Ryan Coote - KSP Maui
You hear people call Maui Paradise Island and the Windy Island. The birth place of Kitesurfing and other watersports. I was really excited about my chance to go to Maui. I had in my head strong winds and big waves. The conditions that I excel in and ride in at home in Ireland. The sad reality of what I found was that I only managed to get 3 1/2 maybe 4 hours riding in the whole 2 weeks that I was on Maui.
In 2004 I was working on Oahu island for 3 months and O found it to be a much better island for kitesurfing. The beaches where much better suited and kitesurfing was at a much earlier age back then and did not have as many restrictions as they have in place now.
On Maui Kitesurfing is very popular but on a whole the kite surfers that go there are really pushed into very small areas and onto very small and dangerous beaches that have very dangerous access on and off them. We were very lucky to have been aloud to kitesurf on Hookpia as kitesurfers are not aloud to actually kitesurf the point break that they call Hookipa. It has rules that the locals and the Lifeguards uphold. No kitesurfing before 11am, 10 surfers rule means that no kitesurfers are aloud, 10 windsurfers means no kitesurfers. So that only leaves very small windows of options for kitesurfers to snatch a few waves. The launch area off the beach is extremely gusty off shore winds. I found it crazy to see so many guys riding very short lines which means even more danger trying to launch and land. On the two days outside of competition we got I saw so many kites hitting the reef, water and beach. Once you manage to get out back of the line up you have to gain up wind ground very quickly because if you think the wind is dropping you need to head in to the beach asap, as there is very little safe locations to get back to shore for 11/2 km’s down wind.
The KSP event had great coverage world wide and was very well organized. But unfortunately we where very unlucky with the conditions for the event. In total out of 10 days we had 7 lay days and only 2 days of good wind where I was out on my 10m Reo on 32m lines. It was very difficult to run all the heats so they had to shorten heats and change format midway through.
The event for me was very disappointing. Being the largest rider on the tour I really struggled to hold position in the small waves and light conditions. With very light winds and small long period swell meant you were really lucky to get a set in your heat. My Opening heat was a 3 man 15 min heat against Airton world NO.2 and local wild card Oliver. I managed to place second in that heat. Then with the change of format I was drawn against Airton again in a 2 man heat with only a 12min time. I lucked into one set wave at the beginning of the heat but it didn’t wall up as much as I hoped. It was only a medium scoring wave. Airton being the smallest and lightest rider on the tour he managed to get a lot more waves in the short heat and didn’t need to get a set wave for it to look big in comparison to himself.
I didn’t find another set wave but did manage to get a nice cover up on my last wave of the heat, which was the only barrel of the day. The day after the event finished we had wind forecast and a larger swell forecast but it was a west swell that didn’t really show much on Maui as it is very protected from west swell by other islands.
I enjoyed my time in the Sun on maui. I have to say I was really looking forward to getting back to the my Island of IRELAND, to strong winds and Green waves.