Maui’s trade winds make it a popular destination not only for windsurfing, but for kiteboarding or kitesurfing as well. If you’re a kiter, like it or not, there are rules and regulations that define where you can and cannot kite on Maui’s north shore. Many popular windsurfing and kiting spots are located near the Kahului airport. US airspace around a 5 mile radius of international airports is controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration. All kite flyers – within controlled airspace, are subject to Federal Aviation Regulations, specifically FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation), FAR 101. FAR101 specifically addresses the operation of kites in controlled airspace. FAR101 effectively prohibits all kitesurfing within five miles of any major Airport in the US.
To allow Kitesurfing within the Five mile controlled airspace, a special FAA “waiver” has been issued to the kiteboarding association. That imposes specific restrictions on kitesurfing activities. The existence of the FAA’s waiver allows kiteboarding to continue in these areas. Every two years the waiver is renewed, and the FAA keeps a close eye on the kiteboarding activities. There are specific “waiver restrictions” that need to be complied with in order for us to maintain the waiver, and maintain our access to the north shore.
Among the waiver restrictions is the prohibition of kitesurfing within the runway’s flight path corridor. The corridor is an extension of the runway, that encompasses the flight path of aircraft after take-off. For the safety of aircraft, people and property, this corridor is kept clear of all kites, at all times. From the map, it’s quite obvious that kiting within the red or yellow zones, which includes both Lowers and Uppers at Kanaha, is illegal.
As the sign in the photo below shows, violation of the no kiting zone is punishable by civil penalty of $1,100 for each occurrence with possible first offense fines in excess of $3,300.
The Maui Kiteboarding Association reminds its members to encourage all north shore riders to stay out of upper Kanaha, and do not launch at Sprecks beach, Stable Road, Camp One, Baldwin, Paia Bay or Hookipa. These beaches are off limits to kiters.