You are currently viewing Top Surf Spots in Waikiki: A Surfer’s Guide

Top Surf Spots in Waikiki: A Surfer’s Guide

  • Post category:Hawaii

Waikiki, located on the south shore of Oahu, Hawaii, is a world-renowned destination for surfers of all levels. With its warm waters, consistent waves, and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that Waikiki has become a surfing paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, Waikiki offers a variety of surf spots that cater to every skill level. In this guide, we’ll explore the top surf spots in Waikiki, providing you with all the information you need to plan your next surfing adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Waikiki offers a diverse range of surf spots suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.
  • Queens is one of the most popular surf spots in Waikiki, known for its consistent waves and vibrant surfing community.
  • Canoes is an excellent spot for beginners, offering gentle waves and a friendly atmosphere.
  • Ala Moana Bowls is a favorite among experienced surfers, featuring powerful waves and challenging conditions.
  • Diamond Head provides a unique surfing experience with its scenic backdrop and less crowded waves.

1. Queens

Located in front of Queen Lili’uokalani’s beach home, Queens was named in the early 1900s and breaks just east of where the Duke Kahanamoku statue stands today. A shapely right-hander with a short left on occasion, Queens has become the de facto center of traditional logging in Waikiki, and is the home break of some of Hawaii’s best longboarders. If you are looking to maximize your noseriding time or simply partake in a bit of surfing history, Queens is the place to do it.

Typically, a longboarder’s paradise, Queens sits east of Kuhio Beach Park in the center of Waikiki, right near the towering beachside resorts of Waikiki Beach. It is a long right with shorter lefts and usually has a mellow face that is rideable for hundreds of feet into the bay.

2. Canoes

seashore scenery

Canoes is named for the ever-present outrigger canoes that frequently barrel through the lineup. This spot is the most crowded at Waikiki Beach, largely because it is so soft and user-friendly. Expect to see hundreds of beginners on rental boards, plus SUPs, catamarans, and of course, canoes in the lineup. It is a long right with shorter lefts and usually has a mellow face that is rideable for hundreds of feet into the bay.

The best swell direction is southeast and southwest, with the wind blowing offshore from the northwest or east. It will be crowded, and watch out for flying boards; it isn’t uncommon for surfers to hit each other.

Highlights

  • Crowded Lineup: Expect a mix of beginners, SUPs, catamarans, and canoes.
  • Mellow Face: Rideable for hundreds of feet into the bay.
  • Best Swell Direction: Southeast and southwest.
  • Wind Direction: Offshore from the northwest or east.

Safety Tips

  • Be cautious of flying boards.
  • Watch out for other surfers to avoid collisions.

3. Pops

ocean waves during daytime

Pops, short for Populars, earned its name due to its immense popularity among surfers. This spot is located outside of Canoes, requiring a relatively long paddle to reach. The wave at Pops breaks over sand and is a right-hander that flows into a channel. Despite its popularity, Pops tends to be less crowded than other nearby surf spots, thanks to the effort required to paddle out. The wave shape is similar to Queens but a bit softer, making it a great spot for those looking to catch some of the longest rights on the island without the heavy crowd.

For those willing to make the long paddle, Pops offers a rewarding experience with some of the best waves on the South Shore.

4. Threes

blue boat on sand near body of water during daytime

Threes, the third recognized wave in Waikiki, is a perfect right-hander breaking into a semi-channel located to the east of Kaiser’s. Popular with both noseriders and shortboarders, Threes is one of the better waves in the region, offering almondy barrels when the swell gets into the head-high range. It is also noteworthy for having been featured in the classic surf film Endless Summer. The best swell direction is south-southeast, and the wind is blowing offshore from the north. It can get quite crowded, as many breaks in Waikiki succumb to. Right in front of The Pier near the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, it’s a decently welcoming wave when it isn’t pumping. If you are lucky enough to come out of a tube, you will likely have a mellow paddle back out to the lineup, thanks to the channel at the end of the wave.

5. Kaisers

Kaisers is a renowned surf spot in Waikiki, known for its powerful and fast-moving waves. Hawaiian waves, even during small conditions, can be some of the most powerful waves on the planet. This is due to the lack of a continental shelf, which means waves move extremely fast from deep water to the shallow shore. Kaisers is particularly popular among experienced surfers who are looking for a thrilling ride. The wave breaks to the right and offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for those who can handle its intensity. It’s located just west of Threes, another famous surf spot in the area.

6. Ala Moana Bowls

man surfing during daytime

Ala Moana Bowls is a high-performance wave located to the right of the jetty off of the Magic Island Lagoon. This spot is known for its fast, hollow lefts that can be quite challenging, making it ideal for experienced surfers. Holds best on south-southeast swells and west offshore winds, Ala Moana Bowls can get crowded, so timing your session is crucial. The wave is best when it’s chest high to double overhead, offering a thrilling ride for those who can handle its power. The shallow reef break adds an extra layer of excitement, but also requires caution to avoid dings and injuries.

7. Rockpiles

Rockpiles is a hollow, ledgy, and powerful right and left reef break located on the North Shore of Oahu. This spot is known for its challenging waves, making it a favorite among experienced surfers. The break offers both right and left-hand waves, providing a versatile surfing experience. However, due to its powerful nature, it’s not recommended for beginners.

