You’ll find surfing is a way of life in Waikiki. There’s a long history here of welcoming visitors to learn how to catch a break and ride the big one that continues on to today with several surf schools offering private, group, and customized surf tours for reasonable prices, as well as boards and gear.

Koa Board Sports (2420 Koa Ave., 808/923-0189, 10am-6pm daily) has a huge selection of longboards and shortboards available for rent. Rates go from $20 for a half day, $25 for one day (overnight), to $50 for two days. You can also change the board anytime the shop is open.

Surfboard rack on the ocean shore in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Surfboard rack on the ocean shore in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo © alexanderphoto/123rf.

Hans Hedemann Surf Adventures (2586 Kalakaua Ave., 808/924-7778, 8am-5pm daily) is located in the Park Shore Hotel between Starbucks and the hotel lobby. The surf school specializes in surf lessons out at Publics. You will have to carry a soft-top longboard from the retail outlet to the break, about a 10-minute walk. They also offer stand-up paddle lessons, guided surf adventures, and surfboard rentals.

If you prefer to rent your board right on the beach or take a lesson with one of Waikiki’s famous beachboys, then you’ll want to check out some of Waikiki’s vetted beach services. Faith Surf School, operated by the legendary Moniz family, offers their expertise at several beach locations: the Outrigger Reef (2169 Kalia Rd., 808/924-6084), the Outrigger Waikiki (2335 Kalakaua Ave., 808/926-9889), and the Sheraton (2255 Kalakaua Ave., 808/922-4422). They rent longboards starting at $20 per hour and offer 1.5-hour group lessons for $60 and private lessons for $125.

Aloha Beach Services (808/922-3111, 8am-4pm daily), serving guests since 1932, has a small palapa, but a lot of boards, in between the Outrigger Waikiki and the Moana Surfrider. They rent longboards for $15 per hour and $5 each additional hour and have one-hour group lessons for $40 and private lessons for $80. They also have a photo package with the group lesson and rent beach umbrellas, chairs, and air mats and rings. Aloha Beach Services accepts cash only.

You’ll find Star Beachboys (no phone, 8am-4pm daily) at the west end of Kuhio Beach Park, by the concession stand and the bathrooms. They rent 8- to 10-foot longboards for $10 per hour and 11- to 12-foot boards for $15 per hour with a $5 charge for each additional hour. They also have one-hour group lessons for $40 and private lessons for $75. On the sand just to the east of the Duke Kahanamoku statue and at the far eastern end of Kuhio Beach Park are the Hawaiian Ocean Waikiki (808/721-5443) beachboys. They have one-hour group lessons for $40 and two-hour private lessons for $100. They also rent longboards starting at $10 per hour and shortboards for $15 per hour, with $5 each additional hour or $35 for a half day. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, as well.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.