Tips and Facts

Tips and Facts

getting there




It's always nice to pack light and pretty much everything you could imagine yourself needing to buy is of course available in Maui, but there are a few things we don't want you to forget to help make your trip a little easier as well as to save you the higher costs of buying goods imported all the way to the Hawaiian islands. Also, to avoid the possibility of lost luggage, we recommend that you put any essentials (harness and boardshorts) in you carry-on your luggage whenever possible. Here is our list of things you should be sure to bring along:

- A printout of your invoice confirming full payment and this web page. 
- Driving directions (North Shore) or condo address (South Shore ) to find your home away from home. *** IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS INFORMATION CONTACT VELA BEFORE YOU LEAVE ***
- Airline tickets / boarding passes
- Current driver's license and major credit card in name of rental car driver (you will need these to rent your car) 
- Extra spending money (see "Currency/credit cards" below)
- Paperback books for flights and evenings 
- Daypack for bike rides, hikes, & other excursions you may take.
- Ear Plugs (a good idea if you are a light sleeper and if you're practicing those kite loops!)
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen for muscle aches.
- Medical tape for tired hands.
- A small flashlight to find your lock-box in case you come home to your guest house late at night.

What we have:

The following items are all available in wonderful variety on Maui, so you may want to pack light and roomy and bring home some island-grown gear. Otherwise, we do recommend that you also bring:

- Harness, shorty wetsuit and/or thermal rashguard, booties, 
- Gloves to prevent blisters while sailing 
- 100% UV sunglasses w/ eyeglass retainer (floating) 
- Waterproof sunscreen lotion (oil makes board slippery) 
- Beach towel (condo towels just don't do the job) 
- Helmet and/or PFD, if desired. 
- Light jacket/windbreaker

CHECK YOUR DOCUMENTS NOW for accuracy and then RECONFIRM ALL FLIGHT TIMES with your airline before you go to the airport. If your flight arrival time is different than what you supplied to Vela during the reservation process, please call Dollar’s Kahului office directly at 808-877-2732 and update their agents with the correct flight information. (Dollar will automatically cancel your reservation if your car is not picked up within two hours of this time.)


Maui is right in the middle of the Pacific ocean in a chain of the Hawai'ian islands. Over 2,000 miles from the West Coast, these islands are the furthest from major continents, though the sense of still being in America makes them feel much less remote. The topography and varying climate changes throughout the island makes Maui one of the most incredible places to explore... of course, if it is windy you might not make it 100ft above sea level, but try to get out there and see more of this beautiful place on earth. A sunrise from atop the 10,000 foot Mt. Haleakala will give you a new sense of the sublime and awe-inspiring power of nature. Or sleep in, wait for the winds, and relax!


English. You are still in the US, and the most Hawai'ian you'll hear is either 'Aloha', 'Mahalo', or if you go to a lu'au, 'Hana Hou!'...


Maui is a lush tropical destination. The rain that produces the lush vegetation is more frequent in the winter months, so expect it to be a little wetter and somewhat cooler in winter, drier and a bit warmer in summer. Generally it will be in the mid-80's during the day and slightly cooler at night. In the "Upcountry" area or up on the rim of Haleakala crater, it can be much cooler. Bring a light jacket for evenings and a very warm one if you plan on catching the spectacular sunrise on top of Haleakala. People dress casually on the island. Only in some of the most expensive restaurants would a coat or dress be expected. You might want to leave a little space in your luggage for clothing acquired in Maui; some people consider Maui a paradise for shopping as well.

Water and Health:

All properties offered by Vela include metered municipal water that is safe to drink. If you are visiting more remote parts of the island you may want to ensure that the property isn't using catchment rainwater.

Currency/credit cards:

CWe recommend that you bring some cash, travelers checks and a major credit card. The Maui Windsurf Company will accept credit cards for any additional services or goods you may want to purchase on-site. Most establishments on the island accept major credit cards. We suggest you bring extra cash or traveler's checks of at least $50 per person per day of stay. You may go home with most of it, but if you want it, you'll have it.

Electrical Voltage:

You are visiting the 50th state in the USofA: normal 110 voltage.

