Where are the big waves on Maui?
Maui is known for its beautiful beaches and large surf. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or learning the ropes, Maui has something for everyone. But where are the best spots to watch big waves? Read on to find the biggest waves on Maui.
Disclaimer: Even if you surf big head-high waves at your home break in California, Maui is on a whole different level. Seriously, you’re not ready. Sharp, shallow reefs, constantly changing conditions, strong currents with very narrow access points to the shore, and intense local surfers are just a few reasons to surf at small spots and to hire a guide. Head-high can turn to triple overhead in an instant.
If you’re learning, take a Maui surf lesson. Don’t take your chance paddling out anywhere for the first time alone.
Hoʻokipa Beach Park
Hoʻokipa Beach Park is an easy and popular destination to watch surfers. Located in Paia on the north shore of Maui, this beach is usually packed with locals and tourists alike, so it’s not really great for beach-going. Instead, just watch others tackle the waves from the upper parking lot along the cliff (at the entrance). The waves here tend to be consistently large—perfect for chargers, but it’s usually a bit messy from open exposure to wind. If there’s a really big swell, surfers won’t be able to get out, and watching from the cliffs (behind the railing) is awe-inspiring!
If you want some truly epic waves, head over to Peʻahi—also known as Jaws—on Maui’s north shore during a giant swell. This area gets its nickname from its massive swells that reach 40+ feet! It’s definitely not a spot for your rental car, as the drive is often very muddy (we’ve heard horror stories of visitors being charged thousands of dollars to be towed out.) Experienced, professional wave riders travel from all over the world to surf this world-class wave. Make a friend with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, or be willing to ruin your shoes on a very long walk back and forth.
If there’s solid swell, Honolua Bay should be at the top of your list. Located in upper West Maui, this spot is one of Hawaii’s premier surfing destinations. It takes quite a bit of swell to make this spot work, but when it’s on, it can be clean, making it a great spot for experienced surfers who want a challenge. Honolua Bay is surrounded by lush green mountains and crystal-clear waters—it’s a stunning place to spend an afternoon snorkeling if there are no waves. If you want to visit, stick to the first lookout point and be very careful driving along the muddy cliffs.
Whether you’re just starting out or are an old pro, Maui has plenty of amazing surfing spots to watch experts go big! Again, leave it to the pros and enjoy watching impressive surfing on giant waves.
***Curate your Hawaii experience even more by tuning in to the oh-so-enjoyable The Aloha 360 Podcast. Gain insight into where to go, what to do, and what NOT to do so you can have the best visit possible.***
Going To Maui’s North Shore?