Looking for some advice about trip to Hawaii next winter (Late December- Early January after Triple Crown). I'm looking to spend some time on the North Shore and on Maui. It'll be my first experience with reef breaks or signifigant surf travel off the East Coast. Any recommendations to areas/spots with a mellower less localized vibe where I can gain some experience in waves with a little reef break juice? Also reccomendations for a good step-up board (I won't be charging any huge waves though)? Also any recommendations for cool stuff to do other than surfing (I'm also into diving) in and out of the water? Thanks.
if your not looking for huge waves wait till spring and check out south shore oahu its a solid 4-5 everyday itll be good practice then check out the north shore its not a long drive from the south to north shore
Advice: When the wave breaks here, don't be there Brah, or ya gonna get drilled! Also do not hook up with Occy and go steal sugar cane from the fields.
But yeah if you don't want big waves and crows wait till spring. I would bring a quiver of 3-5 boards depending on how long you will be there. Course that can be costly so maybe look at renting sticks when there. You will likely need different sizes and could break a few.
Hawaii is a great call, especially at the time you are going. Since you've never been before, I'd recommend hanging in and around Haleiwa town. It's a cool town and a great jumping off point. There are two breaks on either side of Haleiwa Harbor that can keep you pretty happy. Specifically, Pu'ena Point on the east side of the harbor is a great place to introduce yourself to Hawaiian surf. A friendly crowd and smaller waves than most North Shore breaks will give you plenty of opportunity to work your way up. If the waves are too small for Pu'ena (the geography of the break means it needs a bigger swell size to start breaking,), you can go across the harbor to Haleiwa Ali'i beach park. Things move faster there, but the crowd is still quite friendly, especially on smallish weekday mornings.
If the surf gets too big, (say Waimea starts breaking and you start to feel uncomfortable at the north shore breaks), head around the west side to Pokai Bay (near Waianae). This is another sheltered break (also called Rest Camp), and since one of the entrances to the bay is controlled by the Army (the other entrance is a city and county of Honolulu beach park), you shouldn't stand out much.
As for reef breaks, just don't fall feet first and you should be fine. Truth be told, the reef break waves will likely make you feel like a better surfer due to their quality.
Have fun, and know that nothing will get you more respect in Hawaii than humility, a smile, and a friendly disposition!
Just go and have fun- know your limits and don't be intimidated- its way easier to surf a 6 to 8 ft wave there then it is here. Look out for shallow reefs and don't stand on them. south shore can be mellower but shallower. Go out where the crowds are- its crowded everywhere- and if you find a spot that looks good with no one out, don't go out... there is probably a reason. Just have fun and explore- smile and be friendly- if they drop in on you (they will) just let them go, and get the next wave. If its big- know your limits and look for a channel to paddle out. If its flat everywhere- there is usually a waist to chest hi wave in diamond head.
Also- great advise from the guy above...
There is always a wave somewhere. the whole south shore during our winter is usually 2-4 ft north shore goes off, Haleiwa is a ton of fun and you can get some dynamite shrimp at the trucks. As far as non surfing related things, the diamond head trail is pretty cool, good photo ops and a awesome waterfall at the top. There is a small aquarium right by diamond head as well you can kill an hour there small zoo nearbye, another hour, get lost driving to north shore cause your to stubborn to ask... 2 hours. take a drive on the north shore checking out all the breaks. Tons of diving at Haleiwa harbour, whale watching... sharks... reefs... south shore you can freee dive Waikiki tons of people out their daily trying to get dinner. Really friendly as long as you respect them, dont drop in... there are tons of waves for everyone. if you surf the south shore longboard or grovler, if you want to go north shore standard hpsb.... you wont need a step up. trust me your not going out on a 12 ft day at pipe lets be real. its heavy and scary and you dont the reef well enough.. its grounding how powerful it is. have fun and just enjoy the beauty.
I go to Kauai 3 times a year. I would take a trip to Kauai. PK's, Poipu, Hanalei, tunnels, are some great breaks. of course, most are shallow reef breaks. I got ****ed up nice and good about 4 years ago surfing in the 1 mile paddle to the outside break off of Tunnels.