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.
North Shore Kaui Surf Breaks
South Shore Kaui Surf Breaks