Three of Hawaii’s islands: Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii island itself, often referred to as the Big Island, give surfers endless options to learn, practise and perfect their surfing technique. Hawaii boasts a rich tradition of surfing, so it’s not surprising, that the islands have a strong reputation for being home to some of the best waves in the world.
Its notoriety means there is an abundance of surf schools waiting to give visitors their first taste of the sport. Below we’ve selected 10 of the best surf schools on Hawaii’s islands, taking into account past reviews, location and price.
Kahlalu’u Surf & Sea
From $99 / per person
Kahalu’u Bay Surf & Sea will help visitors discover and surf the best spots of Hawaii Island. Located in Kona, this surf school offers surfboard rental as well as lessons and can assist you in finding waves that suit your experience level. Classes at this surf school are very flexible; they are designed to fit every skill level, so participants are advised to let them know their experience, and what they want to learn, then the school will sort the rest out. Safety is a priority here as the professional surf instructors receive annual training and certifications to ensure they deliver the best and safest surf lessons possible. Lessons are available in a group, as well as private or semi-private. For those more experienced surfers who know what they are doing and only want to rent surfboards, the shop has a variety available to pick from.
Hanalei Surf School offers surf and SUP lessons, and board rentals for new, intermediate, and advanced surfers. Based in Hanalei Bay, on the North Shore of Kauai, this school has world-class beaches on its doorstep. All lessons are private, which means visitors can opt to take the class on their own or with family or friends. Lessons are typically 90 minutes, with all equipment required provided by the school. The school caters to individuals of all ages and skill levels, crafting personalised packages that suit the needs of each participant. Instructors have over two decades of teaching experience, with previous students highly recommending their time with them.
Head out on the waves all-year-round with Poipu Beach Surf, on the South Shore of Kauai. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of eight people in a surf lesson, with no more than four surfers per instructor. These small groups help each surfer make the most from their class, as instructors can give personalised feedback and advice. Lessons include a quick instructional video and safety briefing, making it perfect for beginners getting to know all aspects of surfing. Instructors are all highly experienced and come with years of surf experience. The friendly team are committed to delivering high quality, safe and fun surfing experience.
Hawaiian Style Surfing is a friendly surf company based on Kauai’s sunny South Shore. Lessons at this surf school are available every day of the week, in the morning or afternoon. During classes, surfers will be taught by experienced instructors who bring years of experience and knowledge of the waves to the lesson. The school also rents surfboards, so experienced surfers, or those looking for extra practice after class, can rent them and get out on the ocean on their own.
The team at Hawaii Surfing Academy are in the business of making people happy! The crew are a mobile surf school that serves Waikiki, Honolulu and the North Shore, Haleiwa of Oahu. Group and private classes are available throughout the day, with students enjoying the high-quality instruction and passion of the instructors. Another highlight of the school is its island tours. These tours include surfing and snorkelling and are flexible to the guests’ interests: whether you want to explore a small area or tour the whole island.
Ideal for beginners, surf classes with Halakai Surf & Paddle start on land to cover the basics of surfing, before heading into the water to catch waves and hone your technique. A unique factor of classes with Hulakai is that their instructors do not use a board; instead, they swim in the water during lessons to ensure they are always available to give participants high-quality assistance and feedback. Classes include surfboard rental as well as any other equipment required. In addition to surf lessons and board rental, Halaki offers kayak, canoe and stand up paddle tours of the island, where guests experience Hawaii’s waters from a whole new perspective.
FBI (From Big Island) Surf School was founded in 2001 by local surfer Ossian, who now has over 40 years of surf experience and knowledge to share with students. The school offers group, semi-private and private lessons, which include everything participants need: from surfing equipment to instruction from experienced surfers. Classes are taught at Kahalu’u Beach Park and are open to those of all ages and skill levels.
At Endless Summer Surf School, visitors will find a group of experienced surfers who are passionate about teaching the Hawaiian tradition of surfing to people from around the world. The friendly team teach classes year-round, with the only restriction being that you are able to swim – an important safety precaution. Group classes at the school are popular and have a maximum of four surfers per class. Private lessons are also available; these lessons are best for more advanced surfers or those who want to work on specific aspects of their technique and wish individual attention. Special semi-private or private classes are available for children aged 8 – 12 years old.
Surf Big Hawaii is a surf school with a difference. Not only does this school gives lessons, but they also make their own paddleboards, surfboards, bodyboards and canoes. This experience means they know exactly what they are doing; they are highly qualified and knowledgable in all things surf-related. Lessons kick off with their onshore surfboard simulator to make sure participants are confident, before paddling out to practise in the water. The school gives both private and group lessons, with groups not exceeding more than two to three surfers per instructor to ensure you receive personalised feedback. Surf Big Hawaii also offer SUP and standup surfing lessons.
Go Nuts offers private individual or group lessons on the island of Oahu island, also known at the heart of Hawaii. These lessons take place in Waikiki or Diamond Head, depending on ocean and wind conditions, and classes on the North Shore are also available on request. As well as surf instruction, Go Nuts offer surfboard and SUP board rental, sales and lessons. Classes are given by warm and welcoming professional instructors, who are lifeguard certified and bring with them years of experience, knowledge and a heartfelt passion for what they do.