Hawaii’s Giant Waves Inspire an Industry

May 14, 2021 | General Information

January 15, 2016 was a date that people will remember. Surfing history was in the making. The place was the surf break of Jaws on the North Shore of Maui. Imagine a vertical wall of water, 80′ high, propelling your surfboard at massive speeds so close to your back that you can reach out and touch the wave wall with your outstretched hand.

This is what surfing is like on one of Hawaii’s famous epic north swells during the winter time. This is what legend is made of, and what creates the huge appeal for Hawaii surfing that is well known throughout the planet. Are your clients up for it? Willing to give it a try? Probably not but don’t worry, the normal surf days in Hawaii are much more suited to the intermediate and beginner surfers and Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to recommend that your clients learn to surf.

On every Hawaiian island your clients and guests can enjoy an amazing variety of private, semi-private and group surfing lessons and venues. The surfing locations and experiences on each island and even parts of each island all differ. In addition to traditional surfing lessons, many surfing schools also offer standup paddling (SUP) lessons, kite boarding and sail-boarding lessons. Places to learn surfing and other watersports vary so much that each one provides a different and unique kind of Hawaii watersports adventure. For example, on Kauai you can learn to SUP not only in the ocean but alos on the Hanalei River, Wailua River or in the Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge.

Be sure that clients and guests read Trustpilot reviews of surfing lessons for both beginners and seasoned surfers that describe the schools and instructors, their experience, helpfulness, patience, and commitment to assisting people of all ages, irrespective of anyone’s athletic ability. Depending on the island that clients and guests say that they prefer, be sure that they learn enough about the best spots for learning to surf, the surf schools that use them and, in some cases, the right time of year.

Some of the islands have world-class surf spots that definitely are not the place to start surfing. But there are plenty of good choices for people looking for gently rolling waves, for example, Kauai: Anahola Bay, protected by an outer reef; beautiful Hanalei Bay (in the summer months); Kalapaki Beach any time of year, protected by Kukii Point and Carter Point; and Kiahuna Beach on Kauai’s south side. The small waves of Oahu’s Waikiki Beach, Kailua Beach, Waimanalo Beach and Bellows Field Beach Park that are ideal for learning to surf also are ideal for bodyboarding.

Clients and guests should be encouraged to bring their kids to Hawaii and provide them with unforgettable surfing lessons and experiences. Training for surfers of any age starts on dry land. Most kids learn fast and quickly do well standing and jumping up. Many surfing schools and instructors boast that anyone can be riding the surf in just one lesson. Many of these instructors are pros themselves and surfing reviews in tombarefoot.com prove them correct.

Oahu truly is paradise for beginners and more experienced surfers. The choices on Oahu for learning to surf and more advanced instruction are unsurpassed. Although almost everyone has heard about Hawaii’s famous surf and surf breaks (Pipeline, Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach) and surfing contests on Oahu’s North Shore, the most popular areas to teach beginners surfing (and SUP) are elsewhere. Instructors from surf schools on each island only take students to the best surfing spots every day and some will even pick them up from hotels.

Along Oahu’s South Shore near Waikiki beginners benefit from small and consistent surf breaks year-round. With some minor variations, the surf in Waikiki always is gentle and seemingly endless. In the summer months waves on the North Shore calm down and can be ideal for beginning surfers. Each surfing spot on the island provides a different experience catching a first wave and enjoying attractions in the vicinity. For example Puana Point (Haleiwa Beach Park) and Chun’s on the north shore (not during the winter season) are close to fun Haleiwa with its restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.

Near Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort, Laniakea Beach (aka Turtle Beach)is named after sea turtles that come ashore and lounge on the sand. Next to Waikiki’s hotels the waves at Canoes on the South Shore are really easy and slow. Oahu’s reputation for beaches and waves ideally suited to beginners also include White Plains Beach on the southwest coast and Old Man’s Oahu in front of the Elk’s Lodge in Waikiki.

