On the weekend of July 26-27, nine kiteboarders rode a distance and route none had attempted before, crossing between three major islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. The cooperative team event took 7 hours and over 100 miles of riding using the latest Naish Kiteboarding 2008/09 gear. Starting at Ho'okipa (Lanes) beach on Maui's North Shore at 11am, the team launched and sailed to the horizon with two support boats and a chase plane in pursuit.
Out into the Pailolo channel separating the islands of Maui and Moloka'i, the first challenge presented itself to the riders as the wind slackened. Pumping their kites vigorously, they eventually made it to the far eastern shore of Moloka'i which is luckily has a reliable venturi. From that point and all the way down the southern coast, the team had sufficient wind to play with the waves breaking over pristine aquamarine reefs. The team made their port call at the Hotel Moloka'i in the port town of Kaunakakai, completing the first 54 miles, including 12 miles of open channel in under four hours. All riders and support staff celebrated that night with a big team dinner at the Hotel Moloka'i before retiring to rest for the more crucial crossing the following day.
Early Sunday morning, everyone was nervously gearing up for a segment that none of them had ever kiteboarded before. Although total mileage this day would be less than the first, the Ka'iwi channel separating Moloka'i and O'ahu itself was much further across than the Pailolo channel. With only a light wind that morning, everyone was hesitant about how the day would unfold. Then like clockwork the wind kicked in and the team was off again at 10:30am from Kaluakoi beach on the far western shore of Moloka'i. The hazy indistinct outline of O'ahu island on the far horizon was their only visual reference.
Out into the rolling swells of the Ka'iwi channel, the riders played with the waves as flying fish skipped ahead of them and frigate birds soarded alongside the colorful kites. Despite their initial misgivings, the riders encountered no problems the whole way across the channel. It was only as they got close to O'ahu island and within sight of their landing goal at Kailua beach that the most significant challenges presented themseles. A Navy aircraft carrier conducting exercises was directly in their path and forced the whole team to avoid it by riding much further upwind of O'ahu than planned.
After steering clear of the carrier hazard, the wind began to significantly slack off until all riders were struggling just to keep their kites aloft moving forward. Luckily the wind held at about 10knots, barely sufficient to allow the aching riders to limp into Kailua bay and land their kites amid cheering throngs on the packed Kailua beach, receiving a heros' welcome worthy of the island known as "The Gathering Place". Three hours and over forty miles away from their launch on Moloka'i, the weary but jubilant ocean travelers celebrated at a beach party and dutifully thanked all their sponsors and supporters. For more of their planned adventures, check out hawaiikitecrossing.com
Thanks for our major sponsors - Naish.com , Zoomorama.com , Aqua Sports mauikiteboardinglessons.com , Ironwoodranch.com , mauitacos.com , mauiwebdesigns.com
And our secondary sponsors:
AdamKochPhotography.com , mauiproductions.tv, maui-boat-rental.com , mocamaui.com , KiteFlix.com , HotelMolokai.com , Alehouse.net, Kiteboarding Lessons Ksmaui.com , FreshIslandFish.com