Surf Report: Warm and sunny, with consistent waves year-round (but best in summer). Try Canoes, an easy right break near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
Scene: Touristy. But in the water, it's pure "aloha."
Bonus: In winter, watch the pros go big at Pipeline, on the North Shore.
Wax Run: Hans Hedemann Surf Rentals, 808-924-7778, www.hhsurf.com
Hanalei Beach- Kauai, Hawaii
Surf Report: The North Shore of Kauai is best from early winter to late spring and offers a variety of breaks for beginners on up to World Champions. Next to the Hanalei pier, where veteran big wave surfer Titus Kinimaka holds his surf classes is the best spot for beginners.
Scene: The view from the water to the mountains could suck the stress out of the U.S. Congress. The North Shore of Kauai is one of the most localized surf spots in the world, but beginners generally stay in beginner spots, while the experienced surfers prowl the outer reefs.
Bonus: Up the beach a ways is Pine Trees, where Bruce and Andy Irons learned to surf and where they hold their Annual Irons Brothers Classic for up and coming Kauai surfers.
Wax Run: Hanalei Surf Co., 866-HANALEI, www.hanaleisurf.com; Titus Kinimaka Surf School, www.hawaiiactivityworld.com/kauai/surfing_lessons
Launiupoko State Wayside Park-Maui, Hawaii
Surf Report: Just south of Lahaina, Launiupoko State Wayside Park has long, rolling, easy reef waves that are perfect for beginners. This corner of Maui is protected from big winter swells and sucks in south swells. The outer reef breaks up the energy into waves perfect for beginners. Just be careful on the reefs. The coral and the vauna (urchins) are a little sharp so booties may be required.
Scene: Just like Old Polynesia: Everyone surfs, from grommets to grandma, with occasional Maui surf stars such as Buzzy Kerbox, Dave Kalama, and Laird Hamilton giving lessons to friends and family. Fun, friendly, and occasional bursts of true aloha.
Bonus: Great snorkeling when the surf is flat, great views to Kahoolawe and Lanai. Restaurants and nightlife are just up the road in Lahaina. The park has a children's wading pool, restroom, and showers.
Wax Run: Honolua Surf Company, 866-HONOLUA, www.honoluasurf.com