In addition to great choices for surfing beginners, Oahu has a wealth of watersports opportunities. Recreational water-skiers enjoy the calm waters of Hawaii Kai. Oahu is a kayakers paradise. You can even kayak from Lanikai Beach to the Mokulua Islands. Adventurous visitors can blissfully float above Waikiki on a parasail towed by a speedboat, scuba dive the walls of Kahuna Canyon or alternatively view an occasional shark from the comfort of a passenger submarine.

Many visitors to Oahu take surfing lessons and then guided or self-guided kayaking or standup paddleboard tours, for example, in the almost-always calm Kaneohe Bay or at Lanikai Beach where they can paddle across the channel to the pyramid-shaped islands called Mokulua. During the summer months on Oahu’s north shore, they can start in Haleiwa and kayak to Waimea Bay.

Some visitors follow surfing lessons with a scuba dive, that even can include a wreck dive. The Mahi, a 185-foot former minesweeper, easily accessible just south of Waianae, is surrounded by marine life, making it a great place to photograph schools of lemon butterfly fish and blue-lined snapper. For non-wreck diving in summer, Kahuna Canyon, a massive amphitheater located near Mokuleia, is full of sea life. Individuals, couples, families and small groups all love to snorkel in Hawaii and the number and variety of choices on each island are mindboggling.

No doubt some of your clients and guests will be advanced and skilled surfers. For them the best time to surf in Hawaii is the winter from approximately November through March. Big wave season in Hawaii also brings some of the best surfing competitions in the world, held on Oahu’s North Shore in November and December, including the biggest them of all, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Maui’s answer to Oahu’s North Shore surf breaks is called “Jaws” which has some of the largest waves in the world. Professional surfers gravitate to Maui and stay to staff surf schools. Clients or guests will find an amazing number of choices for surf lessons on Maui. The “Lahaina Breakwall” just off the southern end of Lahaina Harbor is a popular location for surfing beginners and also the surf break at “The Cove” on the south coast in Kihei adjacent “Kalama Park”.

Maui’s waters are crystal clear, offering first-time and other surfers and paddleboarders marvelous views of the reefs, tropical fish, and sea turtles below. Maui’s reputation as a windy island following its usually calm morning periods is well-deserved. Winds kick up by about 10:30 am and sometimes earlier. Newbie surfers and others should head for Maui’s beaches and surf schools early. Fortunately, the locations of the best places to surf make traveling easy:

Launiupoko State Wayside Parkand its easy reef waves are just south of Lahaina, not far from the Lahaina Breakwall and its consistent surf; just outside of Kaanapali Alii, the short waves of beautiful Kaanapali Beach are perfect for newbies; Guardrails, named for the guardrail along the highway, offers a gentle break just south of Lahaina and is a favorite of private surf schools; much like Guardrails, Ukumehame Beach Park is popular for surfing lessons; and set in the middle of central Kihei, between Kalama Park and Kamaole Beach, “The Cove” is the only surf spot for beginners along the Kihei/Wailea coastline, and its waves are usually a bit smaller than at surf breaks near Lahaina.

Larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined, the Big Island truly deserves its nickname. The shoreline boasts diversity from golden beaches to coves with black, salt-and-pepper, even olivine sand. The youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island has fewer beaches and surf spots than the other islands. But it also has some excellent surfing locales for beginners and people with intermediate surfing skills.

The beautiful crescent beach Pine Trees just north of Kona Airport has a bay that’s perfect for both beginners and more experienced surfers. Many of the surfers at Kahalua Beach are learning and snorkeling when they want a break. Just a short distance from Hilo, Honolii Beach is known for its consistent waves. Finally, on the Kohala Coast, off Highway 19, Anaehoomalu Bay gets raves for surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling options.

When clients and guests are looking at choices for surfing lessons in Hawaii, suggest that they also look at SUP, windsurfing and kite boarding lessons. Standup paddle boarding can provide great workouts. For vacationers on Maui, the windward side of the island has Kanaha Beach, a beautiful sandy beach that almost always has consistent winds for learning to windsurf. Kite boarding is another exciting surf boarding sport that obviously is not for everyone.