Email / Phone Services:

Most Northshore properties have free WiFi available on-site, but this is not guaranteeed in all of the Southshore condos, though finding an unlocked signal could be likely. Internet cafes are around, as are WiFi Hotspots. Your cell phone will work throughout most of the island, though depending on your provider you may find roaming charges on your statement once you get home.


If on the Northshore, definitely check out Cafe de Amis in downtown Paia for some great dinner crepes or a tasty desert crepe instead if you've already had dinner somewhere else in town. Anthony's Coffee serves up great breakfast options including tons of baked goods and (of course) some caffeine to get you started. On the Southshore there are simply too many places to mention. The staff at Vela Maui also are your best source of information about restaurants and nightlife. They have hosted many, many sailors on Maui and are getting constant feedback about what's happening where.

Other Activities:

Maui has one of the widest selection of activities of any vacation destination in the world. Your new friends at Adventure Sports Maui know the best deals and operators and can send you in the right direction. Good snorkeling and diving trips leave daily from nearby Ma'alaea Harbor. Hiking, horseback riding and exciting downhill bicycle excursions are available on the slopes of the mighty volcano Haleakala. Shopping is legendary, especially at the Shops at Wailea located next to the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort.


You are still in the US and normal tipping customs are the same here: if the service is good, feel free to leave a little extra. Surprise our staff with tips if they've helped dial in great gear and advice for your experience on Maui!


Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff.

Airport Arrival:

he Kahului airport luggage area will give you your first sense of the warm tropical weather you've been waiting for! Once you have your bags, follow the signs to the rental car area, a short 100 yards away from the main terminal.

Rental Cars:

Your package likely includes a rental car with Dollar. Once you have your bags and have walked to the rental car booths at the airport, find the Dollar counter and give them your last name. IMPORTANT: The Dollar desk will be open until 23:00. If you arrive late or have flight delays AND have provided us with your flight information in advance, a Dollar employee will remain on a graveyard-shift awaiting your arrival. You will sign up for the car here and then be taken to the Dollar parking lot a short 2 minute shuttle-ride away. If you have lots of luggage, you may want to send only the driver, who can them return to pick up the rest of the group and bags. Dollar will be glad to provide directions to your accommodations and Vela Maui (located within Adventure Sports Maui - hours 8:30 am to 5:00 PM), where you will pick up your racks and equipment.

The agents will offer collision damage and personal injury insurance at a significant additional daily rate. We recommend you check with your own car insurer before leaving for Maui; your policy may already include such coverage. Regardless, as is standard with all rental car companies, Dollar will require a signed, blank imprint of your credit card or a cash deposit. Depending on your situation, there may be some other charges not payable in advance of the return of your car. Dollar has a minimum driver age of 21, though anyone 21-24 will have an additional charge of $27 plus tax per day added on-site. Additional drivers can be added to the rental contract for $12 plus tax per day.


Dollar rents on a 24-hour basis and if you are keeping your car an hour or so later than the time on the clock that you picked it up, you could end up owing a lot: 1/3 of the daily rate PER HOUR or fraction thereof. If you have a departing flight even a few hours later than your arrival flight, it will likely be a better value to reserve an additional rental day in advance to avoid these fees. If you have opted for this, check your Vela email invoice to make sure the "DROP OFF" date is one day later than you are actually leaving. You should find your car full of gas and relatively clean. If you return it otherwise there may be additional gas or cleaning fees.

Returning your Dollar Rental Car:

You will need to return the car to the same Dollar lot where you started from: do not return the car to shuttle area at the the airport terminal. NOTE: DOLLAR WILL CHARGE YOU A $7/DAY STATE IMPOSED SURCHARGE PLUS AN ESTIMATED 15% IN ADDITIONAL TAXES (PLUS ANY ADDITIONAL SERVICES OR INSURANCE YOU MAY HAVE ADDED) WHICH WILL BE BILLED TO YOU WHEN YOU RETURN THE CAR.

Taxis Paid On-Arrival:

You should really consider having a rental car, as Maui is very much a driving island. But just in case... taxis are available from the airport (and all around the island for that matter) to take you where you need to go.

