Hawaii has long been one of the world’s most famous surfing destinations. Amateur and professional surfers alike visit Hawaii to ride its perfect waves or to watch some of the biggest surfing competitions in the world.
But if you’re planning to visit Hawaii to surf, it can be hard to find the perfect areas for surfing. Luckily, this handy guide has got you covered.
Here I’ll take you through the best surfing spots Hawaii has to offer, as well as what makes them great and the best time to surf there.
Not only that, but I’ve broken down how to find the best surf spot for you, so you can get the most out of your surfing experience.
Ready? Let’s get started!
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The Best Surfing In Hawaii
Starting the list off strong, the famous Waimea Bay more than lives up to its reputation as an amazing surf spot. Located in the iconic North Shore area on the island of O’ahu, Waimea Bay is one of the biggest names in surfing for a reason.
The best waves in Waimea Bay come in the winter, where they grow in size due to strong winds and winter storms. During this time, you can find waves ranging from 30 to 40 ft.
Meanwhile, during the summer the ocean tends to stay calm and placid.
Due to its popularity and great waves, Waimea Bay hosts some of the biggest surfing competitions in the world, like ‘The Eddie’ (the nickname given to a Quiksilver Big Wave competition that honors legendary surfer Eddie Aikau).
While Waimea Bay can get some massive waves during the winter, these are often forecast several days in advance.
If you aren’t confident enough in your surfing ability, then you can still ride some of the smaller but still impressive waves when the ocean is a bit calmer.
Alternatively, you can visit one of the many surf schools in the area to improve your skills.
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This gorgeous beach on Kauai’s south side has some of the largest and most aggressive waves Hawaii has to offer.
As the name suggests, Shipwreck Beach is notable for its strong waves and rocky terrain.
However, this works to your advantage – if you’re an intermediate-to-advanced surfer who’s prepared to take on some pounding waves, then you’re almost guaranteed to have a large stretch of beach to yourself.
Without having to worry about crowds, you can enjoy the spectacular views and great surfing waves in peace.
If water this strong is out of your comfort zone, you can visit on a calmer day. Calmer conditions result in smaller waves that still have enough consistency and speed to surf on.
So if you’re up for the challenge, Shipwreck Beach is the spot for you!
Another one of the North Shore’s best offerings, Sunset Beach on O’ahu is home to big competitions and great waves.
Like Waimea Bay, this picturesque beach gets its biggest waves during the winter, when waves tend to reach from 20 ft to 30 ft. However, strong winter storms can occasionally bring waves as high as 40 ft tall.
Coral reefs along the North Shore can make some areas dangerous for surfers.
Additionally, the strong offshore wind can make paddling out difficult. As such, Sunset Beach isn’t the best area for inexperienced surfers.
The gorgeous surroundings and perfect waves have made Sunset Beach a hotspot for surfing competitions – in fact, Sunset Beach was where The Eddie first started before moving to Waimea Bay.
Nowadays, it’s still home to numerous competitions like the Pipe Masters, and Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (which makes up part of the World Cup of Surfing).
While Sunset Beach isn’t the best surf spot for beginner surfers, the great surf at Sunset Beach makes it ideal for any experienced surfer. And if you don’t want to brave the waves yourself, the surfing competitions there showcase the best surfers in the world.
Possibly Maui’s most popular surfing spot, the great barrel waves more than make up for the crowds.
This beautiful bay has crystal clear water with reefs up against the shore. Facing out into the ocean, Honolua Bay gets strong swells and large waves. This, and the abundance of perfect barrels, makes Honolua Bay ideal for a skilled surfer to tackle.
The large swells and shallow reef line make Honolua Bay better for more experienced surfers who can combat the current. However, the local area is rich with surfing culture, so it’s still a great place to visit for anyone interested in the sport.
Where’s The Best Surf Spot For Me?
The best surfing spot differs from person to person.
If you aren’t an experienced surfer, you should avoid places like Shipwreck Beach and Sunset Beach. However, you can check out quieter parts of Waimea Bay; alternatively, spots like ‘Castles’ in O’ahu or ‘The Cove’ in Maui are great beginner spots to help you train.
More advanced surfers may enjoy the massive swells during the winter at Waimea Bay, or attempting to surf a barrel in Honolua Bay.
Consider your skill level before trying to surf. If you aren’t confident with waves that are too big or strong, look for areas with calmer waters.
You should also find out if an area has a strong current or any hazards in the surf beforehand to avoid the risk of injury.
Areas like the North Shore have a deep history with surfing as a sport, and are great places to visit whether you want to surf yourself or are just interested in learning more about surfing.
Hawaii is full of some of the best surfing spots on the globe. With their strong waves and breathtaking views, it’s easy to see why Hawaii has captured the hearts of surfers worldwide.
So whether you want to catch some waves or watch talented surfers show off their skills,
Hawaii has something for everyone.
Whichever surfing spot you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a great time on the waves.