Top Surfing Locations


Lahaina is one of the top surfing spots in Maui. The area houses some of the top surfing schools in Maui, and that should say a lot about the historic town. Lahaina used to be called Lele, a Hawaiian word that means “relentless sun”, which makes the place sound ideal for outdoorsy activities – and it is.

It is an idyllic place that does not only offer surfing but also fine restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops.

Brief Historical Background

In the early nineteenth century, Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Even then, the place has already established its importance. It was a whaling village during the mid-nineteenth century, an era that coincides with the one popularized and later on immortalized by the classic novel, Moby Dick. Herman Melville has, after all, set foot on Lahaina and was witness to Hawaii’s whaling activities.

As a town, Lahaina is the most visited in Maui, rivaling only the county’s beaches. However, the place can offer more than just beaches. This makes it a place worth visiting and spending some time in.

Lahaina Today

Today, Lahaina is no longer a whaling village but it offers a lot of contemporary people’s needs. Because the place is part of Hawaii, after all, one cannot help but think of surfing. Of course, whaling is not simply thrown into the past and left there. Whale-watching activities are still active in Lahaina and recommended to people who would rather sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

Benefits of Surfing in Lahaina

Puamana Beach County Park and Lahaina Harbor in the area are excellent sites for surfing – and for surfing schools. This is because the waves are suitable for surfers at the Beginners and Intermediate levels, although advanced level surfers can still take relaxing rides on. The consistency and regularity of the waves make learning a lot easier and more comfortable. So, top surfing schools have decided to make use of nearby areas. Puamana Beach County Park offers BBQ grills and picnic tables for eating and socializing well outdoors. Outdoor showers and portable toilets provide hygiene and convenience.

Much of the same can be said about Wahikuli State Park. The water is calm enough for swimming and snorkeling. People can also go over there for boogie boarding. However, this beach is not great for surfing because the waters are too calm. Elsewhere in Lahaina, there are enough waves to ensure great surfing.

Other Lahaina Offerings

Surfing in Lahaina also means being near various types of entertainment and activities. This means that visiting the place does not limit the person. Of course, there are also various restaurants that can tempt the senses. Fine dining is readily available, with not only sumptuous foods but also traditional Polynesian dances to entertain while visitors eat and drink.

Visitors should check popular dinner shows, such as Feast at Lele and Lahaina Luau. These shows will make a great Lahaina also offers an attractive backdrop of culture and history that surfers can turn to during their break from all the action on the crashing waves.


Ka’anapali is considered to be the signature beach of West Maui, what of its being a master-planned and census-designated town. It spans 6.3 miles, with three miles of it filled with the white sand of Ka’anapali Beach. Walking the white sand beach is about getting in touch with nature but it is walking distance away from hotels in the area. The beach has actually been declared as 2003’s “America’s Best Beach”. North of the beach, one can find Puu Kekaa or Black Rock, which is recommended for snorkeling whenever the waters are calm. The beach is one of Maui’s most popular.

Black Rock also offers easy access to restaurants and shopping. It is to be noted that though parking space is available, it is minimal. Black Rock is actually what divides the beach into two, being located somewhere in the middle of Ka’anapali. Ancient Hawaiians believe it to be a place where the newly-dead go off to their final destination.

At Hanakaoo Point, the sole offshore reef can be found on the beach. It is where the Hyatt Regency’s front can be found. The newbie swimmer should, however, be careful as the bottom of the near-shore ocean can suddenly drop to unexpected depths.

Why Surf at Ka’anapali Beach

Body boarders and surfers have the best shot when they come during the beach’s high surf. Rip currents and even a dangerous shore break can happen during times of high surf, thereby providing enough challenge to experienced body boarders and surfers.

During calmer moments, beginning and intermediate surfers can also enjoy the soothing waves. After all, Ka’anapali Beach served as Hawaiian kings’ playground during the ancient times. The whole place serves as some sort of paradise because of its beautiful views. Dawn and dusk especially inspire awe from visitors. The classy Ka’anapali Resort, which is 1,200 acre provide the perfect spot to view the sun on its daily rising and descent.

