Maui Surfing on Your Vacation
By Kenneth Rothman
January is one of the best months for surfing on Maui's North Shore. Advanced surfers will appreciate all the big beautiful barrel waves that January swells generate, but there are also places where the waves are ideal for beginners.
If you're just starting out, you might want to try South Shore or West Maui, where our vacation rental accommodations are located. You should book some lessons with one of the many local experts and surf schools. They will direct you to the best surf spot for your level based on conditions the day of your lesson. Another perk is that when you take an actual lesson, your chances of standing up during your first lesson are high. Our tip for the beginner surf areas is to bring reef shoes. Click for a list of Maui surf schools. On a side note, the South Shore and West Maui areas can be good for longboarding too.
Now on to the more advanced surf areas! North Shore Maui gets the largest and most consistent share of surf on the island. Hookipa is the most popular area to do it in, but it is also a local favorite, so it is really important that you are extra polite and don't drop in on anyone. You'll find 3-4 main breaks here, and two entrances on either end of the beach. There is reef here, and some of it is exposed by wave action, so make sure to avoid those areas. You might also try Honolua Bay, where the waves can be a bit inconsistent, but sometimes there are really good ones. Neither of these areas are ideal for beginners.
When you're surfing Maui, be aware that conditions can change more abruptly than coastal mainland areas. Conditions are calmest early in the morning, and the wind tends to pick up through the afternoon and evening, which makes the waves messy. South and West Maui are also calmer than the North Shore, and located conveniently close to our Kaanaapali beachfront condos. Use your best judgement when assessing conditions, and always check the surf reports. Sometimes there are jellyfish warnings and other notices you'll want to look for. Again, be careful of the reef, and also of sea urchins. Don't hang around in the water if you get cut, because you could attract a shark from a long distance away.
Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world to surf, and the weather is warmer than anywhere else in the US coastal areas. We are referring to water temperature too, of course. Since it is January, you are likely to see humpback whales at play farther offshore. Be safe and enjoy the sights, sounds and surf of Maui! Mahalo for reading, and have a wonderful vacation!