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Learn To Surf On O’ahu – Hawaii Vacation Surfing

by Fergy Ferguson

Yes, you can Learn To Surf On Oahu too.  I purposely saved the island with the most teachers, and the most breaks to learn at, for this last post in my series on Hawaii Vacation Surfing.  Since the turn of the last century, Waikiki surfers like Duke Kahanamoku (“the father of modern surfing”), and many other great Hawaii surfers, have shared their thrill of the sport worldwide.  In the 60’s and 70’s we also had the “beach movies” which glamorized, yet introduced to many how much fun the sport could be.  The combination of the two have drawn thousands of people to Oahu to seek out that thrill of surfing.  The waves in Waikiki are perfect for the beginner, with plenty of teachers and board rentals right there to get you started.  As you will see later in this post, there are lots of other spots on the island to learn.  For those that want to continue to get better at the sport, there are dozens of great breaks on the island of Oahu.  All that you have to do is just look up the surf report to see all the breaks they report on.  I warn you now though, once you have got up on that first wave, you will see why the thrill of the sport is so addictive.

As I mentioned in my previous blogs, “he’e nalu,” the sport of surfing that was once reserved for the Ali’i, (Hawaiian Royalty) can be now enjoyed by anyone.  If you’ve been following this series, Hawaii Vacation Surfing, my previous posts have been focused on all the other major islands in the Hawaiian chain.  In this blog, we’ll focus on how to learn to surf on O’ahu.  O’ahu has so many amazing beaches to learn, it’s no surprise this island also offers an abundance of surfing schools.  From the novice surfer to the most advanced, dozens of schools offer surfers a chance to get out on the water.

World famous Waikiki is probably one of the best beaches in Hawaii, and the world, to learn how to surf.  On average, the waves here are about one to two feet, giving you gently rolling water for a long, easy ride.  With perfect weather and some of the best O’ahu instructors that have been teaching surfing and paddling in Waikiki for generations, this is “da place” to learn quickly.   Numerous surf schools located in Waikiki and Honolulu offer lessons to beginners.  Just some of these include Waikiki Beach Boys Surf School,  Beach Boy Hale SurfWaikiki Surf Lessons,  Faith Surf SchoolHawaiian Water Sports, which teaches surf lessons at Diamond Head,  Aloha Surf School with Nancy Emerson, (an O’ahu surfing legend who offers “$35 surfing recession specials”), Girls Who Surf,  and the Ty Gurney Surf School.

On a trip last April, I went out to learn some secrets of paddle boarding, and also for a tune-up of my rusty surfing skills with the folks at Hans Hedemann Surf School,  which provides surf and stand up paddle lessons off Waikiki and also up at The North Shore.   Read that post here……

You’ll also find plenty of good beginning surf schools at Ala Moana, the North Shore, and Kailua on the east shore.  Lessons run between 1-2 hours, are taught by experienced surfers, and run from $50 – $130 depending on the amount of people in the class.  Another way to learn surfing is stand-up paddle boarding.  In stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) riders stand upright on wider, longer boards and use a paddle to steer the board.  First-time paddle board riders are also highly encouraged to take lessons, and can easily learn to surf the smaller waves as a bonus to learning the paddle board.  In Waikiki, you will notice many experienced riders using a paddle board for surfing.

If you’re looking for a near perfect wave, you’ll probably find it on Oahu’s North Shore.  Oahu’s North Shore will always be considered the center of the sport, attracting the world’s top surfers. The huge winter waves of this area are legendary, attracting a flood of spectators to watch the best surfers take on some of the most challenging waves on the planet.  Stretching for more than seven miles, the North Shore’s beaches host the world’s top surfing competitions during the winter months (November – February) at Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline), and Sunset Beach.  Challenging even to experienced surfers, the massive waves here can swell to thirty feet or more.  When the big waves of winter show up, surfing up here is obviously not for beginners.  There are however, many beaches here that are also ideal for beginners, and many times year-round when the waves soften, making them ideal for catching your first wave.

At North Shore’s historic Haleiwa Town, Surf ‘n Sea, located right on the beach, offers surfing lessons to beginners on some of the best surfing beaches in the world.  As I mentioned earlier, also at the North Shore, Hans Hedemann Surf School, provides surf and stand up paddle lessons.  The ladies of North Shore Surf Girls Surf School, offer lessons taught by professional women surfers. Costs are $50 for one hour of instruction, $75 for two hours, and $130 for private instruction.  Also here, surfing lessons from Sunset Suzy, are taught by Suzy, famous for being the North Shore’s only female city and county lifeguard.  Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf School, offers a 2-hour lesson for $80, and surf lessons are taught to all ages and levels by O’ahu’s only local, family-owned North Shore surf school.  Surf Hawaii Surf School, also offers 2-3 hours of instruction. Surfing locations vary according to the condition of the waves on the day of your lesson.  Ken Bradshaw School of Surfing, also located on the beautiful North Shore of Oahu, teaches beginners.
And for a longer adventure, Keawe Adventures, offers surfing and stand up padding.  With licensed and CPR certified instructors, lessons are 4-hours with costs ranging from $83 (based on a group of six) to $250 per person.

So dawg, learning da kine surfing is cooking!  You can learn to surf on Oahu on your Seattle to Hawaii Vacation!

A hui ho…
Seattle to Hawaii Vacation Consultant
Call 206-623-2490

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