Other Ka’anapali Beach Attractions

The beach has plenty of provisions for snorkeling as well as cliff diving for those who want a little more adventure in their lives. Culture is also still thriving in Ka’anapali Beach as it is the place where luau feasts and hula shows are pretty common. Swimming is also recommended as long as people stick with areas that fit their level of expertise.

The view is good for sight-seeing strolls along the beach. Mountain-climbing and hiking are also some recommended activities around the area. This is because there are some nearby mountains, such as the Puu Kukui.

Surfing Considerations

While Ka’anapali is a good place to surf, visitors should know when to go visit. There are months when the beach is a better place for swimming and snorkeling instead. 
If visitors do not want to have to wait for the right time to surf, there are some nearby surf beaches, only 3 or 4 kilometers away. Each of these beaches ensures that people who love to surf can get their fill at any time. The Big Eds and the Paukukalo_Wailuku beaches are only 3 kilometers away each.

Honolua Bay

Visitors who seek world-class waves may want to sample the waters of Honolua Bay. There, the waves can be fickle but still provide some of the best surfing experiences ever. The visiting surfer, however, has to keep in mind that the place is swarming with experienced surfers that could make being a beginning surfer a pretty awkward affair – well if he lets it be that way. The best thing to do, really, is to just enjoy the waves without considering how other people are doing.

Getting to Know the Honolua Bay Wave

The waves at Honolua Bay are so famous that they actually have been dissected into different portions. Here are those portions:

The Point

At this portion of the waters, the waves are easier to tackle. The point is where girls and groms rip it. This wave closes out before making way for the cave.

The Cave

The very name sounds forbidding, and in a way it is. Surfers have to have enough experience to get swallowed by this hole. The cave can jack up or move according to the swell. Losing the wave can make a surfer end up slammed on a rock cliff, on the front of which the wave peaks out.

Keiki Bowls

Once an extended good section is over and done with, the wave starts to bed forming a racy bowl. The surfer has to have enough momentum going forward into the bend in order to keep from slamming. The Keiki Bowls is fast and shallow and breaks two feet deep or even less when going over a sharp reef. It is best tackled during surfing races. Usually, this area is tackled by groms and body boarders that are not worried about the shallow bottom and the small size.

In Honolua Bay, lucky surfers get a feel for all three types of wave, enjoying a long, enjoyable ride.

The Geography of Honoloau bay

Honolua Bay, as well as Mokule’ia Bay and Lipoa Point, is part of Honolua’s ahupua’a, found on Kapalua’s north. It is part agricultural land, part conservation land, overseen and cared for by the Maui Land & Pineapple Company. It is north of the Lanai and Molokai islands, which can both be seen from Honoloua Bay. Commercial activities within the area must all have permits to be allowed and considered legal.

Other Honolua Bay Attractions

It is clear that Honolua Bay offers some of the most interesting surfing waves. In fact, it hosts a women's surf competition from Billabong Pro every year. However, there are other activities that a visitor may want to explore in the area. One is by following and hiking up a trailer by the rugged coastline at Mokule'ia and Honolua.

Visitors can also take home some memorabilia after visiting Honolua stores. There are also surf boards that have been painted with the use of bright colors and designs by local artists. These surf boards may be great to use when tackling the Honolua Bay waves – stylish and brave.


Something right must be going on at Kapalua if Kapalua Beach was the first Maui beach to have been awarded “America’s Best Beach” back in 1991. Condé Nast Traveler magazine even names Kapalua Bay as “Best Beach in the World,” which is quite an achievement. There are several honors that recognize just the benefits that the beach can offer. Even the Travel Channel has handed it “The Best Beach in America” award. The Kapalua beach, formerly known as Fleming Beach, is recommended for board and body surfing, and are usually packed with all the amenities that can provide visitors and locals the best conveniences.

Kapalua is a CDP, which stands for census-designated place. The area is a resort development by none other than the Maui Land & Pineapple Company and only houses a population of 353, according to the 2010 census. Its name kapa lua is Hawaiian for “two borders”.

From Kapalua, visitors and locals can catch a glimpse of the islands of Lana’I and Moloka’i.

As for the nearest airport, the tiny Kapalua Airport, which is in Honokowai, should do. After all, it has replaced an even smaller airport, which was called Ka’anapali Airport.

