Maui to Oahu: eight kiteboarders prepare to connect the Hawaiian islands

From Maui to Oahu, eight kiteboarders will be in the air and on the waves for the first-ever kitesurfing channel crossing on July 26th-27th.

The crossing will cover over 100 miles and take two days to complete. The non-competitive sporting event will start at Hookipa Beach, Maui, and head to Kaunakakai, Molokai, and then finish in Kailua, Oahu.

The leader of the expedition is kiteboarding veteran Paul Franco. When it comes to the dangers involved in the event, he said, "The route is treacherous. The wind can really nuke at one moment and then back off the next."

For those unfamiliar with the sport of kiteboarding, also known as kitesurfing, it involves a surfboard equipped with foot straps and a harness that connects to a kite that captures the power of the wind.

It is the wind that moves the rider across the water, over the waves, and into the air. Some kitesurfers can fly over 60 feet into the air. For the kiteboarder out at sea, there is always the chance of encountering sharks.

According to Franco, a previous crossing event got uncomfortably close to some shark "feeding frenzies."

"You definitely don't want the wind to die off when you're near those areas," he said.

For safety purposes, support boats will be following the kiteboarders during the July crossing, but Franco is hopeful all the support he needs is a good, strong wind.

Source: KHNL

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