Experience Maui Surfing

Spend some time surfing while visiting Maui.

Surfer Girl Hawaii

While visiting the Hawaiian Islands, you will hear the name “Duke,” which refers to a person and a chain of restaurants named after him. In this specific case, “Duke” is a name and not a title. Duke Kahanamoku lived from 1890 to 1968. He was a man of many talents, a five-time Olympic swimmer, an actor, and a lawyer, and he spent a lot of time traveling the world, sharing the sport of surfing.

Duke is a Hawaiian legend and known as the father of modern surfing. Through the early 1900s, Duke travelled the globe evangelizing the sport of surfing, with a trip to Australia in 1914 being perhaps his most influential visit as it is credited with introducing the sport to Australia.

For those of you itching to go surfing, Maui has plenty of options to scratch your surfing itch. For you experts, you can share Ho’Okipa Beach with the windsurfers.

Beginning and intermediate surfers can try Launiupoko Beach Park, Papalaua Wayside Park, or Olowalu Beach. Launiupoko Beach is located along the Lahaina coast off Highway 30 at mile marker 18. Papalaua Wayside Park is near mile marker 18 on Honoapiilani Highway near Wailuku. The east end of the park has an easy break, which is good for beginners. Olowalu Beach is located close to mile marker 14 on the Honoapiilani Highway, which is the ocean road that takes you from the central valley to Lahaina and the west side. Olowalu Beach is located just off the side of the road and can be easily seen by anyone driving by.

If you are just starting out, there are many places all over the island where you can take lessons. A number of places in Kihei and Lahaina will rent you equipment and provide a two-hour lesson. Many of these places are located such that you can get some on onshore instruction, paddle right out into the surf, and put your learning into practice.

One sport that has really gotten big in Hawaii is stand-up paddle surfing (SUP). This is where you stand up on a longer board and paddle around. Lessons are available on the island. The sport really took off in 2005 and you can now see it all over Hawaii.

For those who don’t want to surf but like watching, you can watch professional surfers at Honolua Bay during the winter months. Also, you can meander just east of Ho’Okipa Beach to find the famous “Jaws” where the waves can exceed sixty feet in height. The official name of the beach is Peahi, which means “wave.” To get to Peahi, look for the unpaved road going north off the Hana Highway between mile markers 13 and 14. Jaws is popular for tow-in surfing where surfers are towed into the big waves with jet skis. Jet skis are used because the rough waters prevent paddling out to the waves of interest.

Be aware that the locals can be somewhat territorial, so be extra respectful when surfing in a new area. Only paddle out where you’ve seen others go. At some spots, it’s dangerous to enter and exit the waters, so learn from others. Maui is the windy island; you want to get out before the wind kicks in at 10 a.m.