Maui is famous for being the windiest Island of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Some people enjoy it to cool off from the tropical heat, while others participate in crazy extreme wind sports! There are some people that hate it and just want to get away from it! Here is a simple guide on how to enjoy or avoid the wind of Maui!
1-Understanding Maui’s Wind
All of the Hawaiian Islands are exposed to the strong trade winds all year round. Coming from the North-East.
Most of the coastlines facing north or East will be consequently windy! Mountains, Land or Volcanoes usually protect the South and West coastlines from the strong winds.
The trade winds occur 80% of the time during the year. Usually blowing around 15mph, they can go up to 40 mph on certain days.
Just enough to make your hair blow all over the place, have the sand whip your skin, and make all your belongings fly on the beach! Do not even think of opening an umbrella for protection. Unless you want to fly like kitesurfers and windsurfers do!
If you are a wind sports addict, the summer time is the best bet to catch the strong winds. If you like to wear skirts or if you have a loose wig, winter time is a better time for you to come!
But don’t worry, even during the summer, there are plenty of locations protected from the wind. Just keep reading to know more about them.
What makes Maui different from the other Hawaiian Islands its geography. The “Valley Isle” acts like a giant wind tunnel. Maui is basically two tall volcanoes joined by a very low and flat piece of land. All those strong winds hit the mountains and try to find their way out.
All the winds have to go through the stretch between the two main mountains. Condensed in this narrow stretch or “Wind Tunnel” they gain speed and strength. Also known as the “Venturi Effect”.
So to be clear, the north and west coastline receive direct trade winds. The stretch of land between Haleakala and the West Maui mountains is where all these winds escape and is extremely strong.
2. Avoiding Maui’s Wind
Yes you guessed it correctly! To avoid the wind, go to the side of the Island facing West or South.
But some exceptions apply: for example Maalaea is the exit point of the wind tunnel! Yes, it’s facing south/west, but it’s probably the windiest part of the Island!
Also the wind tends to “wrap” around the coastline, so the south side can be very windy. Sometimes you can also experience direct south/west winds, also known as “Kona Winds”.
So where should you go?!? Lahaina of course! Don’t get me wrong, it is windy here as well. We don’t live in a bubble, but the wind is definitely less. All of Lahaina or “West Side” is the most protected part of the Island.
You may ask yourself why not Kihei? Well it’s right on the exit of a wind tunnel! Just check out this map I drew for you, this will make everything more clear!
The good part of Kihei is that there are many little beaches shaped like a little “bay” or “Half Moon” that will stop the wind coming from the north.
3.Enjoying the trade wind
Who said you have to run away from the wind?! Why not make the best of it! Local’s from Maui will happily teach you how use this energy from Mother Nature. There are many different crafts to fly with the wind.
Learn to Windsurf: the oldest Watersport, that made Maui a HUGE travel destination for adrenaline junkies and professional windsurfer in the early 90s! It’s simply a sail attached to a big surfboard that will allow you to go very fast over calm water in Kanaha, or jump and surf the waves in Ho’okipa (advanced surfers only).
Learn to Kitesurf: Yes you guessed it, it’s composed of a kite and a surfboard! This sports is easier and faster to learn the windsurfing. But much more dangerous as well. If not used with caution, the kite can overpower you and take you high up in the air or straight in the trees! The advantage of kitesurfing is that it can be used with less wind than Windsurfing and allow you to do INSANE jumps! Extremely fun, it can also be used in the surf.
Learn to WingFoil: The newest wind sport, and probably most fun of them all! Composed of a Sail that you hold, detached from your board and a surfboard with a hydrofoil (big fin shaped like an airplane). This sport is easier to learn than windsurfing, and a bit safer than kitesurfing. You don’t risk to fly and land on a tree, but the sharp and big fin on your board is quiet scary! To know more about Wingfoil and Hydrofoil check out one of our other blogs!
So did you decide where you want to stay? Are you going to enjoy the wind or avoid the wind during your next stay on Maui?