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Maika Monroe Buckley
Age: 17
Height: 5’6”
Weight: 105 lbs.
Years Kiting: 3
Favorite Spots: Jalama, C-Street, and Kite Beach, Cabarete
Favorite Conditions: 25 knots of wind and flat water
Favorite Moves: Anything Unhooked
Sponsors: F-One USA, CosmicKites.com, Airbound Apparel, Hyperflex Wetsuits

Gear Setup

Board: F-One Trax 132
Kites: F-One Bandit 4
Harness: Underwave


  • The learning curve is steep initially, but stick with it. It’s worth it.
  • Always ride with someone else.
  • At a new place, talk to local riders to find out about any rules or dangers.

At just 17 years old, Maika Buckley has decided to finish her senior year of high school online so she can move to Cabarete to train. Maika said, “I love Cabarete. All of my friends do not understand how I could leave high school my senior year and go live in a third world country. I think how could I not?”

Photo Dixie Buckley

When and why did you start kiteboarding?

My father kited and I was always at the beach watching him. I had windsurfed before, but this looked like a lot more fun. I begged my father to teach me and for my 13th birthday he got me a trainer kite.

Can you talk about why you’ve decided to move to Cabarete during your last semester of high school?

I spent last summer kiting in Cabarete. I love it there and was able to kite almost everyday. I decided to finish my last semester online so I could move back to Cabarete. All my friends think I should wait because senior year in high school is the most fun and I am leaving Santa Barbara for a third world country. For me kiting is what I want to do and there is no better place to live then Cabarete. My friends all think I am crazy.

You learned when you were only 13. What do you think can be done to bring more people into kiteboarding?

My dad made me fly the kite for a year on the beach before he would let me on the water. He wanted to make sure I knew the kite. When I was 13 I weighed about 60 pounds so the pull of the kite was a little overwhelming at first. I love seeing young kids kiting. Not many girls kite, so when people see me kite I think it inspires them to try it. I love that.

What riders influence you the most? 

I train in Cabarete with Alex Soto and Robinson Hilario. They inspire me because they are absolutely fearless. Robinson is always on the edge and creating new tricks. I want to ride like them.

What do you appreciate about your current gear? 

I love the new F-One Bandit 4. They have so much power and are fast and incredibly easy to relaunch. I have tried so many kites and these by far handle the best.

What is your favorite style of riding?

Freestyle. I want to get more into waveriding using a surfboard. That’s what my dad uses now and it looks fun.

What is something you do outside of kiteboarding that most people wouldn’t know?

I am an actress and a model. I am also designing a girl’s line of clothing for Airbound Apparel. Check them out at AirboundApparel.com.

Do you plan on continuing acting and modeling when you return from the DR? Have you been in anything our readers would recognize? 

Yes, I plan on continuing while I am in the DR. I will submit auditions via tape. Yes, something is coming out soon, but I am not allowed to say the name yet. Currently airing is a Purina Dog Chow commercial I am in. It just started airing in the DR and it is really cute because a lot of the Dominican kids have seen it. They all think it is so funny to see me on TV.

What was your scariest kiteboarding experience?

Probably when I was first learning to kiteboard and I was out at Leadbetter in Santa Barbara. The wind died so I couldn’t get upwind and I ended up at the breakwater. There was a big shorebreak and rocks. My father came down and climbed on the rocks to land my kite and I had to swim with my board against the current to the beach.

What was your most memorable kiteboarding experience? 

Right before a big storm in Cabarete the wind picked up for about seven minutes. Everyone ran to grab their gear and get on the water and I did the same. I have never in my life experienced wind like that. I got so much air that I was looking down at the hotel where I was staying.

What are your must-haves that you can’t live without?

My ipod, bikini, and my kites.

Any words s of wisdom you want to share with our readers?

One thing I would say is never ride alone. If you are a girl reading this, try kiteboarding! You don’t have to be super strong (I am not) and you will meet a ton of guys!