Transportation During Your Vacation:

Make certain to carry a good map of the island in your rental car, and heed the warnings from the rental car company: if they mark a road that you can't take the vehicle on, listen to them! If you find yourself somewhere without a car, hitch-hiking is legal and another windsurfer is likely to pick you up if you are wearing your sailing gear and carrying your harness with you! Ideal for any unintended downwinders that go wrong...

Hotel Check-In:

Procedures for check-in vary for Northshore and Southshore properties, however some general policies apply to both. The normal check-in time is at 3:00PM for all properties, although we can request early check-in if available. No paperwork is necessary for check in. Simply arrive at the front desk and give the agent the last name of the person who made the reservation. If there are any questions, please show them the email invoice that you should print and take with you. NOTE: If your plane is scheduled to arrive late in the evening please let us know in advance in case any special arrangements need to be made.


Once full payment has been received, we will email complete property information including driving directions and check-in details. Many properties require a gate code and/or lock box code to get into your unit. This will help you in getting to your accommodations and checking in. In this letter you will also find a number to call if you need to talk to someone about your condo while on the island. Your condo management company is always available to help make your vacation an enjoyable one. If the plumbing plugs up, the toaster doesn't work, etc., call them immediately. It's their job to see that it gets fixed now. Then go enjoy Maui. Chances are good it will be fixed by the time you get back from sailing. If not, stay in communication with them. We have chosen the best, most responsive condo management companies on the island. You are in good hands.



See the instructions on your document cover letter which was emailed to you to confirm full payment. The address of the condo is listed on the invoice, and you should have no trouble finding your condo. If you have any questions, please call us. This will help you in getting to your accommodations and checking in. In this letter you will also find a number to call if you need to talk to someone about your condo while on the island. Your condo management company is always available to help make your vacation an enjoyable one. If the plumbing plugs up, the toaster doesn't work, etc., call them immediately. It's their job to see that it gets fixed now. Then go enjoy Maui. Chances are good it will be fixed by the time you get back from sailing. If not, stay in communication with them. We have chosen the best, most responsive condo management companies on the island. You are in good hands


Hotel Check-Out:

Please respect the checkout time posted in your unit, typically 11:00 at the latest. If you have a late flight out of Maui, you might be able to check out of your unit later in the day. When you arrive, or at least several days before you leave, check with the property management company directly (NOT THE FRONT DESK) about this. Get the name of the person who says OK and how late is OK. If someone happens to be checking in the same day you are leaving, it will not be possible to stay late because your unit must be made ready for them; however, with advance notice, arrangements can often be made. If not, Kanaha Beach Park has freshwater showers so you can still play all day and not have to fly home sandy or salty.

Important Note:

Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff.

Getting To Vela Maui:

Vela Maui is located in the Adventure Sports Maui shop at 400 Hana Highway. From the airport, stay straight on Keolani Pl (it will become Dairy Rd.) Follow the signs to Lahaina and Kihei, Cross the Haleakela Highway and the Hana Highway (2 lights). Make the first right on Alamaha St. he next street is Papa Place, turn right. Vela Maui is located at the corner of Papa Place and the Hana Highway. As a point of reference, Fed-Ex is right next door to the Vela Maui entrance. To get fast answers while on Maui, contact the Vela Maui staff at 800-321-7443.

Checking In To Get Started:

Center hours are 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. Our staff will be anticipating your arrival. You can find our staff members at the Vela Maui rental area, either behind the counter or helping guests in the shop. Give any team member your name and they will set you up with an orientation. A credit card is required for safety deposit and for setting up your account at the center. If you arrive after 5:00 pm you can pick up your equipment the following morning. Prepaid lessons and equipment are not refundable after your scheduled arrival date. Though the center closes at 6:00 PM, please try to get there at least 15 minutes before they clsoe if you need to return your rentals or exchange gear for the next day.

Windsurf and Kitesurf Equipment:

Vela Maui is equipped with the latest in high performance gear featuring NeilPryde sails and rigs, JP Australia boards, as well as Cabrinha kites and boards. Please help us maintain the high quality of our fleet by handling with care. Experienced sailors and kiters are welcome to get on the water with our fleet, though rentals will not be provided until proof of level-3 IKO certification (or similar) or completion of lessons and receipt of level 3 IKO certification. NOTE: If you do not have current IKO Level 3 certification (or equivalent) you will be required to take a 1 hour "Evaluation" course so that you can be tested by a professional instructor. The price of the evaluation course includes all certification fees.

