Surfing the Garden Isle should be at the top of any visitor’s bucket list. Since Hawaii is credited with the creation of surfing, it only makes sense to enjoy this sport when you visit. And as a wave-powered activity, you can’t find a more sustainable way to spend the day in Kauai.
You’ll find a whole lot of seasonal and geographical variability on the island, with monster 30- to 40-foot swells hitting the North Shore in winter, and more mellow breakers cresting on the South Shore year round. But you don’t have to be an expert surfer to hit the waves in Kauai. Grab your surfboard, and head to some of these top surf spots on the island.
With mellow surf and more advanced options on the island’s east side, Anahola Bay makes an ideal beginner-to-expert surf spot. The bodyboarding/body surfing break near the mouth of the Anahola River keeps it fun and light, while the main break over the reef is best for more experienced surfers when the waves are really going in winter.
This is the largest bay on Kauai’s north shore. With its two miles of beach, you can find waves mellow enough for beginners in Hanalei Bay, depending on the conditions of the day. That being said, winter waves can make for impressive breaks that are not so safe for beginners. Early riding is better, before winds bring chop later in the day.
When the Travel Channel names the best beach in the country, it’s best to listen. That designation alone makes Poipu Beach a worthwhile stop. Located on the island’s south shore, you can find your own waves or sign on for a surf lesson. Though you can find beginner-friendly waves, surfers of all levels can discover their happy place with these consistent southerly swells in the summer.
Kalapaki Beach offers a few breaks to choose from when you’re ready to surf. This exposed reef break has reliable waves to ride, especially during the month of May. In general, this is a good beginner spot, with pretty small waves.
Also known as Rock Quarry (because of the nearby former quarry), Kahili Beach is more of a mixed bag of conditions, so beginners should take care. Without a reef to break the swells, higher winds can whip up unmanageable surf for a novice. And when the water is murky, it’s best to stay in: that can mean sharks and rip tides. When in doubt, don’t go out.
Kiahuna is actually a section of Poipu, between Poipu Beach Park and Lawai Beach. Beginners can stay close to shore for smaller waves, sheltered by the outlying reef. For experienced surfers, the less protected breaks outside the reef make for some more excitement.
When your day of riding comes to an end, take the time to relax at an island getaway. Highline Adventures properties prioritize sustainability, with green living and comfort as the top goal. Book your stay in a garden cottage, and explore Kauai.