SUP’ing Waikiki, Hawaii
With over 8 million tourists flocking to Hawaii every year this group of islands – the most isolated in the world – gets more visitors than any other in the Pacific Ocean, with Oahu getting the blunt of it. People come here to enjoy Hawaiian culture, visit Diamond Head, join a Pearl Harbor tour and soak up the sun at any of its gorgeous beaches. Yet if there’s one that stands out above the rest it is Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, where turquoise waters allow visitors to relax- or not. Stand up paddle boarding (aka SUP surfing) has grown to become one of the most popular ocean sports in the world, and Waikiki offers the perfect environment for those willing to learn, and some mellow fun for the more experienced surfers.
Reaching Waikiki beach in Honolulu is very easy and will usually be within walking distance from your hotel or condo. The easiest and most convenient way will be for you to reach Kalakaua Ave and head South until you see the ocean. There are a few passage ways between hotels, but there’s no reason to take these less-than-inspiring shortcuts instead of soaking up all its splendor with extinct volcano Diamond Head in the background. Parking near the beach is usually a problem, so if you’re driving count on spending quite some time driving in circles looking for a spot unless you get there early in the morning.
Rental Rates of SUPs in Waikiki
While Waikiki is a single beach, there are many waves to be surfed along it, most breaking on the reefs about 1000 ft from the shore. Stand up paddle boards boards are available for rent at many surf shops right on the beach at around 50 USD / day or 30 USD/ 2 hours, but you can also find them somewhat cheaper if further away from the beach. If thinking about bringing your own you may want to consider an inflatable stand up paddle board (iSUP), saving you space, weight, and therefor money when flying it with you, or ask at the local rental places to see if they have them. There are several brands and models, and while many may agree on what the best inflatable SUP may be your ideal board could be one completely different.
Where to Stand Up Paddle Board in Waikiki
As mentioned before there are several breaks where to paddle to and enjoy some fun under the sun. Newbies might want to consider paddling in flat water to gain some balance and feel comfortable on the board, perhaps even loose a possible fear of falling. Once this stage has been reached (which for many won’t take longer than 20-30 minutes) you’ll be in a position to paddle over to mellower waves. Some of the most popular waves for beginners include Queens (right in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue on Kuhio Beach Park), Canoes (just as friendly but with more canoes around you, located in front of the Mona Surfrider Hotel) or anywhere in Waikiki. The waves in Oahu’s South shore are always gentler than the massive surf in the North Shore, and there will always be a mellow wave in Waikiki for new surfers.
Advanced surfers or those with more experience will want to head out to any of the waves they see fit from the shore. Ala Moana bowls is popular but can be packed, and Diamond head usually offers great long rides though it can get windy- and is not part of Waikiki Beach.
Surfing or stand up paddle boarding in Waikiki is all about having fun and enjoying the good vibes. Don’t stress yourself over the crowds and share the Aloha spirit among your peers to have a great day stand up paddle boarding in Waikiki!
Cover photo thestevenalan