Made famous by Duke Kahanamoku, Rabbit Kekai and Tom Blake, these original Waikiki beach boys weaved the very fabric of modern surf culture almost a century ago. Long hours spent in the surf were capped off with ukulele jam sessions around a beach fire and talking story about the day’s rides. This rich culture lives on and now welcomes a global wave of newbie surfers.
Surf conditions here are ideal since the tradewinds blow offshore 85 percent of the year grooming smooth the blue tropical water. Summer is the most consistent for surf as the reefs rely on southern hemisphere swell to work properly.
Generally, the easy breaks of Queens, Populars and Canoes are your best bet. All three spots feature waves with sloping, soft peelers that break for up to one hundred meters on the right day. The only drawback is the flotilla of surf craft in the water, as it can get quite busy during peak summer months. Be careful.
Waikiki water temps average in the 70s Fahrenheit all year round with air temps 70-90. It’s warm, but the tradewinds blow hard sometimes, so occasionally you’ll need a light wetsuit vest or top to fend off the windchill. Otherwise it’s bikini and board short weather all the time.
By the way TheScore Bet is coming to Canada, but take a break from the betting bonanza and go surf and travel.
Waikiki surfing spots and beaches
Mickeys Surf School is a deal for the notoriously expensive sands of Waikiki. They offer group beginner lessons starting at $55 per hour while a private one-on-one tutorial is $75. All equipment, rash guards, boards (even booties to keep your feet safe on the coral) is provided. Mickeys is also one of the few schools that will accept students who don’t know how to swim.
Longboard champion Kai Sallas imparts his years of surf knowledge at Pro Surf School Hawaii, teaching students paddling technique, positioning, maneuvering, pop-up and stance. Waikiki can get crowded, so Kai takes his class to a less busy stretch of Waikiki giving students more room to move. Two-hour group lessons start at CA$125/$89 and private lessons at CA$300/$199.
Waikiki surf schools and lessons
To combine both surf and stay in Waikiki, check out Surf n Sol, a team of experts who will teach you to surf and secure a condo option for your stay. Guests participate in private yoga, surf instruction and a host of a la carte activities. The condos are centrally located and close to the beach. Each unit includes a lanai (balcony), full kitchen and all amenities. Surf n Sol will work to meet special lodging requests. Each package varies in price according to which accommodation you choose with rates starting at CA$135/$100 per night and going up to CA$650/$425. A seven-night stay with five private surf lessons, three private yoga classes and massage averages CA$4500$2850.
For the see-and-be-seen set, the boutique SurfJack Hotel is a popular option. The hotel made the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List for 2017 and integrates local Honolulu makers and artisans into their amenities. Mid-century Hawaiiana is the central design theme throughout their rooms, bar and restaurant. “Laid back modern aloha” is their design mantra with many of the rooms curated with local art. Rooms start at CA$240/$187 and go up depending on demand and season.
Hotels for surfers in Waikiki, Hawaii
There’s something about the mid-century Waikiki tower architecture that says “vintage vacation” and the clean, modern rooms of the Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki Hotel suit that to a T. Located near the beach and a variety of restaurants, this hotel also offers a modern gym and swimming pool as well as standard amenities. It’s a great deal for the budget minded with rooms starting at CA$135/$100. And with the world’s best beginner surf at your front door, you can’t go wrong.
Waikiki is a great vacation place for water sports activities. Most flight to Hawaii from Canada goes through LAX.
Waikiki surfing guide and tips prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com’s travel destination guides.
Photo by Photo by Michael Olsen