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Where to Surf in Hawaii: Hawaii's Best Surf Spots

Updated on April 29, 2012

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Whether you are visiting Hawaii or live on the islands, this guide will tell you where to surf for your particular skill level. If you are an extreme surfer and can handle up to 40 ft waves, this article tells you where to go to find them in Hawaii. If you are just learning to surf, this article also outlines the best surf spots for beginners that want to have fun and stay away from dangerous surf spots.

Surfing originated in Hawaii, where Duke Kahanamoku first rode on his thick Koa board. Surfers come from all around the world to surf these historical beaches and now you can visit them too.

Honalua

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Honalua on Maui, Hawaii

If you watched the video at the top of this page, you will notice that some of the most exciting clips were filmed at Honolua Beach on Maui. This beach is great for expert surfers and moderate surfers. Some days, the water is completely flat and children can play in the water. Other times, this beach is only open to the most experienced surfers because of the risk involved in surfing these monster waves.

If you want to catch a big one and have years under your trunks of surfing, then Honolua is going to be your favorite surf spot.

North Shore - O'ahu, Hawaii

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North Shore

The North Shore of O'ahu, Hawaii's most populated island, is a very popular surf destination for moderate to expert surfers. On a day with heavy surf, the waves at the North Shore can reach up to 50 ft.

The North Shore spans seven miles around the Northern coast of the island and is a popular spot for tourists to visit. Most of the major surf competitions in Hawaii happen at this beach including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which happens in the peak of the surfing season, November to December.

Amazing Session at North Shore - February 2011

Banzai Pipeline: O'ahu, Hawaii

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Surfing at Pipeline

Banzai Pipeline (known to surfers as "Pipeline") is one of the most famous surf spots in the world. The spot gets its name from the trench underneath the ocean surface. That section of the pacific has a drop-off that is shaped like a pipe. As the water pushes toward the shore, waves form by rolling in the trench, creating a dangerous undertow.

If you are going to surf at Pipeline, make sure that you have backup. Never surf alone at places with waves larger than ten feet. Pipeline is known to have such big waves, that the surfer is often towed in-and-out of the set by jet skis.

Pipeline Surfing 2011

Sandys Beach on the Big Island

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Sandys in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Sandys is a great place for beginners and intermediate surfers to enjoy a nice sunset set. This beach is a great place to learn how to surf on small days and also a place for more experienced surfers to tear it up during the swell seasons.

Sandys is located on Ali'i Drive, where plenty of beaches rest on the side of this iconic road. Sandys is usually really crowded and attracts not only tourists but dedicated residents of Hawaii. Just down the street, you can sign up for surfing lessons that will help you learn to surf or improve your skills.

Where Beginners Learn to Surf in Hawaii

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The Best Beaches to Learn How to Surf in Hawaii

If you want to learn how to surf in Hawaii, you will want to go to a beach that may offer lessons or has little reef in case you fall off your board. These are some of the best beaches where you can learn to surf:

  • Kahalu'u Beach in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island*
  • Hapuna Point in Waikoloa on the Big Island
  • Waikiki Beach in Waikiki on Oah'u*
  • Ali'i Drive in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island*
  • Paniau in Waikoloa on the Big Island

*Surfing lessons available

show route and directions
A markerHonalua -
Honolua Bay, Hawaii 96761, USA
get directions

B markerNorth Shore -
North Shore, Hauula, HI, USA
get directions

C markerPipeline -
Pipeline, Hana, HI 96713, USA
get directions

D markerKahalu'u Beach -
Kahaluu Beach, Kahaluu, HI 96744, USA
get directions

E markerSandys Beach -
White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
get directions

F markerWaimea Bay -
Waimea Bay, Hawaii 96712, USA
get directions

G markerWaikiki Beach -
Waikīkī Beach, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
get directions

H markerHapuna -
Hapuna Beach State Park, Kamuela (Big Island), HI 96743, USA
get directions

I markerAlii Drive -
Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
get directions

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    • brittanytodd profile image
      Author

      Brittany Kennedy 6 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Aloha, K9! I live in SoCal right now and agree that the waves and beaches are different, but the feeling of surfing remains a powerful and exciting experience. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I am so glad you enjoyed the video. Mahalo!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      Watched your surfing video over and over again! I was mesmerized by the red-sunset-hued slow-motion at the end. The waves Kahuna provided are amazing!

      Tons of my family grew up along the California coastline; Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach--although no where near the glory of those beaches in Hawaii--all made for bonus surfing. Just about every person in my family has surfed at some pint and I (now 30 or so, years later) still miss that feeling of power and thrill only found in the barrel. Great travel info for surfing enthusiasts! Nothing like Hawaiian Beaches in every surfer's mind!

      Aloha HubHugs~

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