LETTER: Kite Surfers Endanger Kids at Ka’a Point

May 3, 2013, 4:58 PM HST · Updated May 10, 12:54 PM
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Editor’s note: This letter was also sent to county officials and the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources.

By Philip Bolek, Wailuku

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A kite surfer returns to shore at “high rates of speed” via the fish pond, apparently with children playing nearby. Photo courtesy Philip Bolek.

On 4/13/2013 while my family was enjoying the beach at Ka’a Point we were threatened and harassed by the kite surfers that would launch & land the kites in the fish pond located at the park.

The fish pond was filled with kids and fisherman as well as my 4 year old son that was playing in the surf. Kiters came into the pond at high rates of speed nearly hitting my son in the surf – my wife ran over to our son who was by then being told by the “kiter” to move out of his way. When my wife interjected the kiter told her that our son needs to move out of his way because “do you know what these kite lines would do to a 4 year old” – my wife again objected that our son, who was playing in the surf shouldn’t have to move out of the kiters way if they are the ones creating a dangerous condition – the kiter then told my wife “well then you need to move out of the way also.”

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On 4/19/2013 I contacted the on duty lifeguards located at Kanaha Beach Park and told them what had happened – I was told by the lifeguard that the kiters were not supposed to be launching or landing in the fish pond, period. I was also told by the lifeguard that should they come into the fish pond again while kids/beach users were in the pond that I should contact the DNLR or call 911 depending on the threats made.

kaa-point-kite-surfer-pond-harassment

Photo courtesy of Philip Bolek.

On 4/25/2013 we were again at Ka’a Point and the kiters came into the pond within feet of hitting my son – the speed in which they came at him would have caused a serious injury. I called the DNLR and explained what happened to the dispatcher – within 15 minutes we were met by DLNR officers at the beach. I explained to the officers what had happened and what the lifeguard had told me to do if it occurred again. While the officers were very professional and courteous, they said there was nothing they could do about because there are no rules/statutes to follow. The officer also suggested that if the kiters are making the beach unsafe “that maybe we should go to another beach” – I found that comment to be odd as why should kids/families have to leave the beach because the kites are dangerous.

So I am trying to find out if there are rules for the kiters to follow as I was told one thing by the lifeguard and the opposite by the DNLR officer. I would think that there is some type of law against causing unsafe conditions to beach users. The kite strings are about an 1/8″ in diameter, pulling a 200 lb. person these strings would cut a person like a knife –
My concern is that we have seen kiters blown into people, trees, & fishing lines – they can not control the elements (wind) and are putting other beach users in an unsafe condition.

Photo courtesy of Philip Bolek.

Photo courtesy of Philip Bolek.

We have witnessed several heated confrontations between the kiters and other beach users, the kiters seem to always want to escalate the issue into a physical altercation – which I want to avoid hence this email and my concerns for my son’s safety at Ka’a Point.

I have attached pictures from 4/13 & 4/25/2013 showing the blatant disregard by the kiters for other beach users, in particular kids. We also have video and hundreds of pictures if more are needed. On this website: http://www.mauikiteboardingassociation.com/kitemaps.html under the “Kite Beach, Ka’a Point, NASKA heading: it also states that this is a Loko i’a (Hawaiian Fish Pond) and kiters are not to enter it.

Send letters to [email protected] – include your full name, town, and clearly state your issue. Ideal word length is 500 words; if your issue is a brief response to a published article, please leave a comment in the area below the article. We will not publish overly brief letters.

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