Surfing in Honolulu: 12 Best Surf Spots and Schools to go Surfing in Honolulu 

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii has dozens of beautiful beaches, famous white sand shores and magnificent waves that attracts local surfers and beachgoers from across the world. The iconic crescent beaches are perfect for catching waves throughout the year. If you are an amateur looking to learn some surfing over the summer holidays or you have years of surfing under your belt, read on for some of the best surf spots and surf schools in Honolulu!

Best Season for Surfing in Honolulu

surfing in Honolulu
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Weather in Winter(November to March): Water Temperature: 72-80 °F (22-26 °C)
Weather in Summer (April to October): Water Temperature: 72-82 °F (22-27 °C)
One of the most popular and sought after surfing destinations in the world, Honolulu has the perfect weather for surfing throughout the year. The crescent-shaped shorelines combined with the reef bed protect novices from rough weather conditions and large swells. However, if you are an intermediate or advanced surfer, the winter months between September and February sees big and powerful waves, perfect for a challenging surf. If you want to leisurely surf or just want to try your hand at the sport, the warm crystal clear waters of the summer months is the best time for you. 

Surfing in Honolulu is a year-long activity, head over to the Northern shores for strong waves and the southern shores in Waikiki for a relaxed surfing experience. 

Cost of Surfing in Honolulu

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The prices for Surfing lessons vary, but on average a one hour surf lesson for an individual in a group class can cost anywhere between USD 40 to USD 80. Private or One on One surf lessons start at USD 100 and can go up to USD 175 per person but is worth the cost if you really want to learn the sport from experts.

Top 12 Spots for Surfing in Honolulu

A. Surf Beaches in Honolulu

1. Ala Moana Bowls

Ala Moana Bowls
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One of the most sought after surf spot in Honolulu, Ala Moana Bowls has large southerly swells and a perfect left-hand wave that brings thousands of tourists and locals to this beach. While waves are typically waist high, they can reach up to 3.5m in the monsoon or winter seasons. Conveniently located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, Ala Moana Bowls on Magic Island has waves for surfers of all skill levels!
Address: 1240 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96814

2. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach
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Sunset Beach is the ultimate test of a surfer’s ability. With big waves reaching up to 10 feet high, offshore breeze and reefs formation, it is not recommended for beginners. To this day it hosts the annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Honolulu where surfers from across the world compete in challenging currents. The beautiful golden shores, however, make for an excellent spectator spot!
Address: Sunset Beach Park Pupukea, HI 96712, United States

3. Banzai Pipeline

Banzai Pipeline
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If you are an experienced surfer up for a challenge, the deadly waters of the Banzai Pipeline are for you! Located on Oahu’s northern shore, this surf reef break found off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea. With waves sometimes reaching 20 feet, the barreling waves of Banzai Pipeline are legendary and bring surfers from across the world. You can also watch the final leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing contest here! 
Address: 59-473 Ke Waena Road, North Shore, Haleiwa, Hawaii, 96712, USA

4. Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach
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At the base of Koko Crater is one of Honolulu’s most popular beaches for bodysurfing, fishing, windsurfing and bodyboarding. Strong rip currents frequent the shores of Sandy Beach due to the changes in the ocean floor making it a rather difficult surf spot in Honolulu. Beginners are advised to stick to surfing in the summer months when the waves are mild but advanced surfers can enjoy the big waves throughout the year! 
Address: Honolulu, Hawaii, 96825, USA

5. Kewalos

Kewalos
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Kewalos hosts the annual Quiksilver Surf Shop Challenge and is a beautiful beach off Diamond Head in Ala Moana for beginner to intermediate surfers. Small to moderate southerly swells provide beautiful barrels to surf with waves rarely reaching above 6 feet. This picturesque beach is also perfect for catching slightly bigger waves on windy days and is relatively safe but a tad crowded during weekends. 
Address: 1125 Ala Moana Boulevard, Kaka'ako, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96814, USA

6. Queens Beach

Queens Beach
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A great spot for snorkelling around the reefs near the Waikiki aquarium, Queens beach is the place to be if you’re planning to go surfing with kids! Apart from surfing, you can try bodyboarding or watch colourful fish at this Marine conservatory! Plan to schedule your surf in the evenings and watch free outdoor movies along with music and food starting at 5:00 PM on weekends! 
Address: Diamond Head / Kapahulu / St. Louis Heights, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA

7. Tonggs Beach

Tonggs Beach
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A hidden strip of shoreline close to Diamond Head at Kalakaua Avenue, Tonggs beach is perfect for novices looking for small and easy waves as well as some quiet away from the swarthes of tourists in the more popular beaches. Surfing in Honolulu does not get more picturesque than this. With ample space and small waves that don’t cross 3 feet, Tonggs beach is best surfed in spring!
Address: Kalakaua Avenue, Diamond Head / Kapahulu / St. Louis Heights, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA

