If you’re looking for fun on the water, there’s a lot more on offer on O‘ahu’s North Shore than its fabled surfing. Stand-up paddling, kayaking, and diving abound, and you can even rent water bikes or paddle boats.

Hale‘iwa is the hub of stand-up paddling and kayaking on the North Shore, largely because of the ‘Anahulu River and the protected and calm waters off Hale‘iwa Beach Park. You can access the shoreline in the small parking lot next to Surf N Sea or along Hale‘iwa Beach Park. From there, you can paddle around the shallow rivermouth, north to Pua‘ena Point and beyond, or head upriver for a smooth and mellow ride.

The conditions are best in the summer when the ocean surface is flat.On the North Shore, stand-up paddling is popular at Waimea Bay, Laniakea, and Chun’s Reef. The conditions are best in the summer when the ocean surface is flat. Chun’s and Laniakea often have very small waves in the summer, so you can even try surfing the stand-up board.

Stand-up paddling, kayaking, and diving abound on O’ahu’s North Shore.

Stand-up paddling, kayaking, and diving abound on O’ahu’s North Shore. Photo © Starr Environmental, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

In Hale‘iwa, Surf N Sea (62-595 Kamehameha Hwy., 808/637-9887, 9am-7pm daily) rents single kayaks for $7 the first hour, $5 for each additional hour, $20 for a half day, and $75 for a full day. Their weekly rate is $300. Stand-up paddle boards rent for $10 for the first hour, $8 for each additional hour, and $40 for a full day. The weekly rate is $200. They also rent water bikes and pedal boats and have the distinction of being situated on the bank of the river mouth for easy ocean access.

Hawaii Eco Divers (61-101 Iliohu Pl., 808/499-9177, 7:30am-9pm daily) offers a two-hour Hale‘iwa Beach and River Tour all year long for $79. In the summer they also have a three-hour Waimea Bay Tour for $109 and a four-mile drift Sunset Beach to Waimea Bay Tour for $125. Snorkeling gear is included for both summer tours.

At the Turtle Bay Resort, Hans Heddeman Surf (57-091 Kamehameha Hwy., 808/447-6755 or 808/293-7779, 8am-5pm daily) rents stand-up paddle boards for $25 per hour, $50 for three hours, $80 all day, $100 overnight, $50 each additional day, and $400 per week. Two-hour private lessons go for $150, semiprivate lessons are $125, and group lessons, up to four surfers, is $75. All equipment is included.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.