Surfing is one of the most popular water sports in the world, and the Big Island of Hawaii is the perfect place to catch some serious waves. With its warm climate, picturesque beaches, and reliable swells, the Big Island is a paradise for surfers. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just starting, this guide will provide all the information you need to explore Big Island surfing. From the best locations to getting all the gear you need, this article has you covered.
The History Of Big Island Surfing
Surfing on the Big Island of Hawaii has a long and vibrant history. This ancient practice goes back hundreds of years, as Hawaiians paddled on their canoes to ride the waves. Throughout its history, surfing has been an integral part of Hawaiian culture, from its humble beginnings in the 19th century to its popularity.
In addition to being a pastime for locals and beachgoers alike, the sport is deeply rooted in Hawaiian mythology. In fact, Hawaiian people looked upon the ocean like a god. Along the shore, there were shrines for surfing known as a heiau. These stone structures were set up to pray for the waves, praise them, and observe surfers competing.
Today, the sport is still prevalent in Hawaii, and it is not uncommon to find hundreds of locals and visitors gathering on the beaches to try their hand at taking on the waves, just as people did hundreds of years ago.
The Gear You Need For Surfing In Hawaii
Surfing in Hawaii is the ultimate experience and something that many people dream of doing. With so much to consider before taking on the waves, it’s important to ensure you have the right gear for an unforgettable and safe trip. The most important items you need include a surfboard, wetsuit, sunscreen, and leash.
When choosing a surfboard, it’s best to pick something that fits your skill level and current weather conditions. For beginners, longer boards with more volume are ideal because they provide extra stability when catching waves. Regarding wetsuits, depending on the time of year you plan on surfing in Hawaii will determine if you need a short or full-length suit for additional warmth.
The last two things you need are simple but important that you don’t forget! A leash is a must-have to prevent your surfboard from floating away, and sunscreen is absolutely necessary to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Once you have these four needed items, you’re ready to go out and catch some waves!
The Best Big Island Surf Spots
To those who have never really spent time surfing, it might seem like you can go out and catch waves virtually anywhere. Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly the case. So, where can you go to catch the best waves on the Big Island? Here are some amazing locations:
Kahalu’u, located on the western side of Hawaii’s Big Island, is a surfer’s paradise. With its calm waters and consistent waves, Kahalu’u Beach Park is one of the most popular surfing spots on the island. Many visitors flock to this beach for its spectacular views and ideal surf conditions.
Kahalu’u provides an inviting atmosphere for all surfers, from beginners to professionals. Novice surfers can take advantage of gentle waves and shallow water, creating a perfect environment for learning how to ride the waves easily. Experienced surfers will find plenty of challenges in larger swells and various potential tricks in the shore break area.
Another spot on the western side, Honoli’i, is a popular spot for avid surfers worldwide. The pristine shoreline, crystal clear waters, and consistent swell make it an ideal destination for any surfer looking to catch some waves. The waves at Honolii can be enjoyed by all levels of surfers – novice or experienced. Beginners will appreciate its longboard-friendly waves, while more advanced surfers may enjoy its high walls and fast barrels.
In addition to being a great place for surfing, Honoli’i also offers numerous other attractions, such as snorkeling and kayaking. Its white-sand beach stretches along several miles providing plenty of room to accommodate large groups. Visitors can explore nearby tidepools with colorful marine life or stroll through tropical gardens filled with exotic plants and flowers.
Lyman’s is a popular surf spot for locals and tourists alike on the Big Island of Hawaii. Located just south of Holualoa, Lyman’s offers some of the best surfing conditions for swells up to 10 feet. The waters at this picturesque beach are known for their crystal-clear turquoise blue waters, pristine white sand beaches, and beautiful sights to behold.
Although this spot is probably better for those with a bit of surfing experience, anyone can enjoy the beach here. For those interested in diving or snorkeling, there is plenty of underwater life to explore and observe. And if you are up for surfing, you can expect some large winter swells that create a long break across the bay.
Kohanaiki Beach Park (Pine Trees)
Kohanaiki Beach Park, often locally known as Pine Trees, is home to one of the most popular and predictable surfing sites in Kona and the big island. Sandy waters make it an ideal location for beginners, while multiple surf conditions are available for more skilled surfers. Commercial surf lessons are not offered here, so it is recommended that you have at least some basic surfing experience.
But if you have the ability, you will find the conditions here very friendly. The beach break offers left- and right-hand waves, so you can pick the one you feel more comfortable with! It is an entirely exposed reef break that has consistent surf and works throughout the year.
Safety Tips For Big Island Surfing
It’s important to remember that while the waves can offer amazing rides, they also come with inherent dangers. Before you head out into the surf, take a moment to review these safety tips for Big Island surfing. First and foremost, always use common sense and stay aware of your surroundings. Take notice of the currents and tides in each location before entering the water.
It is also a good idea to arrive early and scout out the various breaks to determine which will be the best for your level of surfing. Beware of strong currents and undertows, as well as rocks and coral, when entering or exiting the water. And finally, respect the ocean and never turn your back on the waves, especially if you are out in deeper water.
Enjoy The Amazing Experience Of Big Island Surfing!
For those looking to go big island surfing, the four spots listed above are some of the best on the island, but there are other places to surf. Just be sure you know where you are going, and when in doubt, ask a local. And if you have never tried surfing before, starting with a professional instructor or group is best to avoid injury. But as long as you take all the necessary precautions, big island surfing is an amazing experience!