B. Best Surf Schools in Honolulu

8. Sparky’s Surf School 

Sparky’s surf school
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One of the most popular places to learn surfing in Honolulu, Sparky’s surf school has great packages on offer for private lessons, semi-private, group as well as couples surf lessons. A true Hawaiian, Sparky is a certified surf instructor with over 40 years of surfing experience who specializes in teaching teens and young adults who have never surfed before. They also offer great photo packages!
Address: Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
Timings: Monday to Sunday 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM 
Cost: USD 80- USD 110

9. Hawaii Surfing Academy 

Hawaii Surfing Academy
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The Hawaii Surfing Academy operated in Waikiki and the North Shore and teaches surfing in Honolulu for beginners in private, group and semi-private lesson packages. They also run Island Tours which include surfing and snorkelling! Their lessons are affordable and one of the best schools to learn surfing in Oahu. They also offer free photos and videos along with surfing/tours events. 
Address: Haleiwa Beach Park War Memorial; 62-490 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Timings: Monday to Sunday 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM 
Cost: Private 2 hours- USD 100/person
Group lessons(3 to 10 people) 2 hours- USD 150 to USD 500 group rates 

10. Polu Lani Surf Lessons & Adventures

Polu Lani Surf Lessons & Adventures
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With a low student to teacher ratio, Polu Lani Surf is a small business that offers private and small group lessons to children and adults! Snacks, water and Photos are covered in the hourly rates and instructors teach at less crowded beaches to ensure safe and interesting lessons! They also provide all gear and equipment including leashes and surfboards, so if you are an absolute beginner, this is the place to be!
Address: 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States
Timings: Monday to Saturday 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM 

11. Hook up Surfing 

 Hook up Surfing
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Hook up surfing is the perfect place for intermediate surfers to hone their skills as well as beginners to try out the sport. With highly trained and lifeguard certified surf instructors, you are in the safest hands! They host lessons on less crowded beaches in Waikiki and all over Oahu and also teach fun swerves and moves to take your surfing experience to the next level! 
Address: Kalia Rd & Saratoga Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Timings: Sunday to Friday
Cost: 2 Hour Private Lesson: USD 180/Person
2 Hour Semi-Private Lesson: USD 145/Person
Beach tours plus surfing: Between USD 200-300
Groups of 10 Surfing:  USD 1100-1300

12. Ohana Surf Project 

Ohana Surf Project
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The instructors at Ohana Surf Project are experienced pros who teach surfing in Honolulu to all skill levels and all ages. They also offer lessons on stand up paddling and bodyboarding and lessons ranging from 60-minute beginners to 2.5-hour private pro lessons! You can also rent equipment at affordable prices at their office!
Address: 2699 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
Timings: Monday to Sunday: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Cost: Group lessons between USD 69- USD 99 
Private Lessons between USD 120- USD 175

Gear and Equipment Requirements

surf gear
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If you’re in Honolulu only for a short period of time, maybe just a quick one week vacation, you don’t have to buy any surf equipment at all! Just walk into one of the many surf schools in Waikiki and rent out all the necessary gear. However, if you are serious about exploring surfing in Honolulu, then these are the main equipment you need! 

1. Surfboard

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The most obvious and important piece of equipment is your surfboard and buying the perfect one for your experience level is crucial. If you’re a beginner, buy a larger surfboard to help you balance better. Check out some second-hand options or rent out a surfboard if you want cheaper options

2. Fins

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Fins are more of an add on to your surfboard which increases your stability in the ocean. While it is not an essential gear, it is useful for first-time surfers or experienced surfers looking to try stunts. 

3. Surf Wax 

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Invest in good but inexpensive surf wax to prevent slipping on the board. The surf wax helps you maintain a grip while riding the waves

4. Earplugs

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 Buy some good waterproof earplugs while surfing in cold waters to prevent ear infections or hearing-related issues. 

5. Wetsuit 

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While Honolulu’s moderate weather means you can do without a wetsuit, you can rent one or buy an affordable one if you are visiting in the winter. 

6. Leash

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 If you don’t have much experience surfing, buying a leash can potentially save your life. They are quite inexpensive and easily available. Look for leashes with long cords and one or two bearing swivels so that you don’t hit yourself on the surfboard if you fall off. 

7. Sunscreen

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Protecting your skin from the summer sun is equally important! Don’t forget to wear some sunscreen before you head out to conquer the waves! 

Riding the waves in the turquoise blue waters of Honolulu, Oahu is a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t forget to add Surfing in Honolulu to your itinerary to make the most of your Hawaiian vacation!

This post was published by Anupama Manjunath

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