Kauai clutches your senses and embraces your natural instincts for adventure and outdoor living. It lies just over 100 miles northwest of Oahu, across the Kauai Channel. It is the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, much of which is national park.
The oldest of Hawaii’s main islands, Mother Earth has had time to out on an unbelievable show. Also known as the ‘Garden Isle’, Kauai is renowned worldwide by hikers and kayakers for its breathtakingly beautiful trails. Discover heavenly beaches and soaring cliffs, from the surf mecca of Hanalei Bay to the chasms of Waimea Canyon.
Weather in Kauai
Kauai’s climate is considered to be subtropical, notwithstanding its close proximity to the equator. The humidity and temperatures are not as severe as other tropical destinations, with the average temperature in summer being 27°C. Kauai climate remains quite consistent year round due to the refreshing trade wind that blows off the ocean.
The best times to visit Kauai are the season of summer and spring, between April and August. The autumn and winter months are generally less crowded, however this is the island’s wet season.
Today getting to Kauai is much simpler and faster than in years past. You can get a non-stop direct to Oahu and a quick Hawaiian air flight and there you go. About 10 hours and your there. There is also a non-stop to San Francisco with a connecting flight direct to Lihue. Check the prices for your best deal
Although there are fantastic spots on each coast of Kauai, the Spot is Hanalei on the North coast. Open directly to the Winter North Pacific swells, it catches every swell and can often be a few feet bigger than Oahu.
Hanalei Bay is one of the most well-known spots on the island, and there are many other spots in and around the bay. Hanalei itself is a long right point that breaks on the western side of the bay, breaking for up to 300 yards over lava reef. It is a fairly powerful wave with occasional barrel sections that ends with an inside bowl section in the middle of the bay.
Farther north, up and around the point from Hanalei, is a reef break right called Hideaways. Further inside the bay is an inconsistent break called Pine Trees, which needs a larger swell and a good sandbar set-up at the river mouth. Directly across Hanalei Bay from the main point is a fickle left reef break called Waikokos, which needs a large north swell and west wind.
Ha’Ena Bay (Cannons/Tunnels)
Heading west past Hanalei and Wainiha Bays, you’ll run into beautiful Ha’ena Beach, a goofy or regular footer’s dream in the winter. On the eastern side of the shallow bay is Tunnels, a right-hander breaking over shallow reef that on a proper North-East swell quickly makes you realize this wave has a very appropriate name. The paddle-out to Tunnels is a long one, but gets you warmed up for the waves waiting beyond. On the other side of the bay is Cannons, an equally hollow and shallow left that really gets going on a solid North-West swell. The paddle-out to Cannons isn’t as long as Tunnels. Like most surf spots in Kauai, Ha’ena is breathtaking — crystal clear water and jagged green mountains rising beyond the white sand beach. Ha’ena is, however, a popular surf spot, especially in winter, and visiting surfers should pay special attention to the local crew in the water at all times.
Anahola Bay is usually a mellow spot that is good for all levels (depending on swell size). Located on the northeastern lobe of the island, Anahola Beach is classic Kauai. The Kalalea Mountains rise to the west, the beach sand is white, and the waves break beyond a tranquil inside, out on the northern edge of the barrier reef. The inside is great for snorkeling and the grommets, with a fun bodyboarding and/or bodysurfing shorebreak near the mouth of Anahola River. The main wave, which breaks over reef and can be only for intermediate to experienced surfers when the waves are pumping, has a wide swell window from the North Pacific and favors south-to-west wind that is common during the passage of storm fronts, which are common in the winter months, when Anahola’s potential is at its best.
Heading northwest on Kaumaualii Highway, just past Barking Sands beach and Mana Point, you’ll hit the end of the road at Polihale State Park. Before you will be seven miles of sweeping, golden beach that ends at the colossal feet of the Na Pali Coast, where the untouched wilds of Kauai’s western shore begin. Along Polihale beach there are numerous beachbreak set-ups to enjoy in both summer and winter. Unlike nearby Mana, Polihale picks up more swell from the North than the South Pacific, though a good South swell will wrap in just fine. Like Polihale, combo swells will yield the best surf, distributing fun peaks up and down the beach. Because Polihale is so sweeping and predominately sand, watch out for shifty surf and strong currents during larger swell events. If you’re on Kauai, whether there is surf or not, you don’t want to miss Polihale State Park — it’ll mesmerize you.
Pakalas is a long left that barrels as it wraps around the point on the south side of the bay. It is fast, powerful and best on an overhead swell. The lower the tide, the hollower Pakalas gets, but exercise caution because the bottom is coral reef. On weaker swells, Pakalas is far less hollow and a mellower surfing experience overall. Checking Pakalas is a bit tricky, as you can’t easily see it from the road. Follow the cars parked along the side of the road.
There are many other surf spots littered all along the coast of Kauai. One of my favorites was Majors Bay. I heard about it from a local who said it was best on a North-West when it was big. After driving all over the Western side of the island, we could see the surf but couldn’t figure out how to get to it. Barking Sands Naval Base stands along a larger area blocking access to the Surf. After going crazy, we finally stopped a carload of local and asked them, How do we get to the Surf?
They told us you just go up to the main gate and yell the heavily armed military guards you want to go surfing……….. Crazy! They just give you a pass and let you on to a nuclear missile base. Take the trip, it’s definitely a great wave and experience!