Surfing Hawaii  by Rod Sumpter

Surfing Hawaii Guide Book

by Rod Sumpter (Falcon Guides)
Surfing Hawaii  by Rod Sumpter
Surfing Hawaii is your comprehensive guide to the Hawaiian Islands' best breaks-from classic surf spots to lesser-known waves. Let international surfing legend Rod Sumpter show you where to ride the waves from Honolua Bay on Maui and Banzai Pipeline on Oahu to Magic Sands on the Big Island and Nawiliwili Lihue on Kauai. Look inside for: Complete write-ups of 68 featured surf spots, plus key info on 241 more; Best tide height, swell direction, and wave size for each featured site; Surf spots for all skill levels, from beginner to expert; The lowdown on hazards and localism; At-a-glance information on break types and best boards; Advice on avoiding the crowds and finding the breaks.

© 2005 Rod Sumpter/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Surfing Hawaii" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 68.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 68.

This left-hand reef break is the symbol of great South Shore waves. Packed and very competitive, it’s virtually reserved for locals who know how to surf inside the bowl. The bowl is just that—an inside-out section halfway in that forms between the Ala Moana boating channel and the Pacific Ocean. It holds waves of 4 to 12 feet. The takeoff is steep and fast; getting caught behind is a risk. The wave goes to the bowl superfast. Best Boards: Shortboard. This chapter also includes a brief description of Rockpile, In-Betweens, Fours, Kaisers, Threes, Paradise, Populars, and Canoes.
Honolulu, HI - Surfing
This beach break with numerous wedge sandbars produces waves that rank high in a place where the sun shines on tubing surf and where the east wind keeps the island’s most consistent swell going year-round. It’s a fun surfing beach and bodyboard scene. Good waves in easterly swell and west winds. Best Boards: Bodyboards, shortboards, and longboards on small days. This chapter also includes a brief description of Rock Bay, Kalihiwai Beach, and Hideaways.
Anahola, HI - Surfing
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This right-hand peak concaves into a walling tube with only one way out—through the eye. Thick lips and heavy walls are common. This is a right-hand barrel with one of the best thick curling tubes in the world, breaking over shallow lava and coral. The takeoff is located just 100 yards from shore and looms up quickly, having a vertical drop followed by a curtain-lip to watch out for. Since it was first ridden in the 1980s, Backdoor has been considered the world’s thickest and most dangerous right reef break. Best Boards: Shortboards up to 6 feet, 10 inches and rhino guns.
Waimea, HI - Surfing
Sand quickly turns to rock ledges and reef behind Sunset Beach to the east where huge swell produces extremely fast rights from 6 to more than 15 feet. These express-train barrels are for advanced surfers only. Best Boards: Shortboards and guns. This chapter also includes a brief description of Sunset Point. You can’t beat a fast takeoff, and that’s just what you get at Backyards. It leaves you with either a toasted grin or a hammered smile—that’s if you make the barreling drop into the pit and pull up fast enough to tuck under the wall and zero-navigate the eye of the wave by feel. This is a great wave that packs a punch sending a lot of surfers packing.
Haleiwa, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
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This exciting reef breaks mostly right, but the lefts are good, too. It’s a big peak fading to nothing at the edge of the reef. There are, in fact, several reefs close to each other that all break on different-angled swell directions and different-size swells, to give wave trains on three takeoff areas; it’s possible to judge where to be, if you’re alert and quick at spying a set. Fabulous hot surf spot for the expert with shallow reefs, urchins, and locals. Best Boards: Shortboard, bodyboard, and longboard.
Keauhou, HI - Surfing
You haven’t fully surfed Hawaii until you’ve surfed the Banzai Pipeline. This is the jewel in the crown, the one spot that always looks magical, beckoning you to come and ride—so pretty, so taunting. Many consider riding a 12- to 15-foot wave here to be the highlight of their surfing careers. One of the world’s most challenging and epic waves, this famous steep, fast left-hand barrel reef breaks off shallow coral reefs 100 yards from shore. It’s known as the most awesome left in the world. Best Boards: Shortboards and guns. This chapter also includes a brief description of Second Reef and Third Reef.
Sunset Beach, HI - Surfing
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This right- and left-hand beach break works best in a southwest to southeast swell. Brennecke Beach has a reputation as a solid beach-break wave that peaks like spires off multiple sandbars, and is best in summer. These wedgy waves tread their way over a seascape or reefs before breaking across little Brennecke Beach. Best Boards: Bodyboards. This chapter also includes a brief description of Shipwreck and Amonia's.
