How to get started surfing on Maui, part 1

Paia Maui surfing

Here’s something you might not to expect to hear from a surfer: “surfing sucks — don’t try it.”

Why would they say that? It’s because surfing is so incredibly awesome that we surfers don’t want any more people in the lineup. More people mean fewer waves for everyone — does that make sense?

The good news for you is we’re not here to discourage you from surfing. Luckily, Hawaii (Maui included, of course) is a great place for any level of surfer. After all, the sport originated in the Islands and spread across the world thanks to its most famous ambassador, Duke Kahanamoku.

What’s really cool are the many options available to you to ride waves, not to mention all the places and times of year to do it. Here’s some sound advice to help you get started:

Types of Surfing


bodysurfing in Hawaii

The Original Surfing

No board needed — just some swim fins and a swimsuit and you’re on your way. Bodysurfing is the most pure and simple way to enjoy waves in a wide range of small to medium conditions, often in places where surfboards can’t go. *Highly recommended.


Hookipa bodyboarding Maui

Bodyboarding at Ho’okipa

Aka “boogie boarding.” Bodyboards are inexpensive and easy to use, which means you’re almost guaranteed some waveriding thrills. Swim fins are recommended, as they give you additional propulsion and control in more serious ocean conditions.

Surfing (surfboard)

Honolua Maui Surfing

Surfing at Honolua Bay (Expert Level)

Surfing proper is hard to learn, but worth the time and effort. There are few things more pleasurable than standing up on a board that’s gliding across an open-face wave. It’s best to start with a lesson on a longboard, then shorten your board as you get better for more maneuverability and better wave selection.

Stand Up Paddling (SUP)

SUP Maui

Yes, SUP Can Get to This Level (and Yes, That’s a Child!)

You don’t have to catch waves on a stand-up paddle board, but you certainly can. Most SUP boards are long, wide and thick, which makes balancing and wave catching much easier than normal surfboards. Plus, SUP-ing is great exercise, and in the right conditions you can hitch up fishing pole and catch your dinner!


Hookipa Maui windsurfing

Just Another Day in Maui

A windsurf board is basically a surfboard with a sail attached. It definitely takes a little practice getting used to — and it helps to be in shape — but you can have a LOT of fun in windy conditions that regular surfers would find miserable.

Plus, Maui is the windsurfing capital of the world, and throughout the island you can find several instructors, gear rentals and other supportive people who will get you on your way.



A kiteboard is smaller than a surfboard, and your feet are strapped, plus you’re attached to a large ellipse-shaped sail. Like windsurfing, your challenge is to use the wind to shoot across the ocean and catch waves and huge airs. Maui is a great place to kitesurf and make friends with other wind and kite surfers!

We would be delighted to be part of your next Maui vacation. If we can assist you with planning your perfect Maui vacation, please contact our Sunny Maui Vacations’ team at or at 808-240-1311 Extension 21. Let us help you reserve your vacation rental condo in South Maui and assist you with island recommendations and activity planning through our in-house Concierge at 808-240-1311 Extension 71.

Photo credits: chocolatedisco, blachswan, kanaka, blese, 9791306@N08, mutrock, eugene_o, 2chicos, mauisup, skodak

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.