Come ride the perfect wave in the Valley Isle, the nickname for the island of Maui that boasts a ring of black volcanic peaks lined with jungles, coves, and bays. When you are not surfing you can enjoy some of Maui’s best hiking trails, spectacular views, and watching the pros ride the big ones. Snorkeling, luaus, and local food vendors can also be found along these beaches, and some surfing destinations have treats for the Tiki-loving tourists. Overall, there are dozens of activities you need to try on Maui. However, one of the top reasons that adventure travelers visit Maui is to do some serious surfing. Here are the five best beaches on Maui for “hanging ten.”
Honolua Bay is home to what has been christened as the world-class wave and is the favorite Maui beach of four-time surfing champion Mark Richards. The beach is conveniently located on Maui’s northwestern coast near the luxury hotels and restaurants of Kapalua. It is known for its powerful reef break that levels the ways allowing you to surf in the emerald green wave tunnel for ages. It also has tranquil coves with colorful coral reefs and Green Sea Turtles.
Another great northern beach in the Valley Isle is Ho’okipa that features exciting swells from all directions except for south. This wild beach is better for professionals as it is fraught with a few dangers including riptides, sharp rocks, and hidden reefs. Many professional surfing events including the Red Bull and Classic surfing competitions are held there every year.
Pe’ aha Beach is also on the north shore of Maui and is recommended for professional-level surfers only. The locals have nicknamed this beach “Jaws” as the massive, fast-moving breaks seem to eat many surfers alive. Kite surfing and jet-skis towing surfers are also a common sight in these dramatic, epic surf breaks. It is a little more remote than the other northern beaches and requires a vehicle with a four-wheel drive to get there.
Olowalu Beach runs along the Honoapiilani Highway on the western side of Maui. The giant waves are very accessible along here as the beach is just a strip. You need to only pull your vehicle off the side of the highway, grab your gear and run for the high crashing peaks. However, keep in mind that the waters have been known to harbor sharks.
The Lahaina Reefs are located just north of Olowalu Beach on the west coast of the island and along the Honoapiilani Highway. This beach has many interesting breaks as well as a tower of water that originates from a deep spot behind the reefs. A break wall also adds an interesting backsplash to the experience. Lahaina is also a popular tourist destination complete with quaint shops and friendly cafes.
When it comes to surfing in Maui, stick with the tried and true spots, where there is a lifeguard, coast guard, and other services. Places such as Ho’okipa Beach, Lahaina Reefs, and Honolua Bay are also good places to find surfing instruction. Beware of any secret spots where the waves look good, as there could be a good reason why nobody is there, including the risk of encountering shallow reefs, lethal currents, or sharks. The main beaches of Maui provide plenty of fun for everyone, but especially if you are a more advanced surfer, and even if you are not a surfer at all you can enjoy hiking along the shoreline, boogie boarding, and enjoying the incredible sunrises and sunsets.