Lanes is the most windward launch site on Maui’s North Shore. It resides next the the world famous Hookipa beach, which is one of, if not the best, most consistent, most accessible wave sailing breaks on the planet.
Lanes wasn’t always a popular kiting break, mostly due to the bench reef between the beach and the reef being dotted with sea urchins, razor sharp tube coral, knee deep holes, and slippery algae covering it all. Everyone pays their dues.
- BIG AIR
Low on small days, high for big days, easier launch.
Advanced skill level due to the low reef that must be walked over while flying your kite. This can be very dangerous in poor wind conditions.
70 degrees to 90 dregres is perfect. 90+ makes it difficult launch/land. 225 degrees is perfect for kona winds.
LOCATION / DIRECTIONS
Off the hana hwy just west of Ho’okipa Beach. There is a pull of between Ho’okipa and Mama’s fish house.
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Until 2009, Lanes was left to a handful of local kiters who ventured up to Hookipa when conditions were right and few windsurfers were out.
As kitesurfing gained popularity, more kiters ventured up to Hookipa, and lifeguards reacted to complaints. Kiters respected the guards horns until we got honked out when there wasn’t another soul out. Then Maui Kitesurfing Community began negotiating with the lifeguards and windsurfers for access. Eventually we brokered a 10 man rule similar to the one between windsurfers and surfers, to allow kiting at Hookipa when windsurfers and surfers numbered less than 10, But still no launching at Hookipa. Once this agreement was reached, the tension and attitudes between kiters, windsurfers and lifeguards relaxed, and we mostly got along just fine.
Some changes came about for kiters, as we had to learn how to share a wave with a windsurfer.
If I’m the first on a wave and it’s legally mine, it would be a complement if a windsurfer trusted me enough to share my wave ( because it’s crowded and windsurfers do share waves often). I would either take the shoulder or the peak or run to the next section, and pray I didn’t drop my kite on him! Either way its a fun way to make the most of a limited resource.
I found a new respect for windsurfers when they back off a wave that is legally mine even though I have an equipment advantage. Therefore I always give waves to windsurfers simply because my wave count is usually more, and it’s only fair to share the resource equally, regardless of equipment or legal rights.
It’s like sharing a surf spot with short boarders if you’re on a longboard. They will accept you if you don’t hog waves.
While most windsurfers are comfortable riding with kiters, not all surfers are. So stay downwind of surfers, and stay off any wave they paddle for. Wave them onto waves so they know your intentions. This will encourage friendly sharing of our best surf spot.
Regardless of the 10 man rule, keeping the peace is more important. Don’t hog waves!
LAUNCHING & Landing YOUR KITE
Lanes is a sketchy place to kite. Booties are a must to prevent sea urchin spines and tube coral injuries. Although some barefooters use the downwind keyhole.The wind is semi blocked by the bluffs, making it difficult to keep your kite up while walking over the reef to deep water. If it falls while standing on the reef, you may fall if the kite reignites before landing. The reef is least dangerous directly seaward of the gate. Less urchins and holes.
The narrow beach makes launching a kite at the edge of the window unsafe for the launcher.
Here, we usually self launch dead downwind. Keep your kite straight up instead of seaward to find the best wind.
Landing, try to recruit a kiter to catch your kite, if noone is available, drop it on the grass behind the only tree on the beach. If you need to self rescue, Mamas beach is the closest, safest beach. There was a boat launch ramp
there years ago, so its smooth reef but the current is strong downwind of the last exposed rock.
So line up the last big rock with the gate behind, and salvation awaits!
The next self rescue beach is Tavares bay, 1/2 mile further.
If you lose your board past Mamas, it goes out to sea, perhaps a windsurfer at Kanaha will rescue it and call you if you wrote your # on the board, or check the lifeguards.
Lanes isn’t a busy beach, a few beach goers, shell collectors, tourists first view of the waves, etc.
Be careful landing your kite when people are close, kites fall unexpectedly due to flukey winds.
Be ready to use your kites safety system, this is where you’ll need it!
Conditions & Notes
Lanes works best on a North swell, giving us 2 or 3 peaks with long steep rights.
West swells tend to close out but nearby reefs can work very well.
Hookipa is the premiere wave, but kiters rarely get to ride it due to the 10 man rule.
When Hookipa is big (double overhead) the rip runs thru the rights, making some waves unrideable.
This is when kiters may get a chance to surf the point, as windsurfers or surfers don’t come out in great numbers.
Lanes is a great access point for several wave riding spots close by.
Wear booties for reef protection.
Sharing with other user groups a must!
Wear a leash, write your # on your board!!!
Share waves with others!
Difficult launch/land. Know your skills
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