Maui No Ka Oi! Maui is always ranked as one of the top vacation spots in the world, but Maui is also the best place in the world to learn how to surf. How do we know? 100% of our staff agree, plus a couple of the students that we had today. Further more, we’ve been doing some research to back up our theory. Here’s our proof:
The water around Maui averages between 77 degrees in the winter to 82 degrees in the summer, which means wetsuits are pretty much optional! We love this informative NOAA page that tells you the current water temperatures all around Hawaii. A quick check while writing this post (January 11) reveals that the water temperature in Kahului is 78! If this is sounding good so far, keep in mind that Maui’s average high air temperature ranges between 81 and 88 degrees, which is pretty much perfect!
Maui is known for our expert-only waves (including Honolua Bay and Peahi), but the truth is, there is almost always somewhere to catch some small waves year-round. The simplified explantation is that the storms in the northern Pacific Ocean bring waves in the winter, while south Pacific storms send waves in the summer, and our brisk trade winds send small swell to the eastern and northern facing shores almost year-round! We like HawaiiWeatherToday for a fairly easy-to-read surf forecast, so you can find just the perfect size for you!
Lots of Sandy Beaches
Maui, the second largest Hawaiian Island, has over 120 miles of coastline and more than 30 miles of sandy beaches (more than any other island in Hawaii!). Unlike some other states or countries, beaches in Hawaii are open to the public by law! Most of these places (with Lahaina and Kaanapali being the exception) have ample, free parking right along the beaches. There are also several great beaches with facilities including bathrooms, showers, picnic tables and grills, but the lifeguard situation could definitely be improved. The best beaches for surfing typically don’t have lifeguards at them, but if you are looking for a guarded beach (or just for beach conditions in general), we love this website: HawaiiBeachSafety.com. With live beach safety conditions (current weather, surf, public safety alerts and beach conditions), you can decide which beach to go to before you even get in the car. Look for the Yellow Caution (least dangerous conditions) beaches. While we are on the topic of safety, we also recommend that everyone read the County of Maui’s Ocean Safety Brochure
And here’s a list of Maui’s Lifeguard Locations (conditions and lifeguard situations can change, if in doubt, don’t go out)
Lifeguards are on duty every day from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm at the following locations: (scroll to bottom for map of lifeguard beaches)
- South Side: Kamaole 1, 2, 3 Beach Parks, Makena State Park (a.k.a. Big Beach)
- West Side: Hanakao’o Beach (a.k.a. Canoe Beach), DT Flemming Beach Park
- North Shore: Kanaha Beach Park, Baldwin Beach Park, and Ho’okipa Beach Park
Not Too Crowded
While the most popular surf spots can get crowded during a decent sized swell, there’s usually an alternate location for beginners to catch some waves. Thousand Peaks (where we typically teach our surf lessons) is named for the several breaks that can be found along the beach. (Mahalo to JoeWestPhotography.com for the drone image!)
Amazing Scenery and Wildlife Viewing
From pretty much any surf spot around Maui, you are going to be looking at stunning mountains and valleys (see image above: no high-rises or freeway overpasses here!), while surrounded by green sea turtles, eagle rays, dolphins, and humpback whales in the winter!
Great Surf Stores
Anywhere you go around Maui, there is bound to be a surf store near by. Our own favorite is Hi-Tech (it’s also cool enough for Bethany Hamilton), with four great locations – the original surf shop in Paia, the flag-ship in Kahului, their mall location Shapers at Queen Kaahumanu Center, and their brand-new ocean front location in Kihei. This locally-owned company has friendly, knowledgable staff that are always ready to help with whatever you are looking for!
The World’s Greatest Surf Instructors
They are the best. What more can we say? Surfing can be pretty intimidating for a first timer, but our mostly-female staff are well prepared to make you feel comfortable during the entire experience. We have a couple of male instructors as well, but Sharky is always willing to put on a coconut bra if that would make it better…
Learn to Surf | Best Place to Surf | Maui Surf Lessons