Koloa, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
This long left-hand reef break fires a surfer like a cannon—hence the name. It’s a dangerous reef, and strong rips make this an experts-only wave. One of the fastest and hairiest lefts on Kauai, this fantastic break is a long walling wave with a steep drop-in, a U-shaped face, and a uniquely long, straight barrel. It has a kick-blow action like a cannon going off, forcing you out and down the line. The takeoff here is very close to bare dry coral reefs—a hair-raising speed wall down through a pipe that blasts right next to the rocks and ends in a sand-and-coral-bottomed barrel or at times a continuous barrel to the beach. You need to tuck under the lip and out through the hole to survive. Surfing here is a question of guts: The reef and rocks are right up front, and the danger increases with the wave height. The bigger it gets, the thicker and heavier the lip, and the scarier and heavier it is to surf. You’ll also find a smaller beach break here, which gets dangerous very easily. Best Boards: Shortboards and guns.
Princeville, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
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The reef is named for the John Chun family, who had a house inshore of the break many years ago. Native Hawaiians who fished and surfed the reef, they must have been spoiled to the core. This is a great longboarding wave—a long right-hander over coral reefs that section from a hooking neat peak into a barrel and hot-dog walls. Best Boards: Longboards; also shortboards if it’s big. This chapter also includes a brief description of Jocko's.
Haleiwa, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
Everything a good beach break should be and more on the right day, D. T. Fleming Beach Park is always crowded with good longboarders, bodyboards zipping around, and radical shortboard surfing. It’s a real competitive surf zone. Best Boards: Bodyboards, shortboards, and longboards. Solid waves push in off solid sandbars and produce epic lefts and rights. But it’s the right-hand reef that’s the real star wave here. It swings around from Honolua Bay and provides classic barrels. This seriously fun beach break has a right-hand reef that peels into the beach lineup and only adds to what is an epic wave. D. T. Fleming Park Bay pushes up the swell like a row of soldiers arriving, and surfers rip the lineup to make the drop, paddle over, or dive for cover.
Lahaina, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
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This left- and right-hand reef picks up most south swells and is often the best spot on the South Shore. Protected from trade winds by Diamond Head, it’s a great surfing venue. Classic 4-to 6-foot waves peel right, and the view is awesome: Waves stack up to the horizon, where Diamond Head rises 600 feet, while surfers take off and power across three reefs. Best Boards: Shortboards and longboards. This chapter also includes a brief description of Cliffs, Ka`alawai Point, Mahoney, Kahala, Ka`alawai Beach, Black Point, Wailupe, Toes Reef, Taiko Drive, Turtles, Pole, Fingers, China Walls, Portlock Point, and Wall.
Honolulu, HI - Surfing
Out in front of the Embassy Hotel is a fast right in wintertime that’s often overhead on a northwest swell, and a left in summer when it’s small. This reef break off a strip of sand is the ideal spot when all the breaks farther north are either blown out, too big, or just not lined up well. This is one of the first spots that goes clean during a giant 20-foot-plus north swell. When the winds switch from onshore to northeast trade winds, a classic long, fast, hooky barrel forms. Best Boards: Shortboards, longboards, and guns. This chapter also includes a brief description of Rainbows.
Lahaina, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
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The peak peels and shifts on different swell sizes and direction. This excellent right- and left-hand wave is a medium- to big-wave spot that lets you know who’s in charge. Known for its heavy and aggressive takeoff, it gives nothing away easily. Best Boards: Shortboards and guns. This chapter also includes a brief description of Turkey Bay. On big days this is the mother of all waves, big, hollow, and fast; on smaller days it’s sweet perfection, a clean hot-dogging fun wave. One of the greatest facts about Gas Chambers is that the drop is straight off until you clear the trough. It’s do-or-die at the impact zone, and you’ll need respect, luck, and skill not to get smashed.
Sunset Beach, HI - Surfing
This fickle left-hand break needs just the right northwest swell to work—but then its epic wedge-shaped barrel will amaze you. Take off inside the rock point, just inside the cliff rock. Best Boards: Shortboards and guns. This chapter also includes a brief description of Little Makaha. This is an awesome wave with a history of spectacular near misses caused by golf balls landing in the water—wayward shots from the ninth green of the Kapalua golf course, Golf Balls, Maui. Fickle by nature, it’s an epic wave needing just the right wraparound north swell to appear. Golf Balls is situated on the left side of D. T. Fleming Beach Park, 2 miles south of Honolua Bay.