Best Time to Surf

The best time to surf at Rockpiles is during the winter months when the swells are more consistent and powerful. During this time, the waves can get quite large, offering thrilling rides for those up to the challenge.

Nearby Attractions

Rockpiles is conveniently located near other popular surf spots like Pipeline and Sunset Beach. This makes it easy to explore multiple surf spots in one trip. Additionally, the area is close to several stunning viewpoints like Lanikai Pillbox and Diamond Head Summit, perfect for a break from the waves.

Tips for Surfers

  • Always check the surf conditions before heading out.
  • Be aware of the reef and avoid stepping on it to protect both yourself and the environment.
  • Due to the powerful waves, it’s advisable to wear a helmet for added safety.

Rockpiles offers a thrilling and challenging surfing experience, making it a must-visit for seasoned surfers looking to test their skills on the North Shore of Oahu.

8. Publics

Publics is a favorite among longboarders and offers a more relaxed surfing experience compared to other spots in Waikiki. Located near the Honolulu Zoo, this break is known for its long, peeling lefts that are perfect for cruising. Publics is less crowded than some of the more popular spots, making it ideal for those looking to enjoy a more peaceful session. The wave quality is consistent, and it works best with a south swell. Publics is also a great spot for intermediate surfers who are looking to improve their skills without the pressure of a crowded lineup.

9. Diamond Head

Diamond Head is one of Waikiki’s most iconic surf spots, offering a unique experience for surfers of all levels. The waves here are consistent and can range from gentle rollers to more challenging swells, making it a versatile spot for both beginners and seasoned surfers. The panoramic views from Diamond Head are simply breathtaking, providing a stunning backdrop as you ride the waves. This spot is particularly popular during the Northern Hemisphere winter when the waves are at their best.

Quick Facts

  • Best time to surf: Northern Hemisphere winter
  • Wave type: Consistent, varying from gentle to challenging
  • Crowds: Can get busy, but there are quieter times
  • Amenities: Nearby parking, restrooms, and showers

For those looking to capture the perfect shot, Diamond Head offers some of Waikiki’s best photography spots, with its panoramic views and stunning sunsets.

10. Kewalos

Kewalos, also known as Kewalo Basin, is a popular surf spot located just west of Ala Moana Beach Park. This spot is well-known for its consistent waves and is a favorite among both locals and visitors. Kewalos offers a variety of waves suitable for different skill levels, making it an ideal location for surfers looking to improve their skills or simply enjoy a day on the water. The break is a reef break, which means it can get quite shallow, so it’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.

  • Wave Type: Reef break
  • Best Swell Direction: South, Southwest
  • Skill Level: All levels
  • Crowd Factor: Moderate to heavy
  • Hazards: Shallow reef, occasional strong currents

For those looking to explore Honolulu’s vibrant nightlife, Kewalos is conveniently located near top venues like Blue Note Hawaii and Hawaiian Brian’s. After a day of surfing, you can enjoy live music, unique activities, relaxing bars, and late-night dining at Roy’s Waikiki.

Kewalos is not just a surf spot; it’s a community. The camaraderie among surfers here is palpable, and the shared respect for the ocean and each other makes it a special place to catch waves.

If you’re planning a trip to Waikiki, don’t miss out on the chance to surf at Kewalos. It’s a spot that offers not just great waves but also a glimpse into the local surf culture.

Kewalos is a hidden gem that offers breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re looking to surf, relax, or explore, Kewalos has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on this incredible destination. For more information and to plan your perfect getaway, visit our website today!

Conclusion

Waikiki stands out as a premier surfing destination, offering a diverse range of surf spots that cater to all skill levels. From the gentle waves perfect for beginners at Queens to the more challenging breaks at Ala Moana Bowls and Kaisers, Waikiki has something for everyone. The area’s rich history, warm tropical climate, and vibrant local culture make it an ideal spot for surfers looking to catch the perfect wave. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Waikiki’s surf scene promises an unforgettable experience. So grab your board, respect the local surf etiquette, and dive into the waves of Waikiki for an adventure of a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to surf in Waikiki?

The best time to surf in Waikiki is during the summer months (June to August) when the waves are more consistent and the weather is warm. However, Waikiki offers surfable waves year-round.

Are there surf spots in Waikiki suitable for beginners?

Yes, Waikiki has several surf spots that are ideal for beginners, such as Queens and Canoes. These spots have gentle, rolling waves that are perfect for learning how to surf.

Do I need to bring my own surfboard to Waikiki?

You don’t need to bring your own surfboard to Waikiki. There are plenty of surf shops and rental places where you can rent a board for a few hours or even a few days.

Are there surf schools or instructors available in Waikiki?

Yes, there are many surf schools and instructors available in Waikiki. They offer lessons for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.

What should I be aware of when surfing in Waikiki?

When surfing in Waikiki, it’s important to be aware of the local surf etiquette, respect the lineup, and be cautious of the reef and other surfers. Always check the surf conditions before heading out.

Can I surf at Waikiki if I am not a strong swimmer?

It’s recommended to have basic swimming skills if you plan to surf in Waikiki. If you’re not a strong swimmer, consider taking a lesson with an instructor who can provide guidance and ensure your safety.