Kauai Surf Spots

Fifty miles of white sandy beaches and trade winds all year long
characterize the island of Kauai, also known as “The Garden Isle.”
Featured in the movie “South Pacific” and known for its amazing mountain
scenery, Kauai is loaded with surfing spots, many of which are secret. All of
the beaches on Kauai are public. Even the beaches that are privatized by a hotel are still accessible via public walkways, so you can feel free to explore as much as you want.

May through October, the South Shore provides consistent swells that work for all skill levels. One of the more popular spots is Poipu Beach, and a good beginner wave is called Lemon Drops, too slow for experienced surfers but perfect to learn on. Located in front of the Prince Kuhio condominiums is PK’s, a good all-around wave with a relatively easy take-off. Located nearby are Acid Drop and Heroins, two spots for experienced surfers only. On the southeastern shoreline is Kalapaki Beach at the Nawiliwili Harbor, a shallow left and right sandbar break with an easy paddle-out that attracts a lot of beginners and bodyboarders, with the more experienced surfers at Ammonias on the outside. Also on the east coast is Kealia Beach, also popular with both surfers and bodyboarders in the summer. On the west side is Pakala, a left point break that can get really long.

On the North Shore, surfing is best during the winter months. Experienced surfers flock to spots like Hanalei Bay, which offers about two miles of sandy coastline. At Hanalei Pier, the waves roll in gently for beginners, and it’s considered a right of passage for young locals to jump off the Pier as soon as they are brave enough. Other North Shore spots include Cannons, which can get really big and is thought by some to be the Kauai Pipeline, and Kalihiwai Point, an epic right point break located off the beaten path.

There are some potential hazards when surfing on Kauai’s beaches, as is the case with all the Hawaiian Islands. The waves are known to come in sets, and a calm period of 20 minutes can be followed by a sudden, intense and possibly dangerous wave. Also, the currents can be really strong. If you’re caught in a riptide, conserve your energy, don't try to fight it, and wave for help. Kauai has the highest drowning rate of all the Hawaiian Islands, so practice caution: use the buddy system, follow posted warnings, and "when in doubt, don’t go out." Last but not least, be respectful to the locals.

Find a Kauai surf school.

North Shore Kaui Surf Breaks


North Shore - Hanalei Bay

Surf Location At Hanalei Pier
Best Swell Direction Northwest, West
Best Tide All
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Winter
Wave Quality Epic right-hander. Near the pier is also a good place for beginners. Postcard scenery goes with this high-quality wave.
The Surfers Can get very crowded and localized in some places.
Boards Longboard and shortboard
Paddle Out Fair to difficult depending on the swell
Skill Level Experienced and up
Bottom Reef with sand
Watch Out For... Sharp coral and rocks, localism
Water Condition Clean

Hanalei Bay, Kauai - Surf Video

 

 

North Shore - Waikokos

Surf Location Across from the Hanalei Bay surf area just off the main highway
Best Swell Direction North, Northwest, Northeast
Best Tide Incoming tide
Best Wind Direction Southwest, South, Southeast
Best Surf Season Winter
Wave Quality A fast, powerful and ledgey right and left reef break
The Surfers Crowded at times with locals and tourists
Boards Depends on size, but shortboards prevail
Paddle Out Long paddle-out through Hanalei Bay or straight out to the break with help from the current...mind the reef
Skill Level Experienced and up
Bottom Reef with sand
Watch Out For... Sharp rocks, sea urchins, riptide and undertow
Water Condition Clean
 

North Shore – Waiohai Beach

Surf Location In front of the Waiohai Hotel
Best Swell Direction South, Southeast
Best Tide Mid to High
Best Wind Direction West
Best Surf Season June-September (Summer)
Wave Quality Easy and gentle rights and lefts
The Surfers Pretty mellow vibe
Boards Short or long boards
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Beginner
Bottom Reef
Watch Out For... Crowds and localism
Water Condition Clean

South Shore Kaui Surf Breaks


South Shore – Lemon Drops

Surf Location Just down the beach from Brennecke’s Beach past the rock outcrop
Best Swell Direction South, Southeast
Best Tide All
Best Wind Direction Northwest, West
Best Surf Season Summer months
Wave Quality Easy rollers, great spot for beginners
The Surfers Good place to learn to surf, without the crowds and serious beatings of larger more critical waves
Boards Short and long boards
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Beginners
Bottom Sandy with some rocks
Watch Out For... Jellyfish, sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

South Shore – PK’s (Prince Kuhio’s)

Surf Location On the south side, directly in front of the Beach House Restaurant
Best Swell Direction Southwest, South, Southeast
Best Tide All
Best Wind Direction Anything out of the North
Best Surf Season June-September (Summer)
Wave Quality A fun right and left reef break, normally short
The Surfers A good mix of locals and tourists. A good break for all levels of surfers.
Boards Short and long boards
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level All
Bottom Reef with rock
Watch Out For... Sharp rocks, riptide and undertow, sea urchins
Water Condition Clean
 

South Shore – Acid Drop

Surf Location On the south side, take a left at the Koloa stop and another left to Poipu. After about a mile, take another left to Lawai Beach Resort.
Best Swell Direction Southwest, South, Southeast
Best Tide Mid-tide
Best Wind Direction North, East, Northeast
Best Surf Season June-September (Summer)
Wave Quality A hollow, fast, powerful and ledgey right and left reef break. As the name implies, the take-off is steep, and the reward is hollow and fast.
The Surfers Semi-crowded with experienced locals
Boards Shortboard
Paddle Out Long paddle
Skill Level Experienced and up
Bottom Reef with rock
Watch Out For... Sharp rocks, sea urchins, riptide and undertow, sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

South Shore - Kekuiula Harbour

Surf Location Kekuiula Harbour right next to the jetty/breakwater
Best Swell Direction South, Southeast
Best Tide Mid to High
Best Wind Direction Northwest, West
Best Surf Season June-September (Summer)
Wave Quality Hollow right-breaking wave with a soft left-hander. Good spot for beginners and intermediate surfers.
The Surfers Mellow vibe
Boards Short and long boards
Paddle Out Easy to moderate depending on size
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Reef, rock, and sand
Watch Out For... Urchins, crowds; look out for the inside reef on the right hander
Water Condition Clean
 

South Shore – Salt Pond

Surf Location On the most southern part of Kauai, near the Port Allen Harbor
Best Swell Direction South
Best Tide Mid to High
Best Wind Direction North, Northwest
Best Surf Season June-September (Summer)
Wave Quality Long and reeling right-hander. Can get good when overhead and offshore.
The Surfers Locals and tourists. The inside is a family-oriented area with lots of snorkelers and body boarders.
Boards Shortboards, and longboards on smaller days
Paddle Out Long paddl,e as this wave breaks about 1000 yds out
Skill Level Beginner to Intermediate
Bottom Sand and reef
Watch Out For... Urchins, other surfers
Water Condition Clear and clean

 

 

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