Surfing the Famous Waikiki Beach

Surfing the Famous Waikiki Beach is a must do if you live on the island or are just visiting. The gentle waters and inviting surf all lead to a perfect outing for any beginners first time, or a fun time if you are already experienced. Just be aware that for about three days of each month, the beach becomes inundated with box jellyfish. You can check the interactive calendar for the days to not paddle out.


Waikiki Beach is home to many surf breaks. The most popular are Queens, Canoes, Publics – although if the surf is large enough, then there are way more spots that pop out. You can check out the surf report online to get the latest update.

For the best chance at getting some surf, you’ll want to find the Duke Kahanamoku Statue and paddle out from there. It’s right in the middle of the beach – just to the right of the rock wall breakwater when facing the ocean. The best times to surf are early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Tide doesn’t matter too much, except for too high of a tide, which can cause the waves to not break. Wear a rash guard during the middle of the day to protect your back from a sunburn.

Surfing the Famous Waikiki Beach:

My friend Michaela and I decided to go surf and take photos at one of the main breaks in Waikiki. We weren’t too interested in going out to the main break, but rather just playing in the smaller waves that broke inside. It’s probably some of the most wholesome fun that you can have on the island.

After walking into the heart of Waikiki and passing the rock pier (just to the left in the photo), we strapped on our leashes and paddled out.

This was at about 3:30 when the sun wasn’t too bright, and the colors still strong. The surf for this day was in the 1-2ft range – with an occasional three foot face.

All smiles after catching the first few waves.

The conditions this afternoon were perfect and the waves had enough energy to make things fun. Any bigger and it would’ve been more of a paddle.

At a certain point, the inside waves that we were catching seemed to stop, and we headed to the outside to join everyone else.

Luckily the crowd on this day was calm. There were plenty of waves to be shared.

And that was it. The sun set and the water turned glassy. It was a perfect day to surf Waikiki.

Other Notes:

Renting boards from the Waikiki beach should be easy. For about $20 or so you’ll have the board for an hour or two. You’ll want to check if there are any cracks and give it a look through – same as a rental car. Foam boards then to be the easiest to ride, but you’ll want to bring a shirt or rash guard to prevent your chest from being rubbed too much. Paddling is actually the most difficult part of surfing if you’re a beginner, so don’t use all your energy just trying to get out there. Make sure you have enough strength to catch the wave too. When lying down, the board should be only a few inches above the water – three inches is usually good. Putting your head down or pulling it up is the way to get more weight forward or back. Then, all you have to do is catch the wave and stand up. Have fun out there! 

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