Getting On The Water:

Equipment is with you so you don't really have set hours to ride, though you will need to respect local regulations on launch times. Your package includes use of a 1 board and 2 sails or 1 kite and 1 board at a time. You are welcome to return to the center at any time to swap out gear to adjust for varying conditions. Please note that equipment fee is per person and not transferable.

Getting Your Gear:

You will be given an orientation session before checking out your equipment. All guests must use the equipment sign-out / sign-in sheet located at the equipment area to check out equipment. If you want to change your kite or board during the day, simply return to the center and ask for our staff to help you. All this will be covered in your center orientation on your first day sailing with us.


Make sure to ask our staff any questions you may have regarding adjustments to your gear. They will be pleased to show demonstrate anything for you, as you will ultimately need to make these adjustments yourself at the beach. You will be responsible for any incorrect handling of the gear that results in damages to the gear, so make sure that you understand the steps for any changes you plan to make.

Damage to equipment:

You will be asked to leave a credit card as deposit when you take out equipment. Once you sign out your rentals, it is your responsibility to return it in the same condition! To minimize the possibility of damage, please choose equipment that suits your ability level and conditions, and handle equipment carefully when launching and coming in to shore. Items that need replacing such as fins, lines, bladders, or straps will be charged at cost plus 10% for parts and labor. For items that can be repaired, standard charges will apply. This must be paid directly to the center in full upon return of the damaged equipment.

On-Site / Walk-Up Rentals:

If you have not paid for equipment as part of your vacation, note that rentals will only be available after the staff is satisfied that all pre-paid guests have had their first choice. Daily rentals start at $100 per day: no 1/2-day rentals are available. Rates are subject to change. Again, we cannot guarantee equipment availability unless you pre-book with Vela with advance reservations.

Vela Wind Warranty:

Vela's Wind Warranty works like this on  Maui: you can return all equipment to the center on any no-wind days and earn a day-for-day credit offered for a return trip to Maui. If you don't return the gear, you will not get credit for the unused day. If you have swapped kite gear for a surfboard or Stand-Up Paddle board instead, you will also not get credit for the unused windsurf rental day.Any questions? Feel free to call us toll free at 800-223-5443 or while on Maui, ask our Vela Maui staff at 800-321-7443.

Conditions and Safety:

Conditions vary dramatically depending on the time of year, size of ocean swell, and what launch you are sailing from. IMPORTANT NOTE: By county ordinance there is no sailing in Maui before 11:00am. This is out of respect for other water users, surfers and fishermen.

Vela Kitesurf Maui lessons are provided by our partners at both KSMaui and HST. Each school has a team of IKO certified instructors who are all eager to share knowledge about the sport they love. Instruction for all ability levels are available in private lessons. If you have already booked time in advance please make sure to check-in at the Vela Maui center either the day before your lesson or at 09:00 the day of your first lesson. All lessons take place at Kite Beach, which is within Kanaha Beach Park, to the west of the main windsurfing area. We always recommend booking lessons in advance to ensure your spot on the schedule. Contact us if you need to reserve some time to get independent!


Part 1: Introduction to Kite Control
You will begin lessons on land with a 4-line Bow kite at one of Maui's beautiful parks - the same type of kite you'll use later in the water. You'll learn to correctly setup the kitesurfing kite and will practice flying in and out of the powerzone, launching and landing, and more. Further kite control mastery will be applied in part 2. (est. time  1 - 2  hours)

Part 2: Kite Control Body Drag
With the skills learned in the intro, you're ready to maneuver through the powerzone while dragging in the water. You'll practice body dragging upwind, launching the kite from the water, and self-rescue/self-landing skills. This is the phase where students develop and refine the necessary skills to become independent with the kite. (est. time  1 - 2  hours)

Part 3: Kitesurfing Water Start
In this step you'll launch your kite and hit the water with board in tow. Your beach practice water starts will help you visualize what to do in the water and then actually start and ride. Expert feedback from our instructors allows students to maximize their time on the water in this intensive course.To become proficient as a Beginner Kitesurfer you might require more than a 1-day lesson. (est. total 1 - 6 hours)


