to learn. While it still looks tough, with a bit of training and some practice I think kiteboarding could be one of the most fun watersports. I’d love to try someday!

  2. Hotels in niagara falls

    That is a daredevil stuff I must say. I love adventure sporting but if you ask me to do a thing like that my answer would be a big ‘NO’. I think I should give this thing a try but have to convince myself.

  3. Ryan Hoody

    I used to always see kite boarders in the Columbia gorge and think to myself how difficult it must be, but after reading your blog, I am convinced I have the ability to kite board as well. I can’t wait to try it out, even though I know I am a ways from getting the opportunity. Did you manage to catch any air? Or is kite boarding one of those things that is as technical or easy as you want to make it?

    Awesome photos,

    Ryan

    1. debndave Post author

      You can do it Ryan, thousands of people are doing it around the world and they can’t be the only special people out there. We’re not pros yet, but by getting in the water and taking that first lesson, we feel confident that with a good week of solid practice, we’ll have the hang of it and will be investing in our own kite and board very soon! We didn’t catch air, we would need a few more lessons for that, but I see that it is a lot like you say, it’s as easy or as crazy as you want to make it. We’ll let you know when we finish off our course this winter!

  4. Roxanne Darling

    Dave and Deb,

    I LOVED seeing all your pics and reading about this.I have never seen the tandem thing! I used to live at a kite-boarding beach on Oahu and never saw it!

    That was a windy day you two were here – just the kind of day the experts like – so kudos for going out in the spray as true adventure travelers!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Roxanne. I wonder if the tandem thing is new and that is why it wasn’t so scary. I couldn’t imagine going out on my own cold turkey, I’d be scared to death! But having our guides there with us every step of the way gave us a lot of confidence. I have a feeling we’re going to go to other schools around the world and they won’t be this good. Kiteboarding School Maui was top notch and it’s going to be difficult to beat. I’m just glad that we got that first lesson out of the way with them to have the confidence to go on our own. No matter how other instructors are, we’ll feel ok going for it after this afternoon. It was a windy day, but as they said, the more wind the better and easier, believe it or not. We didn’t have to constantly fight with the kite. So maybe we were lucky:)

      1. Roxanne Darling

        I know from other types of sailing and windsurfing that a lot of wind does help! As for getting wind on a tandem rig?? Not sure I would want to be out in THAT much wind!

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