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July 26, 2023

Choose the Best Watersport for Your Experience Level

When planning a trip to Hawaii, the tantalizing call of its gorgeous waters is impossible to ignore. With myriad watersports available, choosing the most suitable one for your experience level can seem a bit overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the exhilarating water activities you can try on your next Hawaii adventure. From beginners to advanced, and snorkeling to big-wave surfing, we’re covering it all.

Watersports for Beginners

smiling woman under water wearing yellow goggles and giving two thumbs up

As the ultimate paradise in the Pacific, Hawaii is world-renowned for its vibrant watersport culture. Blessed with crystal-clear turquoise waters, diverse marine life, and a year-round favorable climate, the islands are a playground for watersport recreation.

Even if you’re a watersports novice, Hawaii has got you covered. You’ll find plenty of beginner-friendly activities to get your feet wet – quite literally.

Kayaking and Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP): These are two of the most accessible water sports in Hawaii, as they require minimal technical knowledge and provide a gentle introduction to ocean activities. Plus, they’re an excellent way to explore the coastline’s breathtaking beauty! Though they’re beginner activities, it’s still important to practice safety. Be sure to start in calm waters, use a safety leash on your SUP, and always wear your life jacket.

woman on paddleboard in hawaii

Snorkeling: Hawaii’s beautiful waters are full of coral reefs, exotic fish, and diverse marine species making snorkeling a popular activity for beginners. This non-intensive sport allows you to explore the underwater world just beneath the surface. It’s also one of the easiest and most economical watersports to do since all you need is your goggles and snorkel! There’s plenty to see off any of Hawaii’s shores, so be sure to bring your gear with you no matter which Hawaiian beach you’re visiting!

Mother, kid in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes

Intermediate Watersports

For those ready to take their Hawaiian adventures a notch higher, there’s nothing more exhilarating than trying your hand at surfing or sailing. These two watersports are deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and present the perfect opportunity for intermediate enthusiasts to dive deeper into the island lifestyle.

Surfing: Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and the waves here are suitable for all skill levels. For intermediate surfers visiting Oahu, Waikiki is the place to be. The gentle and consistent waves are easy to paddle into, providing a day full of fun. There are also several teachers available if you need to dust off your skills with a lesson or two first. For additional spots, check out Canoes, Publics, and Diamond Head.

young woman surfing

Sailing: With the Pacific winds in your favor, sailing around Hawaii can be a thrilling experience. Whether you want to charter a boat with a crew for a fishing excursion, dolphin watching, or sunset photography tour, or you’re an experienced sailor looking to rent a bareboat and go out with your group, sailing is an excellent way to take in the sights of Hawaii’s landscape on your next visit.

sailboat in a tropical setting

Advanced Level Watersports

For adrenaline junkies with plenty of experience, diving into the realm of windsurfing, kitesurfing, and big wave surfing offers an unparalleled experience. These high-octane watersports are not just about testing your skills and courage; they’re about fully immersing yourself in the spirit of Hawaii’s dynamic seascape.

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing: These require balance, strength, and understanding of the wind and waves. They also require specific conditions, and with Oahu’s consistent winds and impressive waves, it’s one of the best spots in the world to try these watersports. For the best winds of the season, visit June – August and look to Kailua Beach for the best waters.

man windsurfing

Big-Wave Surfing: For seasoned surfers, Hawaii’s winter months bring waves that are a true test of skills and courage. Bolstered by volcanic rock, lava tubes, and storms from the far northern regions of the Arctic Sea, the North Shore of Oahu can see heights of 20 feet (2 stories), and that’s a measurement taken from the BACK of the wave, as is customary in Hawaii. This means surfers are facing down wave faces of 40 feet or more! Due to the extreme height and surge, we recommend just sitting back and watching these monster feats of nature. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can still find waves reaching up to 12 feet, but you’ll want to visit the South and East facing shores. These smaller BIG waves still give pack a thrill!

surfer at bottom of a massive wave

Island Water Sports Hawaii: Underwater Adventures for Everyone

Any guide to Hawaii’s watersports would be incomplete without mentioning the unique activities offered by Island Water Sports Hawaii. A significant highlight is that you don’t need to be SCUBA certified for any of these activities! There’s something to pique everyone’s interest.

Underwater Submarine Scooters: Experience the thrill of cruising beneath the ocean’s surface on an underwater submarine scooter. You’ll be enclosed in a breathable air bubble, allowing you to come face-to-face with Hawaii’s unique sea creatures. This adventure is suitable for beginners as all safety instructions and equipment are provided. See beautiful octopuses, starfish, coral reefs, and tons of fish during this one-of-a-kind experience!

girl on underwater scooter excursion with Island Water Sports Hawaii

Sea-Bobs: Ever wondered what it feels like to glide underwater like a dolphin? A sea-bob adventure will make this dream come true. These high-performance machines are easy to operate and can be enjoyed by anyone comfortable in the water.

kid riding an underwater wave runner sea bob

Your Ideal Watersport Awaits

Hawaii’s diverse watersports cater to every taste and experience level. Whether you’re a beginner seeking a peaceful paddleboarding outing, an intermediate surfer ready to ride the waves, or an expert windsurfer seeking a thrilling adventure through the sky and water, your perfect Hawaiian adventure is waiting. So, dust off that swimsuit and let Hawaii’s stunning waters give you an experience of a lifetime!

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