Hawaii Surfing

Surf in Hawaii – Where to paddle out, lessons & more

Early Hawaiians called surfing “hee nalu,” which literally translates to “wave sliding.” Video by Hawaii

The exact origin of surfing is unknown, but most historians believe that the Polynesians were already well versed in the sport by the time they migrated to the Hawaiian Islands some 2,000 years ago. During this time, only high-ranking alii had access to the best surf spots. King Kamehameha himself was said to be an avid and skilled surfer.

Where to Paddle Out

For experienced surfers, check out our favorite surfing beaches. For those visiting during the winter months, you’ll want to hit the North and West shores. During the summer the South shore is the spot.

Please, be respectful of the locals and the ocean. And be safe: choose a suitable surf spot for your skill level, always be aware of current conditions, and never paddle out alone. More

Learn to Surf

Ask any surfer, and he (or she) will tell you that surfing is exhilarating, a natural high. “I love the sensation of riding a wave and the feeling I have when I’m out on the ocean,” says Hans Hedemann, a former pro-surfer-turned-surfing instructor. “It’s also a challenge because every wave is different, and it’s up to me to make the most of each wave.” More

North Shore, Oahu

Thanks to a number of modern innovations and inventions, the surfing population on the North Shore has exploded. Wave riders and spectators from around the world gather here from November to February, hoping to catch that perfect wave. Winter wave heights can get as high 20 feet, with faces up to 50 feet! This extreme surf is for experts only, and even then conditions are considered highly dangerous. More

Rise to Popularity

Surfing really took off in the early 1900s. Riding boards made mostly from hewn redwood and balsa wood, early surfers risked their lives to take on these giant waves.

Andy Irons (R.I.P.) tells us his experiences learning to surf, and the feeling surfing provides that got him hooked. Video by Surfing2Go