Part 4: Kitesurfing Upwind
Take advantage of Maui's consistent tradewinds and KSM instructors' expertise to get you riding upwind. With the correct gear selection for your level and the conditions, and with feedback from your instructor you will maximize your time on the water. (est. total time 3 hours)

Part 5: Kitesurfing Transitions
Learning to make smooth directional changes signifies your move from beginner to intermediate level! Your instructor will kite with you and coach you on the water. (est. total time 3 hours)

Part 6: Kitesurfing with Surfboards
Your instructor will help you make the transition from bi-directional freestyle riding to riding in the surf and will kite with you as you practice transitions and landing small jumps with a directional board. This course will open many new possibilities for riding in waves and in lighter winds. (est. total time 3 hours)


Part 7: Kitesurfing Freestyle
Whether it's kite loops, back rolls, front rolls, switched landings, grabs, or handle-passes, KSM instructors provide expert coaching! Advanced riders can also demo kites and apply 100% of the cost towards the purchase of a full price, current model-year kite. (est. total time 3 hours)

Part 8: Kitesurf Instructor Training
Apprentice with one of our instructors before taking an instructor's course. When you are ready to make kiteboarding a new way of life, we have an IKO examiner on staff to certify instructors. (est. total time 3 hours) 

Lesson Program:

Alan Cadiz and his staff of HST instructors have been setting the standards in windsurfing instruction since 1985. Their instructors' high level of skill allows them to sail right next to you on the water, giving you the confidence and the coaching you need to excel quickly. Lessons are taught at Kanaha, Kihei, and from private beachfront locations along Maui's North shore. HST offers beginner through advanced, group and private lessons including jibing and wave sailing. As all lessons are by appointment only, reservations are recommended as far in advance as possible. If you have prepaid for lessons and need to reconfirm start times while on Maui, or want to add some lessons while on-site, please call Vela Maui at 800-321-7443 or HST directly at 800-YOU-JIBE (968-5423). More details on lesson plans below...

Beginner Lessons:

All beginners should meet at Kanaha Beach Park at 09:00 to get started on their lessons. We will bring all the beginner gear you need during you 2.5 hour group lessons.

Advanced Lessons:

For anyone working on waterstarts or who has progressed during the start of the trip, you will move into the next level of instruction. Individualized, private instruction that is catered to your specific needs, whether that may be jibing, stance, footstraps, jumping, etc. These lessons cost the same but are 1.5 hours of private instruction and DO NOT INCLUDE EQUIPMENT which you will need to have rented separately. Most advanced lessons begin after 12:00 noon, on call for ideal winds depending on what you are working on.

Elite Instructors:

Ever sailed with the pros? Matt Pritchard, Alan Cadiz, and others are available to meet with you to work on whatever skills you hope to improve. No need to be intimidated by their bios: these guys LOVE to teach, any level of ability. Times subject to wind conditions and instructor availability. Cost start at $125 per hour with a 2 hour minimum.

Group Clinics:

Please contact us if you are interested in arranging a specialized clinic with local professionals for your group. Ideal when staying on the Northshore at a privately owned guest house with on-site launch and equipment storage. Anything you want to arrange, we can do it.

Returning Rental Equipment:

Be aware of The Vela Maui opening and closing times - 9:00 - 6:00. If you are not planning on sailing the day you leave, you may find it easier to return equipment the afternoon before, rather than in the morning. See if you have taken care of your final tab for additional services you may have purchased. If you have had some bad luck in the wind department, make sure to get your 'Lay Day' credit form before you go, and we hope that you have still had a great vacation overall in spite of Mother Nature!

Returning Rental Car:

Dollar has to get your car ready for someone else to use. If you return it low on gas or really dirty and full of sand, they will charge you. There are gas stations on your way back into Kahului. If you are the rare type to really trash a car, Dolphin Car Wash at 156 Wakea has vacuums. If you're concerned about this, clarify with Dollar their policies before taking the vehicle. Leave plenty of time to drop off your equipment, gas your car, check it in, and catch the shuttle to the airport.

At The Airport:

You will have to pass agricultural inspection. Prepackaged fruit sold specifically to be taken back to the mainland is usually OK. Fruit bought in the supermarkets to be consumed on Maui is generally not allowed off the island.