Most of the best Kona surfing can be found along the historic 5-mile stretch of Alii Drive. Originally allowed only for the Alii (royalty), surfing in Hawaii was literally the “Sport of Kings” in early times. Today, surfing can be enjoyed by everyone and is symbolic of Hawaii’s host culture and active lifestyle. Of course, surfing is not exactly a passive sport – so not everyone who lives here actually surfs. But even for non-surfers, there is something truly magical about relaxing at any one of the Big Island’s popular surf sports to simply watch in awe.
Whether you are an advanced surfer or a first-timer, you will find many easily accessible Kona surfing spots. For beginner and intermediate-level surfers, Pine Trees (Kohanaiki Beach Park) is a great location, and Kahaluu Beach in Keauhou is the best for first-timers needing lessons.
If you are a beginner, the best (and safest) way to learn how to surf in Kona is by taking a lesson. Numerous surf schools can be found in Kona with expert instruction for getting started and staying safe. Equipment is provided such as foam-top longboards, water shoes, and rash guards. Check out the links below for a few options.
Your safety should be priority #1; so before you head out to your surf spot of choice, please remember that no matter where you are in Hawaii, conditions can often change quickly. Be wary of hidden dangers such as rip currents, urchins, reefs, rocks, and (although rare) sharks. Plus, your personal definition of ‘beginner’ or ‘intermediate’ may vary from others’ interpretation of these skill levels. Be aware of your own abilities, be courteous to others, and above all, be respectful of the ocean.
* DISCLAIMER *
IF IN DOUBT, DON'T GO OUT!
This information is published as an aid to surfers and other users. Penn Henderson in no way warrants the safety or suitability of the surfing options indicated on this site. Users assume the risk for their own safety at all times when swimming in these areas. There are NO Lifeguards at most Kona surf spots!
Never surf or swim alone. Your personal definition of ‘beginner’ or ‘intermediate’ may vary from others’ interpretation of these skill levels. Be aware of your own abilities and seek out professional surfing and swimming instruction as warranted.
Although reasonable effort to ensure that the information contained in this site is correct as of the date of publication, the actual conditions surfers encounter may vary, and Penn Henderson in no way warrants its accuracy.
Penn Henderson assumes no liability for personal injuries or property damage suffered by users.
Kahalu’u is one of the best Kona surfing spots (Keauhou) for all skill levels, especially for first-timers needing instruction. Several surf schools are located at Kahalu’u Beach Park, either just across the street such as Kahalu’u Surf and Sea, or businesses operating out of their company van or truck.
Closer to town, near Historic Kailua Village, Honl’s is one of the best reef breaks you will find in Kona with year-round rights and lefts breaking over the reef. Additionally, the beach has a nice grassy area nearby with picnic tables and plenty of shade to relax and enjoy the action. *Not a spot for beginners.
A great left point break for intermediate and experienced surfers, Lyman’s is known for its large winter swells that create a long break across the bay, though the surf is fairly consistent throughout the year. When the surf is big, this is where you will find many local Kona surfing enthusiasts lining up.
Banyans is a local favorite for Kona surfing. You will often find Kona’s up & coming talented youth honing their skills alongside numerous local Pro Surfers here. On big days, it is fun to watch from the shore as the experts navigate huge barrels breaking over the reef.
*For advanced surfers keen to join in on the action at Banyans, be sure to learn the lay of the land by speaking with some of the locals at the area before attempting to paddle out into the lineup.
Kohanaiki Beach Park, also known as “Pine Trees” by locals, features one of the most consistent and popular Kona surfing spots. There are numerous different waves for surfers to choose from with conditions suitable for most skill levels, including beginners. However, commercial surf lessons are not available here, so it is best to have at least some previous surfing experience. Additionally, Pine Trees is famous for its overnight camping, especially popular for weekend family surf retreats. Click Here for Camping Permits
Surf with Aloha.
Never “drop-in” on another surfer’s wave. When paddling for a wave, be sure to check for others around you that someone else has not already caught the wave behind or to the side of you.
Look for surfers in front of you before taking off on a wave. If inexperienced, stay closer to shore on the inside, especially when there is big surf.