Surf Kauai’s Hanalei Bay

Surf. Hike. Eat. Repeat.

Mar 11, 2012
Outside Magazine

The Sell: Consistent waves and a gnarly hike with an unrivaled view.
The Grit:
There’s a good reason why world-class surfers and stand-up paddlers call Hanalei Bay home. The two-mile-long, half-moon bay is never short of reliable 25-foot waves come winter. March and April bring mellower surf for the rest of us. Experts should line up beside the likes of Bethany Hamilton and Bruce Irons on the outer reefs to catch six-foot-plus rollers, while amateurs can surf the inside beach break. Or sign up for surf lessons at professional surfer Titus Kinimaka’s Hawaiian School of Surfing. For $65, a native Kauaian guide will teach experienced surfers how to ride the outside break. Brand new? The instructor will provide a board and long-sleeve rash guard and have you surfing mellow swells within 90 minutes. Reserve a room at Hanalei Inn (starting at $139) just a block from the bay. Locals frequent Hanalei Fish Market, located behind the equally beloved The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant, for fresh sushi, sashimi, and tuna sandwiches. Cut loose at the Tahiti Nui, a bar treasured by the local community and tourists for its World Famous Tahiti Nui Mai Tais. End your trip with one of the world’s most dangerous hikes, the 11-mile-long Kalalau Trail, a 13-minute drive from the bay. The crumbling, narrow trail was originally built in the late 1800s and snakes along the Na Pali Coast and past 300-foot sheer drop-offs before reaching Kalalau Beach, a roughly one-mile-long stretch of sand backed by sheer, fluted cliffs. You can camp on the beach for $20 per person; permit required.
The Verdict:
The perfect outing for surfers looking to explore a little.

Filed To: Surfing, Kauai