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Surfing Hawaii – Learn to Surf on Kauai

by Fergy Ferguson

Hawaii Vacation Surfing isn’t just for experienced surfers, wanting to surf Oahu’s big waves.  Now you can learn to surf on Kauai too! As I mentioned in my last blog, “he’e nalu,” or the sport of surfing once reserved for the Ali’I (Hawaiian Royalty), can be now enjoyed by anyone.  Come on, you’re going to Hawaii.  If you’ve never surfed before and want to know where to learn, follow my series on the places to learn just how easy and fun surfing can be.

Oahu’s North Shore will always be considered the center of the sport, and many beaches on Oahu are ideal for beginners.  I want you to know that you can learn to surf on any of the major islands, and in this post we will focus on learning to surf on the Island of Kauai.

Ahh, Kauai where beaches are less crowded and the waters a balmy 75 degrees.  Kauai is well-known for its gorgeous plunging cliffs, striking canyons and verdant rainforest’s.  With miles of pristine white sand, it also has some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii.  So surfing here can be a very pleasant surprise!  I can’t stress enough, that if you’ve never surfed before, it’s a great idea to take a class when you head out into the waves.  Surf schools can teach you the basics, and make sure you enjoy the sport as quickly as possible.

After learning, look for beaches with sandy bottoms, slower and smaller waves, easy beach entries (the waves aren’t too far offshore), and ideally, big sandbars with shallow water which allow you to wade out to the whitewater line much easier.  Your instructors will point you in the right direction of these breaks, so don’t be afraid to ask.  Let’s get to it and give you the highlights of Hawaii vacation surfing, and learning to surf on Kauai.

On the south shore of Kauai lies a stretch of beach, Po’ipu, once dubbed by the “Travel Channel” as America’s Best Beach.  It’s easy to see why!  In addition to being one of the safest beaches on the island, marine life abounds here.  Visitors are likely to see humpback whales offshore or large honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) swimming in the surrounding waters.  Also a big draw to the beach is the endangered Hawaiian monk seals which can often be seen sunbathing on the shore.  During the summer months, soft southerly swells make Po’ipu Beach a wonderful place to begin your journey as a new surfer.  Every day on the shores of Po’ipu, Nukumoi Surf Company, offers instruction to beginners.  Instructors are certified in CPR and lifeguard trained.  The company has no age restriction – they’ve have already taught kids as young as two years, and adults as old as 75!  Po’ipu Beach Park also has showers, picnic tables, and beach lifeguards.  Costs for 2-hour lessons range from $75 for group instruction to $175 for private instruction.

For a true Aloha experience, and maybe a glimpse of Puff, The Magic Dragon you want to head to the idyllic town of Hanalei up north.  Lessons from the Titus Kinimaka Hawaiian School of Surfing are highly suggested, and some of the most culturally rewarding too.  Founded by legendary big wave surfer Titus Kinimaka, surf classes are taught by Kauai natives and held at Hanalei pier.  They have been around since the early 1950s and use techniques developed by Kinimaka during his four and a half decades of surfing.  A 90-minute lesson is $65.  They’ll fit you with a beginner’s long board and let you use their equipment for the rest of the day to practice.  Plus you get to experience the sights and sounds of one of my favorite areas in Hawaii.  For those who already have skills, brush up instruction and rentals are also available.

Also of Hawaiian ancestry, Mitchell Alapa and his wife Lynn teach surfing on Kauai’s North Shore at Hanalei Bay through Hawaiian Surfing Adventures.  Hanalei Bay Beach Park is a beautiful curved bay located directly east of Princeville in Hanalei Town, Kauai.  Though Hanalei does have its fair share of competitive waves, surfing near the pier is a great place for beginners to learn. Mitchell has been surfing his entire life and has lived on Kauai since he was two.  His warm, engaging personality puts everyone at ease, even the most cautious – and he’s also wonderful with keiki (children)!  Group lessons are $55-65 per person and private instruction $150.

And while you’re at it, why not try stand-up paddling while enjoying the stunning beauty of Hanalei Bay?  You will definitely want to bring your waterproof camera to take pictures.  Hawaiian Surfing Adventures also teaches the use of a paddle board.  After your lesson you can practice for another two hours at no charge.  Costs for one-hour classes are $65 for group instruction and $75 for private lessons.

After taking your lesson, you can also venture out on your own.  In addition to the beaches
I’ve already mentioned, on the east side of Kauai, Kealia Beach offers ideal conditions for beginners to practice with long sand bar bottoms, gentle surf breaks, and easy entry from the beach.

Cowabunga Dawg…It’s time to enjoy your da kine Hawaii Vacation Surfing, and now you know you can Learn to Surf on Kauai!

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

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