Lahaina, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
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This right-hand reef break is a beautiful spot to see pumping ace waves; when it does, it’s the best break on the island. The break has fun short peaks just past the shore edge reef and a well-lined-up point wave. Best Boards: Shortboards. This chapter also includes a brief description of Mo`omami Beach, Kapuhi, Kawakiu, Papohaku, Kapuhakehu Beach, Halo O Lono Beach, The Wharf, and Pohakulua Point. This right-hand reef break is a fickle spot to see firing ace waves, but when it pumps, it’s the best break on Molokai. Situated on the northeast corner of the island, it’s an hour and a half from Lahaina and forty-five minutes from the landing point at Kaunakakai Harbor. When you first see the point, the swell seems to hover as line upon line marches in on a good northeast swell. The waves wrap in around the point, splashing up on the solid dark lava cliff; spray goes 30 feet high.
Kaunakakai, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
This left- and right-hand reef break is famous for the perfect right that walls and barrels, ending up as a shallow closeout that’s really scary. The takeoff is two reefs 200 and 350 yards out from the beach with loads of appeal to all kinds of wave riders. Lifeguard 24/7. Best Boards: Shortboards and longboards. This chapter also includes a brief description of Toilet Bowl, Avalanche, The Wall, Hammerheads, and Silva Channel. A mighty fine swell is running, and the scales are tipping 10 to 12 feet. Haleiwa is honking and hooting on the rights.The surfer on the horizon strokes into a left peak, a pitch-black takeoff monster, and zooms right across the bay. Everyone onshore stands and cheers. This is a taste of Haleiwa. The town of Haleiwa was established in 1899, and was known then as the “Home of the Frigate Bird.”
Haleiwa, HI - Surfing
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Hanalei Bay is Kauai’s most famous break, known for its long sweeping, pumping right-hand reef break with glassy waves sheltered by the surrounding mountains. The beauty here is beyond belief—one of Hawaii’s most scenic surf spots. Best Boards: Short- and longboards. This chapter also includes a brief description of The Bowl, Middle Break, Pinetrees, Wai Coco's, and Tunnels. With its picturesque top-quality right-hand reef waves set below the beautiful Na Pali Mountains, many consider this the most beautiful surf spot in the world. The ride consists of sweeping, even lines of swell that swing, bend, and catch the Princeville coast at Hanalei Bay to form great waves. You feel as if you’re surfing in the presence of ancient kings as you carve around sections and sneak a peak at the grandeur of the mountains ahead, then drop into a barrel and reappear facing a fast walling bowl, then a shoulder and a big cutback situation.
Hanalei, HI - Surfing
Ho`okipa is the windsurfing mecca of the world. Host to World Cup sailing and surfing contests, this spot rips. Jagged lava rock, exposed reefs, a gnarly shorebreak, light offshore trade winds, and powerful rip currents combine to make this North Shore launch off-limits to most sailors and surfers when it’s 40 feet. On smaller days it’s the best windsurfing wave-riding spot on Maui—maybe the world. Best Boards: Shortboards and guns. This chapter also includes a brief description of Lanes and Kuau Bay.
Paia, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
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This right-hand point break with an exceptional performance wall has been a world-famous break since 1961.Speed, a super bowl arena on the inside section, and a 600-yard ride make this a classic all-time wave. With its long rides and reputation as a fantastic tube, it’s a must-see surf spot. When push comes to shove, there’s no better place to be than Honolua Bay waiting for the wave with your name on it—the one that says, I’m yours. Then you go, and the ride of a lifetime begins. This fast, awesome point wave is so long and neat that the swell lines are like dark-blue-flecked marble in a light blue sea. The curling barrel is a white-green cavern. Hang on in there and bite the bullet. On takeoff, it’s bombs away. The explosion behind you hammers your tail. The oncoming wall curls, and then gracefully breaks clean over your head. Now its pumping curl lines tube by the second, and you feel your feet lift up and fly.
Lahaina, HI - Surfing - Trail Length:
A magical break in a 6- to 8-foot-plus swell, Hot Sands has a heavy right-hand peak and strong falling curtain that’s about as good as it gets. It needs a big swell and light trade winds. There isn’t much beach—just a strip of white and tan sand. Loads of low lava knobs, rocks, and gaps make the paddle-out tricky at low tide. With steep takeoffs and faces with lots of bottom, it’s an ideal big performance wave. Best Boards: Shortboards.
Lahaina, HI - Surfing
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