spots on Maui
As a beginner, try to surf mostly waves under three feet tall and avoid surfing during times of high wind or storms. Avoid large crowds as much as possible and know basic surfing etiquette for right-of-way in the water.
The following 10 spots won’t always work for a beginner, but it’s likely that at any given time, at least a few will be viable and fun options.
The thing about “beginner” surf breaks is that under certain conditions they can turn into not-so-beginner spots. Unlike many surf spots in California and elsewhere, Hawaii has added dangers like strong riptides and heavy reef. It’s essential to have the right information to have fun and avoid potentially dangerous situations in the water. With that being said, Maui is home to some of the best beginner surf spots on the Hawaiian Islands (and we’re happy to share!).
- Maui has the most beginner surf spots than any other Hawaiian Islands.
- Tips for beginner surfers: Try to surf waves under 3 feet, avoid crowded spots, avoid surfing in stormy conditions, and choose spots that lack dangerous obstacles like reef, rocks and rip tides.
- Familiarize yourself with surfing etiquette and right-of-way in the water.
The Cove at Kalama Beach Park in Kihei is the beginner of all beginner surf spots in Maui. Think of it as Maui’s little Waikiki. Similar to Waikiki, The Cove is often crowded but gets consistent small waves most of the year that breaks both right and left in the shallow water. There are a handful of days where the waves are too large for beginners, but the more common problem is that they are too small and powerless.
Launiupoko is a family-oriented beginner surf break in West Maui. It’s easily accessible from Honoapiilani Highway about 10 minutes south of Lahaina and is marked clearly just past mile marker 18. Launiupoko is popular among local families, longboarders, stand up paddleboarders and beginner surfers.
Breakwall, located just off Front Street in the heart of Lahaina and just south of the harbor, is hit or miss for beginner surfing. When the waves are small, it’s a great spot to learn to surf and the go-to break for surf lessons on the Westside. However, during large swells and especially during the summer months, Breakwall can get too big and chaotic for a beginner to paddle out safely.
Kaanapali Beach is a picturesque surf break in Kaanapali just outside the Kaanapali Alii and to the right of the Marriott. The beach is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful in the world. It’s also a top place to learn to surf on the island.
Puamana Beach Park is a beginner surf break just south of Lahaina right past mile marker 19. Rides tend to be short and the waves often close out (meaning the wave breaks all at once instead of right to left or left to right). However, it’s not a bad spot to work on standing up on the wave. The paddle out is so short that it allows for many waves with little fatigue.
Grandma’s is the only surf break in Maui with an adjacent campground. There are waves to be had just a few feet away from Papalaua Park. Grandma’s is the first turn off on the left after the tunnel on Honoapiilani Highway, with surfable waves between mile markers 11 and 11.5 (Note that the GPS often directs to Papalaua in Lahaina, so pay close attention to the mile markers and signs). Amenities are few, but there are porta-potties and trashcans. Rentals are available in Kihei or Lahaina, each about a 15-20 minute drive in opposite directions.
Paia Bay in Paia can sometimes work as a beginner surf break in the winter, when Ho’okipa is just a little bit too big. It is rarely surfable in the summer months. When waves are small, Paia Bay offers a sandy beach to paddle out from and several spots to surf. The waves here can be deceiving, sometimes looking big but then losing power right before they break.
Thousand Peaks is aptly named for its seemingly endless peaks. Located at mile marker 12 at Ukumehame Beach Park off Honoapiilani Highway, “Thousands” refers to a stretch of surf breaks with numerous peaks and waves breaking all over, both rights and lefts. The biggest problem here is a long paddle out and getting caught inside (Getting caught inside is inevitable for a surfer. It refers to being trapped in the spot where waves are breaking and can be solved by paddling out in a horseshoe shape, right or left and then back around, rather than straight out).
Guardrails is an unmarked stretch of Honoapiilani Highway about 5 minutes south of Lahaina between mile markers 18 and 19. It refers to the breaking waves along the guardrail of the road, just past Launiupoko. It is generally not crowded but frequented by longboarders and stand up paddleboarders. Guardrails is a quiet getaway with friendly surfers.
Olowalu is one of best beginner surf spots on Maui. Located in West Maui, it’s the perfect place to learn how to surf because the Summer waves are on the smaller side and pretty steady. Olowalu is a beginner/intermediate surf break on Maui, so you don’t want to paddle out here for the very first time. Make sure you have some surf experience or paddle out with an experienced surfer or a Maui surf instructor.