Luxury and Entertainment Options

Even non-surfers or even non-beach goers will have something to enjoy at Kapalua. The place, despite its small population, is teeming with shops, restaurants, historic sites and golf courses. There is certainly room for shopping, fine dining, strolling, sight-seeing and even playing golf. For those who would rather watch golf rather than play it, the Plantation Course should serve as an attraction. The golf course is home to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a prestigious PGA Tour competition. The tournament, however, can only be seen by January visitors. Meanwhile, the 2009 Kapalua LPGA Classic was held in Bay Course.

Kapalua can be considered a place of luxury, as well, being home to a luxurious and intricately-planned, 23,000 acre resort that houses a Ritz-Carlton as well as the restaurants and shops mentioned above.

In June, the place hosts Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, which is pretty popular.

The Surfing Experience

Home to world-renown beaches, Kapalua is bound to offer great surfing, as well. What is a Hawaiian beach without at least a semblance of surfing? The resort, however, is surrounded by five bays and beaches. While Kapalua Bay is the one with most of the Best Beach awards, it is Oneloa Bay offers the best ways for surfing. Oneloa Bay is the white sand beach found in the resort that is part of the coastal trail.

There are several beach activities aside from surfing. After all, if Kapalua were to be loosely translated, it means “arms embracing the sea”. There is much to embrace in the resort community, whether on the waters or on land. Of course, visitors should make sure to sample the waves. After all, Kapalua is part of Maui, Hawaii and surfing is a Hawaiian sport that can be best enjoyed in pristine and beautiful beaches. Kapalua has its share of waves to please experienced and new surfers alike.

Kahana Beach Park

One of the most famous surfing locations is Kahana Beach Park, which is located near Maui’s largest city. It is known for providing ideal windsurfing, as well as surfing, conditions. It is close to Kahului and to the hearts of the locals. The Kahana Beach Park comes with the usual amenities: picnic tables, restrooms, showers and lifeguards. Like the rest of Maui, Kahana boasts of gorgeous weather and attractive views.

Ideal for Surfing and Windsurfing

Kahana is well-known for providing one of the, if not the, best conditions for wind surfing, as well as surfing. So visitors who want to really enjoy Maui for what it is, a place for sports and leisure on or by the sparkling blue waters, Kahana is the place to go to. Even those who do not really know how to surf can enjoy watching the locals and other experienced surfers go at it.

More Kahana Activities and Attractions

At Kahana, there is so much to do. Snorkeling, for example, is recommended even for beginners because shallow water snorkeling is readily available by Napili Bay. Swimming with turtles is also a snorkeling bonus.

For viewing more of nature, whale-watching is great during the December to May season. During the whale off-season, there are other forms of marine life, such as dolphins and sea turtles, to enjoy watching. Another view that should not be missed are sunsets by the beach.

Swimming is also highly recommended as Kahana is, after all, home to several beaches. While in any place in Maui, it is best to take some laps or soak up the sun. Another related activity is diving. For those who prefer swimming in pools, there is a couple at the Pohailani-Maui Resort.

Barbecue grills and fishing are for those who like to socialize and enjoy outdoorsy dining. Of course, Kahana’s foods can also be enjoyed indoors, in fine restaurants.
Sports beyond surfing and windsurfing can also be enjoyed on land. Visitors can go to the complex’s Mauka side for some tennis. The sports club can provide gym equipment to keep everyone in shape. There are volleyball courts available but those who want to play may need to bring their own balls and rackets.

Tourists and locals alike can also do their exercise elsewhere, in the Kahana Gateway Shopping Center. Strolling inside can provide some bit of exercise while also satisfying the need for retail therapy. The shopping center offers restaurants, shops and a coffee shop that also serves as Internet café. The Whalers Village is recommended to more serious shoppers, though this one is five minutes away, being located in Ka’anapali. Lahaina shops and galleries are ten minutes away.

Why Go To Kahana Beach Park?

Kanaha Beach Park may be well-known for its windsurfing conditions but it is a little remote, compared to other Maui beaches. This means that the amenities are pretty basic. For those who are seeking the comforts of nature, however, this is a great place to fish, wade, swim, surf in private and connect with nature. This is a place where visitors can unwind.