Hawaii vacation help

Hello everyone,

my family is planning a trip to hawaii this summer.  At this point we are planning on Oahu in the middle of July.  I am hoping for some advice on where we should stay/surf.  We plan on renting a house through airbnb or another similar site.  My sons are decent surfers and were looking for some fun waves, but we don’t need the best waves in the world.  We live in Santa Cruz and they usually surf the hook if that helps.  My wife and daughter would love some other things to do.  We will most likely rent a car, so driving a short distance to spots is fine.  We’re respectful surfers, but it’s a vacation and I really don’t want to get hassled because we’re haole.  Does anyone have suggestions on breaks to surf and general areas to stay.  Thanks

oahu in summer is all about south shore…  stay somewhere in waikaki as you may be able to walk to beach…  if you stay further away the traffic  is really a stoke killer,  as for waves , what i have found is that the biggest misconception is that  south shore is all mushy longboard waves…  not true… those spots in front of ala moana park can get really hollow… and ala moana can be really good and crowded and localized…  kaisers next to ala moana can be a heavy wave also…  further down towards waikaki is all longboarding and quite a paddle…  over in front of the zoo is a spot called publics that can get good… a long left that usaually ends on dry reef…  so there ya go …  from ala moana thru kaisers is shortboarding. from #4s thru queens is longboarders , then all the spots out to diamond head are short board spots…  tons of spots and waves… you will be suprised…

I think Sadony pretty much nails it. I’ll add that there are fun waves across Magic Island and all the way over to Kewalo’s then up the west side as well. Some little nooks and crannies on Kam Hwy up towards Waianae that if you’re up early enough can be fun before the crowds (actually, that goes for a lot of spots in and near town as well). The more surf there’s been before you arrive, the more likely you are to find a mellower, less wave hungry local crew. If there’s no surf in town, go up the east side for some wind swell action, some easy access spots along with some that are a bit harder to get to. Probably the most consistent waves in summer time.

PM tridles, he stays in Waikiki near the beach when he comes over and he fins really good deals. I always like it when he comes because he brings waves with him. Don’t rent boards from the beach concessions, rent them from a shop, you get better rates.

There’s waves all over, so you may find head high surf on the NS or West side. If I was worried about being Haole, I’d be cautious about the West side, but anywhere you go just be cool and you should be fine. My mainland friends like Tridles (Les Waddel) and Keith Melville have a great time when they are here.

Take the hike up to the top of Diamond Head and the Makapuu lighthouse trail. Bring your camera. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car when you go to Makapuu. Rent kayaks and paddle out to the Mokuluas. Go to the Polynesian Cultural Center and see what our cultures are all about, watch the evening show. Take a 15 minute catamaran cruise off of Waikiki and see the south coast from the water. May is too late for whale watching, but that is another fun way to see the island from the ocean.

If you have the funds, stay at a beach front hotel in Waikiki and you can get up early to surf, then go off and site see all day, come back and surf before it gets dark. I have friends that staycation that way all the time. I haven’t done it for a while, because I live in the hills above Waikiki, so it’s a short drive to get to the beach. If you drive into Waikiki for the day, there’s parking at the zoo. You have to pay, but you can stay for several hours.

Do your research online for things to do. Surf is free, everything else may have a fee.

Thanks for the info. I’ve been doing some research and talking to some friends/coworkers and I think we’re going to split the time between Oahu and Kauai.  It looks like the south shore is the place to go on Kauai in July as well. Anyone have any info on the best spots and areas to look?

Thanks again

My 2 cents…

I assume it is the kids, yeah?

#1 Good base tan

#2 Good respectful attitude

All Islands

Town (Honolulu)

Get a good parking spot by your digs

Queens Surf…

The kids will do fine.

Have them seek Kaisers…

Raised “Boy” there.

Once he had it

We changed from the tobacco breakfast smell and high-rises.

To a scarred Kauai spot

A BIG difference

And the true Hawaii…

Respect and enjoy the Aloha…

Eh, nice to base in Poipu, just don’t get stuck with the crowded spots

Explore and repect…

Pakala’s on Kauai near Waimea is my favorite left ever.  You need a south west swell.  You want to catch it early in the morning.  On Oahu, I love three’s also early in the morning.

