Waikiki Surf Lessons

Learning to Surf in Waikiki, where it all began.

The Beachboys of Waikiki are a renowned group of Hawaiian watermen who began gave surf lessons on the beaches of Waikiki from the 1920s until the 1950s. Today, Hawaii surf lessons are available on the same beaches that legendary Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku once frequented.

Koa Rothman gives surf lessons in Waikiki

If Tara can catch a wave on her first surf lesson, so can you.

At the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach, the surf instructor leans over and assures his trio of young students. “The faster you paddle, the more speed you’ll have when you catch that wave,” he tells them. “And once you have that speed, it creates stability with your surfboard, and then you’ll get going really good. Okay?”

Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for periodic free lessons that may be offered. Also, some Waikiki hotels and resorts offer free lessons for their guests.

Tara shifts her eyes back and forth, from her instructor to the ocean to her instructor again. It’s a warm summer day and the sun is beating down pretty hard. The water is looking especially tempting…

Moments later, Tara is belly-down on her bright blue surfboard on the sand, learning her “pop-up” skills. “What you do is paddle, paddle, paddle—and then you put your hands on the board like this and jump to your feet,” says his instructor. Tara nods and gives it a try. Paddle, paddle, paddle…BOOM! She suddenly springs up and lands squarely on the board.

“Hey, that’s good!” says the instructor. “Only, you need to bend your knees just a little…”