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Hawaii Vacation Surfing – Learn to Surf In Hawaii

by Fergy Ferguson

Have you ever wanted to get involved in Hawaii Vacation Surfing?  Yes, you can learn to surf in Hawaii, even though it is amazing to think that the sport of surfing was once reserved only for the Ali’i. (Hawaiian Royalty)   Surfing, or “he’e nalu” was a sport I took up when I was growing up in Santa Cruz, Ca. in the late 60’s.  This series will cover, over the next several weeks, how you can learn to surf in Hawaii on all the main islands.  I want to help you see how surfing in Hawaii can be enjoyed by all ages, and how you can learn just how easy and exciting surfing can be.

Yes, back in the days of the surf party movies, and the famous surf around the world movie “Endless Summer”, is when I learned to love the ocean, and the pure joy of surfing.  Oh, don’t forget the parties of summer too!   What is really fun is that we actually did have those beach parties with the bonfires, cooking fresh seafood, and getting silly.  What we didn’t have was the singing, Moondoggie, Annette, and Frankie as our mascots.  That didn’t stop us from looking for the best waves up and down the coast of California, or from having fun surfing and partying in all our youthful glory.  Those days are what I consider the golden age of surfing.

And just like surfers from all over the world who head to Hawaii’s legendary waves, I longed to catch the big Hawaii waves, eagerly leaping into the 20+ foot breaks to test myself against the most challenging surf in the world.  When I went over right after my 18th birthday for my first shot at the big Hawaii waves, I took one look at the steep faces and shallow water, and decided that I would look for something a little safer to start my Hawaii surfing experience.  It’s kinda funny that even as a bullet-proof 18 year old, I actually did have some common sense.  I did end up doing a lot of surfing that trip, just not the monster waves I first saw.

For a tamer story, read about my recent trip, and Surfing Off Waikiki Beach.

One of the best places in the world to surf, Hawaii is well known for its beautiful beaches and ocean swells, with Oahu’s North Shore considered the center of the sport.  The most famous spots on Oahu’s North Shore, such as Waimea Bay, Sunset, and Banzai Pipeline are tackled only by the most advanced surfers.  Most of us drawn to the sport will only watch Oahu’s “big boys” with awe as some of the world’s best surfers are thrown like dominoes from the huge waves, and their broken boards float up to the beach.  Sitting and watching the show draws scores of people every year when the big surf rolls in, and I highly suggest that if you are there when it happens that you go up and watch.

Not ready to ride the monster waves, but would still like to try your hand at the “sport of kings,” there are many locations throughout the Hawaiian islands for beginners to learn the sport quickly.  For this post we will focus on the Island Of Maui for your surfing lessons.

Maui may not be as famous a destination for surfers as Oahu, but it always pays to remember that all the islands here in Hawaii have at least one world-class site, and there are countless places for beginners to learn surfing.  One thing to be aware of however, is that many areas have reefs, so be sure to your instructors offer reef booties if they take you to a spot that has reefs.  When you fall, which you will, (especially if you’re just learning), it’s only natural to put your feet down to steady yourself to get back on your board.  The booties will help to assure you don’t end up with a coral cut that makes the rest of your trip a challenge.

When we talk about surfing on Maui, there are several places that you can get lessons, and also continue to surf after you have gotten a good start on the sport.  On the south side of Maui in early spring through early fall, “The Cove” or what’s known as Cove Park at Kihei is perfect for beginners and those continuing to surf after getting beginner lessons.  Kihei is one of the sunniest places in Maui, making it a desirable visitor destination, and a great place for the family to learn how to surf.  It’s generally shallow, and the ocean floor here is both reef and sand, creating slower, smaller, and gentler waves.  If possible, beginners should try to surf over sand, because you’ll be happier when you fall.  A good place to start is “Waves Hawaii Surf School” in Kihei.

Other spots like Grandmas and Launiupeko on the west side of Maui also offer great conditions for beginners; soft, smaller waves which aren’t too steep or long, a sandy entry, and an easy paddle out. One of the best instructors, and companies that operate out of Lahaina is Goofy Foot Surf School.  They have been around since 94 and Tim Sherer and his crew do a good job with Keiki’s (children) too!  Another Lahaina option is The Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy, which also offers beginning lessons, surf gear and souvenir photos.  Owner Kimo Kinimaka has been teaching surfing since 1996.

Also on the west side, Ka’anapali offers three miles of pristine water and gorgeous white sand beaches. Close, sandy entry and small south swells make this beach ideal for the beginner. Island Style Adventures,  offers 2-hour lessons off Ka’anapali Beach, and they offer private individual, or group lessons as part of their offerings.  There are also several places to rent boards for those who already have some skills and want to go out in the mornings or afternoons for an hour or two.

Costs for the schools range from $60 for a 2-hour group instruction ($45 for kids) to $80 for private lessons.  For general information about learning to surf, a great online resource is also MauiSurf. The site can help you locate additional surfing instruction and instructors on Maui in Hawaii.

Of course, you can also call your local Seattle to Hawaii travel agent for advice too!!!  Cowabunga Dude…Farm Out, Right Arm, Wish I was at a Beach party!!!!

A hui ho…..

Seattle to Hawaii Vacation Consultant
Call 206-623-2490,

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