Regardless of how big or small your surfing ambitions are, there’s no better place to catch a wave than the islands of Hawaii. Every year, Hawaii plays host to some of the world’s largest surfing competitions, but it also offers dozens of beginner-friendly beaches for boarders that are just looking to test the waters.
If you’re hunting monster waves, then the North Shore in Oahu is legendary for its big wave beaches. In fact, surfing pro Milton Willis is rumored to have ridden the biggest waves in history outside of Log Cabins/Sunset Beach in a stunt that has gone down in surfing history as “Biggest Wednesday.” If you’re looking for something a little less ambitious, then catch a long wave off the inside break at the nearby Ala Moana Bowls.
Even if you’d rather be a beachcomber than hit your board on the big waves, if you’re willing to go off the beaten path then you’ll encounter some must-see pro surfing on the island of Maui, specifically at a surf break that’s earned the omenous nickname of Jaws. It’s here that Mike Parsons set his first official big wave record on a 66-footer in 2006. Of course, the pros are protecting their precious turf; if you want to watch the action at Jaws you’ll have to come in by boat or jet ski, and many recommend that you don’t surf without an invitation from the natives.
For waves that are more tourist-friendly in both size and accessibility, Waikiki is a classic choice. You’ll find beautiful weather, clear water, and moderate waves year-round at any of the island’s many public beaches.