The 5 best beginner surf spots on Kauai
Most people associate surfing in Hawaii with Oahu: Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, Waikiki, and Makaha are all famous surf spots. Oahu’s less-visited neighbor, Kauai, also has excellent surf breaks, and several are perfect for beginners. Below are the 5 best beginner surf breaks on Kauai.
Understanding Hawaii’s ocean will help you pick a home base for a surfing vacation. In the winter months, Hawaii’s northern coasts experience big surf resulting from far-away storms in the North Atlantic. In the summer months, the situation reverses. Since the southern hemisphere experiences winter, those storms send waves thousands of miles across the pacific until they reach Hawaii’s southern coasts.
Hanalei Bay is a two-mile-long beach on Kauai’s north shore and one of the best surfing locations in Hawaii. The bay contains many different breaks, including a few reef breaks for advanced surfers. Several beach breaks are ideal for beginner surfers depending on swell direction and size. A favorite location during the winter months is around Hanalei Pier. The location is protected as big waves lose energy when they reach the pier.
During summer, lake-like conditions return to the Hanalei, and surfing lessons move to the south shore. There is still the occasional day when 1-2 ft surf rolls in, particularly in June and July, so keeping an eye on the surf report is important.
Kalapaki Bay is a famous beach and bay located on the eastern shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The bay is situated near the town of Lihue and is known for its calm waters, which make it an excellent spot for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and other water activities. The beach is also famous for its soft, golden sand and picturesque views of the surrounding mountains.
Kalapaki Bay is a beach beside Nawilili harbor protected from large waves. Beach boys have been giving surf lessons here for decades. Kalapaki Bay doesn’t have as many good wave days as Hanalei Bay, and the waves break in deep water, but this is one of the cleanest breaks for beginners because there tends to be less turbulence in the water compared to other locations. This would be the first location to check for people vacationing near Lihue.
Kiahuna Beach is a famous beach on the southern coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The beach is in the Poipu area, known for its sunny weather and beautiful beaches. Kiahuna Beach is a long, sandy beach with plenty of space for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing.
Kiahuna Beach is also known for its excellent surfing conditions. The beach has a consistent, moderate surf break ideal for intermediate-level surfers. Surf lessons and rentals are available from several nearby surf shops.
For kids getting into surfing, Kiahuna beach is the preferred south shore location for lessons. The break is usually about 1 foot high, but instructors stand in the waist-high water and help students by pushing their boards. Although Kiahuna beach is mostly sand, rocks are in the water, and reef shoes are recommended. The break is only 20-30 yards from shore.
Rock Quarry Beach
Rock Quarry Beach is a small, secluded beach on the northern shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The beach is situated in the town of Kilauea, and it’s named after the nearby rock quarry that was once used to extract basalt for road construction.
Rock Quarry Beach is known for its rugged, rocky coastline and pristine turquoise waters. The beach is not as famous as other nearby beaches, making it an excellent spot for visitors looking for a quieter and more secluded beach experience. The beach is accessible via a short hiking trail to the shore.
One of the unique features of Rock Quarry Beach is the natural tide pools that form along the shoreline. The tide pools are home to various marine life, including colorful fish and sea urchins, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and exploring.
Rock Quarry Beach, known as Kahili beach, is on Kauai’s north shore. Surfing schools will sometimes take students here when Hanalei Bay is flat. This is not a clean break as the area experiences mostly wind waves, but catching the white water is still fun and instructive for beginners with the right equipment (big boards). It’s often the only north shore option in the quieter summer months.
Lawai Beach is a beautiful and famous beach on the southern shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The beach in Koloa is known for its stunning views, calm waters, and excellent snorkeling.
Lawai Beach is a long, sandy beach stretching over half a mile along the coastline. The beach is divided into two sections by a rocky outcropping, with the eastern section known as Baby Beach and the western section known as Allerton Beach.
A famous reef break is at Lawai beach, directly in front of the Kuhio Shores Condominiums. Although not suitable for beginners, novice surfers will want to investigate this location when the rest of the south shore is flat. As with any reef break, checking the surf forecast and tides is essential, and this location should only be surfed during high tide. Surf instructors may take more experienced surfers here for advanced lessons.
There are many surf schools and instructors on Kauai. If you’re not a confident swimmer, it’s important to choose a semi-private lesson instead of a group one so that the instructor can always assist you.
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