Surfing in Kauai
Hawaii surfing is among the best in the world – and Kauai surfing is the best in Hawaii!
World famous surf spots just minutes from our Kauai vacation rentals.
Kauai is home to some world-class surfing beaches…from Tunnels on the North shore to Pakala on the West side, and points in between. The winter surf on the North shore can be monstrously big, and proves challenging even for the most experienced surfers, who come from around the world to ride our waves. The information on this page is not aimed at expert surfers, but for those of you who have never tried it before and are curious to give it a try, or for the vacation hobby surfer who prefers more moderate wave action. Don’t forget to check the surf report before you hit the waves, pick one of the lifeguarded beaches, and familiarize yourself with good beach safety practices.
Kauai Surf Spots
Suitable For All Experience Levels
Hanalei Bay (North Shore)
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world! The soft sandy bottom means there’s no reef to fall on when you take a tumble. Waves are generally small to moderate in size, but winter weather conditions may mean large waves so you’ll want to check conditions carefully before paddling out during the winter months. This is a common spot for surf schools to operate.
Anahola Bay (North End of East Shore)
Anahola Bay sports a large protective outer reef. Wave break first on the reef, so the surf inside the reef remains smaller and weaker. Friends or family won’t mind hanging with you here while you surf. It’s a gorgeous beach, there’s plenty of shade, picnic tables are available, and camping facilities are available.
Kealia Beach (East Shore)
Accessible from the paved Kapa’a Coastal Path…walk or bike if you don’t feel like getting in the car. IMPORTANT NOTE: Surf here can be dangerous, particularly in the winter months, and strong currents are present at all times. WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT. Beginners should stick to the north end of the beach where the waves are smaller.
Kalapaki Beach (East Shore)
Kalapaki Beach is protected by land outcroppings on either end. This creates gentle, protected conditions year-round. Waves are modestly sized, break nicely, it’s a perfect learner’s environment. You’ll find both surfing schools and surf board rentals offering their services here. And when you’re done in the water, you can enjoy strolling the fun and funky shops or grab a bite to eat at Duke’s!
Kiahuna Beach (South Shore)
Kiahuna Beach is a section of Poipu Beach located in front of the Kiahuna Plantation condominiums. Experienced surfers will enjoy the bigger break outside the reef. Beginners should stay close to shore where the water is calmer. If you plan to hang out once you’re through in the water, you’ll want to bring an umbrella as there’s no shade.
You’ll find there’s one close to any of our Kauai vacation rentals
Our concierge, Jeannie Ricciardi, teaches private surfing lessons on the north shore of Kauai. Children and adults both are welcome. Her contact information will also be in your arrival instructions, should you wish to arrange for pre-arrival shopping, surprise honeymoon gifts, etc.
Hanalei Surf School (North Shore in Hanalei): Private lessons only, for 1 – 4 people. Lessons are 90 minutes long and include all necessary equipment. Rates range from $160 for an individual to $300 for a group of four. You’ll learn in the usually gentle waters of Hanalei Bay.
Poipu Beach Surf School (South Shore in Koloa): Group lessons, class size up to 8, with a maximum of 4 students per instructor. Private lessons available. Offering beginning, intermediate, and expert lessons. Lessons are 90 minutes and range from $75 for a group class to $200 for a private lesson.
Kauai Beach Boys (East Shore in Lihue): Lessons are held at Kalapaki Beach and anyone 6 years and older is welcome. Prices range from $85 for one to $500 for a group of 6.