Aloha! Your dream vacation is not complete without surfing the waves of Kauai. While surfing is a popular sport worldwide, world class surfing spots sit along Kauai’s breathtaking beaches. Check out Poipu Beach on Kauai’s south shore, Kalapaki Beach in Lihue as well as Tunnels Beach and Hanalei Bay on the north shore. November through February is known as Kauai’s big wave season, where world-class surfers hit the waves and challenge their skills.
Before hitting the waves, check out www.surfline.com to get a surf report of the local waters. Surfboard and paddleboard rentals can be found at all of the best stops. Check reviews, rates and hours of rentals to get the best deals!
Poipu Beach, Kauai
Poipu Beach is well-known as one of Kauai’s safest beaches nestled in the south shore resort town among restaurants, great shopping, and fantastic golf. Picturesque waters of Poipu Beach invite visitors, locals and rare marine life. December through May boasts spectacular scenes as humpback whales can be seen spouting off shore. Poipu Beach is great for snorkeling! Swim among schools of colorful fish and follow large honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) along the coral reef. If you are lucky, you may spot Hawaiian monk seals sun bathing on the shore. These endangered species range from 400-600 pounds, so enjoy them from afar.
Kalapaki Beach, Kauai
Located in Lihue, Kalapaki Beach is a destination for safe swimming, surfing, and paddle boarding. The inviting waters of Kalapaki Beach make this an ideal location for surfing beginners during calm waters, where local surf schools can help you surf like a pro. During high surf, beware of strong rip currents. Famous surfers like Duke Kahanamoku enjoyed surfing the waves of Kalapaki Beach. Nearby Nawiliwili Bay Park is great for beginning surfers as well, and is a great location to enjoy during high surf on Kalapaki Beach.
Tunnels Beach, Kauai
Tunnels Beach on the north shore boasts gorgeous mountain backdrops, spectacular surfing on the outer reefs and convenience to Princeville. Experienced surfers flock to Tunnels Beach during the winter months, when the waves are at their best. Named Tunnels Beach for its reef formation, which can be seen from outer space, surfers believe the name comes from its tunnel shaped waves. Enjoy snorkeling through the maze of reefs during calm waters at this beach as well. Check the surf reports before heading out to ensure you have a safe and fun experience!
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
With over two miles of beach just west of Princeville, Hanalei Bay is a destination surf location during winter months, as well as fantastic swimming and paddle boarding within the safety of the bay during summer months. World champion surfers call Hanalei Bay home, so expect a fantastic show if you are lucky enough to catch them riding the waves. The half-moon bay boasts white sand beaches and majestic mountains framing the beach, offering a gorgeous beach location right in the north shore.
First time surfing?
Kauai is a perfect destination to learn surfing. Surf schools pop up all over the island. Before selecting a school, read reviews online. Surfing is a workout and the schools generally do on-land lessons and then head to the water to put your practice to work. For the best experience, set up an early morning lesson…most surf schools use the same areas of beaches for students, so the earlier you go, the less crowded the water and more waves for you to catch. Make sure you eat a hearty breakfast and stretch before your lesson. Hit the waves with confidence and have fun!