I had the privilege of being invited to MaiTai Kite Camp 2010 in late May. It’s a fantastic annual event which started four years ago when professional kiteboarder Susi MAI and venture capitalist Bill TAI from Charles River Ventures invited a few of their friends to kite with them. The event has grown to over 150 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who come to network and kiteboard! The setup is really smart: networking events start early in the morning and end at 11 am and start again at 6 pm. In other words, we’re completely free from 11 am to 6 pm to kite all day long –and what a kiting experience it is!
I was a bit wary to travel so far (12 hours from NY when you include the stopover in Honolulu) to kite given the rotten luck I had the last three times I had gone to Cabarete (2 days of wind out of 20 days total!) and in Margarita (2 days of wind out of 11!). The minute I landed my fears were put to rest. I had never experienced so much wind! There was 25-30 knots of wind with gusts over 40 knots! Not wanting to fly into the stratosphere, I left my Cabrinha Switchblade 12 in the trunk of the car and borrowed someone’s 7. For guys my size – 6’3”, 185 pounds – 7s are usually trainer kites you learn to fly on the beach when learning to kite. It seemed inconceivable to kite with one, but with that much wind if anything I was overpowered! I bought a new Cabrinha Switchblade 8 later that day and kited with it the entire week. The experience was amazing. When you are so used to light wind and big kites, the responsiveness of a small kite is thrilling and empowering!
Kiteboarding also makes for great bonding opportunities and the kiting community is very close. Kiteboarders look out for each other: they help each other launch and land their kites and most importantly bail us out when we have kitemares especially far out at sea. Everyone who kites has needed to be helped or rescued by someone at some point. Knowing you will need help one day makes you much more understanding, appreciative and willing to help! As a result, the event made for fantastic networking. I got to meet fantastic new people, made new friends and became even closer to existing friends.
Maui is also fantastic in its own right! I stayed near Paia at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House around 20 minutes from kite beach. The lodging was great and the food even better! The locals were extremely friendly and helpful and the sunset from the Haleakala volcano was breathtaking!
I will definitely be back!
You can also Forbes’ article on the event: Kiteboarding: The New Golf