Many people come to Hawaii to surf, not least because this is where surfing was born, but there’s more to surfing in Hawaii than just hopping on a board at the nearest beach. Some places are better for beginners than others, while some beaches offer challenges that experienced surfers won’t find elsewhere. A little advance preparation will help you find the best waves in Hawaii.
Oahu’s North Shore is famous as one of the most popular places in the world to go surfing, and there’s a good reason for that. With names like Waimea Bay and Pipeline being the stuff of surf legend, this might be just the place you want to go if you want to see some surfers who know what they’re doing – and maybe get inspired for your own attempts. Waikiki Beach is a pilgrimage for many surfers, not because the waves are the best but because that’s where you’ll find the statue commemorating Duke Kahanamoku. He’s credited with popularizing the sport of surfing, and is still revered today.
Best Surf Spots for Beginners
If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to seek out the beaches where the waves aren’t as big and there are lots of people around to teach you. There are countless surf schools all over Oahu in particular, especially in Waikiki (south shore) and on the North Shore. But each island will have surfing lessons available somewhere. If you’re in doubt, ask at your hotel or hostel and they’ll be able to point you in the direction of a surf school or twelve.
A few of the Oahu beaches which are particularly forgiving for beginners are Chuns Reef, Puena Point, Cockroach Bay, Inside Haleiwa and even Waikiki Beach (yes, it’s crowded – but many of those people will be able to help you learn). Once you’ve mastered the art – or at least or on your way – you’ll be able to rent a board just about anywhere and try out the waves in more secluded spots. Just remember to surf safe!
For More Advanced Surfers
If one or two days of surfing doesn’t seem like enough to you, then look for a guided surf vacation package. The guides on these tours know where the best waves can be found, so you don’t have to waste time on beach after beach with nothing to show for it. All you’ll need to do is show up and an incredible surfing vacation will be delivered to you on a silver platter. Or, in this case, maybe on a longboard.
Other Water Sports to Try
Check it out, even the dogs surf in Hawaii!