The Big Island is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands and because of this has fewer beaches and surf spots than the other islands. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t surf on the Big Island!
Our Big Island surfing guide is split into the following chapters:
Table of contents
Table of Contents
- Good local surf rentals & surf classes
- 4 Popular Big Island surf spots
- Surfing safety tips
Hawaii is the place of birth of surfing as we know it and in our humble opinion still is one of the best countries in the world to surf. Originally surfing here was a royal sport, only practiced by the ancient Hawaiian monarchs. Nowadays, everyone can enjoy surfing.
Big Island surf classes and rentals
The Big Island offers surfing for all levels. If you have never experienced the feeling of riding a wave, why not sign up for a 2 hour surfing class at one of our local surf companies? Depending on how much you pay you can get a private class or be taught as part of a small group. In general small groups are great for beginners while the private sessions are more for people that already know a bit how to surf and want to improve their skills.
Most surf schools and beginner surf spots can be found on the Kona (west) side of the Big Island.
Surf rentals and classes in Kona
Located just 5 miles south of the Kona pier, Kahaluʻu Bay is the best beginner surf spot close to Kona (it is also great for snorkeling!). Kahaluʻu Surf and Sea (see below) has been operating on this spot for over 25 years, and is the place to go for board rentals and surf classes close to Kona:
Surf Lessons in Kona
Learn to surf with a small group 2-hour session. Friendly and professional surf instructors will have you riding the waves in just minutes, with lessons matched to your skill level
Duration: 2 hours
Free cancellation: up to 48 hours before tour
If you are staying in the Kohala resort area, you could check out Mauna Lani Sea Adventures (website). Lessons are first-come-first-serve and depend on the surf conditions for the day. Call them the morning you would like to go to check availability.
Surf rentals and classes in Hilo
Popular surf spots on the Big Island
The most important thing you can do to find a good surf spot is looking up the local conditions, which can change on a daily basis! Finding a good spot depends on ever changing local conditions that influence the quality of the waves such as the wind- and swell direction. You can find an up-to-date surf report from the local newspaper or look it up online.
having said that, some places are often better than others. These would be good spots to keep an eye on:
- Kahaluʻu (in Kona) is a good place for surfing and a GREAT spot for snorkeling. This bay is a good place for beginners and you can also get surf classes and rent surfboard at the bay. Kahaluʻu surf forecast.
- Banyans (in Kona) is a popular surf spot a few miles from downtown Kona. This is a local spot and only for experienced surfers. Read more about Banyans on the MagicSeaWeed website.
- Honoliʻi (in Hilo) is a local spot just outside Hilo. This is a local spot at a river mouth with sharp rocks around so please take care of yourself and respect the locals (Honoliʻi surf report).
- Pine Trees (just north of Kona) has an exposed reef break that has very consistent surf and works all around the year. It can get crowded here so, like for all spots, please respect all other people in the water and be on your best guest behavior (Pine Trees surf guide).
If you are not the only one out in the water please remember that you are a guest and show the proper respect to people that think of the break as their own local spot. Following surf etiquette is a good place to start and when in doubt, let the wave for the other person.
Have a look at the following video to see video footage of 12 Surf Spots on the Big Island:
Surfing Safety Tips
- Respect the Ocean! Surfing is a sport that claims casualties, so be sure to only put yourself in situations where you are still in control.
- Be aware of the currents. Never go surfing alone.
- Use plenty of sunscreen. The sunlight reflected of the water and the constant cooling effect of the ocean make it easy to forget you are burning.
- Mind the underwater sea life. Sea urchins and coral often hide under the water surface.
- Respect the locals! The most important rule when surfing is to not get in any one’s way. The person closest to the peak of the wave has the “right” to surf that wave. Having said that, 99% of the locals are very friendly in the water if you surf with respect and stick to spots that you can handle. Read more about surf etiquette.