6 epic activities you can always do in Hawaii

Hawaii may be a small, remote chain of islands in the middle of the largest body of water on Earth, but as Yoda would say, “Size matters not.”

Because of Hawaii’s unique geography, there are a respectable number of epic activities that can be enjoyed at the world-class level in Hawaii. In this post we’re going to look at the most obvious ones: ocean activities.

Surfing

I’m sure it didn’t take long for the ancient Hawaiians to figure out they were beachfront to some of the finest conditions for world-class wave riding: open ocean in all directions, year-round swells, and perfectly sculpted reefs.

Today, surfing is a distinctly Hawaiian sport, and Hawaii is the definitive center of the surfing world. Our island waters are home to some of the world’s most challenging ocean conditions and the people who have live and breathe the “waterman” lifestyle.

If you want to up your level of surfing, come to Hawaii, grab a board, and paddle out into the lineup.

Want to learn the quick and hard way? Skip Waikiki and go straight to the North Shore of Oahu.

Sportfishing

The waters off the Hawaiian islands, most notably in Kona, plunge 6,000 feet deep not too far offshore.

Lurking at these depths are some of the world’s largest pelagic species like the blue marlin, sailfish, and several varieties of tuna (ahi).

So if you ever want to catch the big one, head on over to Kona pretty much any time of the year.

The record catch for a Blue marlin in Kona happens to also be the world record: 1,166 pounds!

Paddling

Are you into kayaking but also love Polynesia? Then try outrigger paddling.

Basically you take a canoe, add an a’ama (floatation hull) and 6 seats and now you have an wa’a (Hawaiian canoe).

Hoe wa’a (canoe racing) is a robust sport throughout Hawaii, Tahiti, and New Zealand. There’s are 3 distinct seasons: regatta (sprint), long distance, and one-man (single canoes).

The culmination of a full paddling season ends with the Molokai Hoe, a 41-mile race between Hale O Lono Harbor in Molokai to Waikiki in Oahu.

Scuba diving

With 1,200 miles of fringing coral reef and several reputable dive schools, you could very easily develop your passion for scuba diving in the Hawaiian Islands.

Diving in Hawaii is known for an abundance of endemic sea creatures as well as encounters with big creatures like dolphins, reef hkarks and giant manta rays.

Each island has its own types of dives, with the Big Island being often cited as having the most number of dives and water clarity (on the Kona side). Oahu is great for wreck dives, Kauai has the most number of honu (sea turtles), and Maui offering excellent shore diving.

Free diving (or snorkeling)

 

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If scuba isn’t your thing or you don’t have the time to learn, free diving is the next best thing.

Many of Hawaii’s easily-accessible beaches and landings are easy places to throw on a mask, fins, and snorkel and enjoy the underwater world.

There are countless places across all island to enjoy free diving, from popular Haunama Bay on Oahu to Mauna Lani on the Big Island to Molokini island right off of Maui.

Sailing and navigation

Being surrounded by ocean, Hawaii is home to a lot of boats, ranging from small fishing dinghys to massive luxury yachts.

What you may not realize is that Hawaii was discovered and settled by ancient Polynesians who left their home in the Marquesas Islands on hand-crafted canoes, using nothing but the stars and ocean swells to navigate

Today, that voyaging heritage is alive and thriving, much in thanks to the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Mau Pialug of Setawal, who helped revive the lost ancient (and highly sophisticated) art of navigation.

Pictured above is the Hokulea in 1976, making its entrance into the waters of Tahiti from its voyage from Hawaii using ancient navigation methods.

Photo credits: Thomas Ashlock, Maui Yacht Charters, Wikipedia, Jonathan Borba, Peter Caldwell, Jakob Owens,

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