Great info, thanks.  

Mattwho, the toughest part of your suggestion is the base tan!  We wear full suits all year long where we live.   By that time of summer my sons faces, hands, and feet are dark brown, but the rest of them is their normal half pocho color.  I figured we would wear rash guards and a lot of sunscreen.

Another question. all along I had been thinking we would bring boards with us.  I shape my own, so I’m not too woried about dings.  But my sons ride custom high performance boards from a local SC shaper.  Can I rent quality boards on both islands?  Are the costs similar?

I have checked out Cronic surfboards and a few other Board companies in Hawaii.  It might not bea bad idea to get a board built that you pick up for your stay then have them ship it back. The price of a good quality board by some of the lesser known but quality made boards is cheaper in Hawaii then in California.  shipping from Cronic was also very reasonable.  Just something to think about.   

Sharkcountry, Many years ago I stayed with a Family in the St Louis Heights. Honolulu. The view was almost a direct line to Ala Moana.  loved the view from up there.  Could see pretty much the whole south shore.  check all the surf and watch thunder storms roll in of The Ocean. 

Spent a week on the south shore of Ohau in July 1992 when coming back from a business trip to Japan where I’d been for a month.  I bought a board on consignment for $250 when I first got there (a Linden 6’6") and was staying beachfront with my girlfriend at the time, now wife.  She doesn’t surf so as others suggested, surf early and late.  I surfed where I could walk to easily.  Got good waves chest to head high every day no hassles aside from one time…

So I’m out for an evening session in the midst of a large group of surfers riding short boards and long boards.  So a set comes through and no one is paddling for it.  I spin around and start stroking.  Apparently a bad idea.  There was an older, well-tanned, probably part Hawaiian fellow on a really long board paddling for the wave from way out back.  I wasn’t in his way, not even close, but he obviously did not like that I was paddling for the same wave and the crew that was out there was kind of amazed or aghast that I even tried.  The old guy was actually growling as he got closer.  He missed the wave nor did I catch it.  I got the angriest stink eye I’ve ever received.  But I really couldn’t figure out what happened.  I wasn’t in the way; I wouldn’t have dropped in if it had gotten to the point.  I actually laughed a little to myself that I was able to cause that much anguish 20 feet to the left of this guy and deeper on the peak/wall.

The crew started saying that the haole is going to get some beef.  I’m like “what haole?”  Well the haole was me.

Well the old codger paddled directly at me on the next wave he tried for.  Three short strokes with a bit of extra reach and he missed me (and the wave).  He was not a happy camper.  The whole line-up was just waiting for something to happen.  He did the whole bull charge thing again; and once again, a swing and a miss.

Well I got the picture and paddled down a bit, caught an absolute smoker and rode it into the beach.  I look back and see Mr. Grumpy paddling his ass off into the beach.  I chose to duck into my hotel and onto our choice patio a dozen floors above the fray.  Crack a cold beer and never see surf rager ever again.  However, I did keep looking over my shoulder for the next couple of days…. Just in case.  Sold the board in consignment for $240 - $70 consignment fee and flew home.


South Shore in the morning is hard to beat. Often, you can get a whiff of bacon and eggs being prepared in the beachside hotels. 

Artz, I live up in St Louis Hts. I have a clear view of the south shore all the way from the west end to Kahala. With binoculars, I can see exactly how good the surf is. Only spots I can’t see are the Diamond Head breaks, which I tend to surf a lot. I can look down at Courts and most of Waikiki and know just how good or bad it is before I head that way. Nice sunsets too.

Hi shark my buddy has almost the same view he is on Monterey off Lurline , I am on the corner of Kuhio and Kapahululu by Jefferson school , hope your back gets better soon , the OP should check out Koa board rentals right behind the Hyatt on Waikiki beach , if he stays in Waikiki in the summer there are lots of breaks he can walk to without needing a car and if he is lucky and it gets big he will have more than he can handle from Bowls breaking like pipeline to Browns beating you like Sunset .