I was in Maui this summer early August and had consecutive 9m, 6m, 12, 9m (could have been on 6), and 9m days. I have kited some pretty nice venues (aruba-huts/boca, Dominican, la ventana, hood river) however I would rank Maui as one of the best places, to date that I have kited. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail in this matter and access will not be denied or limited.
Don’t want to hijack this thread; however I have had some observations with regards to the various places I have visited. When I go to a new spot, I just usually sit and watch for an hour or so. Each area is unique launch/land, obstacles, wind shadows, etc. Then I will try to find a local and ask them what the rules are for that area. I have always found that “the locals” are more than willing to share that type of information. Then only when I am comfortable that I have a grasp of the area, do I pump up. Even then, you have to get out on the water to get a feel for a place. Long story short, I don’t want to be that “kook” that endangers myself or others and worse yet give someone more fuel to limit kiting access-which is happening in spots all across the world.
Kiting is growing and will continue to grow. I don’t blame people for being “territorial” when it comes to their local spot. Yet, kiters have an innate ability to be able to smell out new venues. I would propose that in order to maintain what access people still enjoy, some type of signage indicating the do’s and don’ts be visibly displayed at each site.
Case in point, when the wind at “old guys” beach in Maui is NE there is a pretty good wind shadow from the area of the lifeguard tower. In one day I watched three kites get launched into the trees due to not setting up right and getting the kite close enough to the water. At the end of another day when I was standing talking with some locals, we observed a father/son team self-launch and almost take out several people on the beach. Not to start an international crisis here, but from the accents I could tell that these individuals as well as the kite/tree people were not locals. My first day in Maui, I was in a local kite shop quizzing one of the employees on the do’s and don’ts for kite beach. When I was leaving he said, “I wish more tourists would come in and ask these types of questions. Especially the Europeans, they think they know it all.” On another day, I had a guy from California ask me to give him a launch. I said sure. I noticed that his kite was not set-up to launch down by the water-as is the norm for this beach. I told him that he needed to move his kite down toward the water, because that is the way they do it here. He actually got kind of indignant and said, “well that is not how we do it in California.” My actually response was, “you are not in Kansas anymore Dorothy and if you want to have me launch you, you need to reorient your kite.” He reluctantly agreed and I launched him.
Kite beach in Maui is only one example of what is truly and awesome venue. I was launched and landed by kiters from Brazil, Chile, Austria, New Zealand, and Switzerland-it was a great experience and I hope to go back. I guess what I am saying is that maybe we need to do a better job of education and be respectful when we are visiting new areas. If we don’t we are going to continue to lose access.