To most visitors, Maui is a paradise of golden beaches, verdant jungles and breathtaking sunsets. But to surfers, Maui is a treasure trove of quality surf spots.

Surfing in Maui

The island boasts a number of breaks that cater to a range of ability levels. And let’s not forget about the balmy 78-degree year-round seas. No wetsuit required!

Whether you’re interested in learning to surf or a lifelong surfer looking to flee frigid water temps back home, our comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about surfing in Maui.

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Best Beginner Surf Spots On Maui

Just starting out? You came to the right place! There are a host of beginner surf spots on Maui. These breaks are also where most surf schools operate.




The Cove

The Cove is undeniably one of the best beginner breaks on Maui. Not only is this break centrally located in the heart of Kihei, but the sandy entry and small, mellow waves will make your first time surfing a breeze.

Cove Park Kihei

Several surf schools operate out of The Cove, and you’ll often see dozens of first-time surfers getting to their feet here— with the help of Maui’s best surf instructors.

Stay in one of our nearby Kihei vacation rentals and hit the waves at The Cove every morning!


West Maui



Ukumehame is a long strip of beach located off Honoapiilani Highway. This break is also known as ‘Thousand Peaks’ because there are nearly a dozen different peaks to choose from!


Thousand Peaks is a popular break for surf lessons because of its soft rolling waves, sandy entry, and central location between Kihei and Lahaina. This break also affords surfers beautiful views of the West Maui Mountains while in the water. Always apply reef-safe sunscreen at least 20 minute before your surf session.


Lahaina Breakwall

This is one of the most popular places to learn how to surf on Maui, but it is reflected in heavy crowds.

Lahaina Breakwall

The waves here are soft, but the reef is sharp, and you’re often sharing the break with dozens of other first-timers, so things can get hectic. The Breakwall can be a fun option if you spend a day in Lahaina, but spots like The Cove and Ukumehame might yield a better experience for beginning surfers.

Alii line smallerBest Maui Surf Schools

Some of the best Maui surf schools are conveniently located near our top-rated South Maui vacation condos! Maui Surfer Girls, Maui Waveriders, Rivers to the Sea, Maui Beach Boys, Waves Hawaii Surf School, and Big Kahuna Adventures are all reputable surf schools with years of experience teaching visitors how to surf. They’ve helped countless people catch their very first wave!

Maui Surf Schools


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Expert Spots

If you are familiar with surf etiquette and are adept on a shortboard, check out these expert spots. These Maui surf breaks are not for beginners.






Sidewalks occasionally has a wave in Kihei for shortboarders. This wave is a fast-breaking left-hand beach break.

sidewalks surf spot

Sidewalks is located near the southern tip of Keawakapu Beach (the opposite end of the Mana Kai). It needs a big southwest, west, or west-northwest swell to start breaking.  It also has to squeeze by our outer islands, which is rare.  If you see a wave here, you’re lucky, and it’s probably packed.


West Maui


Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay is hands-down the most famous wave on Maui. The waves here break along a cliffside over a shallow reef, and the hollow right-handers are what surfers’ dreams are made of.  Again, this one is fickle and doesn’t break as consistently or big as the north shore.

Honolua Bay has several breaks, but the Point and the Cave are the most popular. The Point is rippable and more forgiving, while the Cave produces fast pitching barrels. Only paddle out if you are an expert surfer.

Honolua Bay

Honolua breaks on big northwest swells. For non-experts, this is a GREAT place to watch Maui’s best surfers do their thing!  If it’s even remotely good, you’ll be able to watch hundreds of surfers duke it out over the waves.


North Maui



Hookipa offers a variety of breaks, from fast-breaking shallow right-handers to lefts that roll over deep water.

Hookipa has tricky entry and exit points and strong currents that aren’t suitable for beginner or even experienced mainland surfers. This break is also on Maui’s exposed north shore, and the trade winds often make most breaks here too windy to surf. Hookipa is one of the most consistent waves on Maui, breaking on every swell direction but south.

Hookipa Beach Park

Like Honolua Bay, Hookipa offers a great vantage point for non-surfers to watch Maui’s best take to the waves. On windy days, you’ll also see some of the world’s top windsurfers speeding along the waves on the western edge of the beach.

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Swell Seasons

Most of Maui’s surf breaks are seasonal, relying on swells from the south or the north.


Summer – South Swell Season

Summer is south swell season in Maui. South swells usually start appearing in March or April and can continue as late as October.

summer swells on Maui

Big storms in the Southern Hemisphere send south swells to Hawaii. South swells are ideal for the breaks in Kihei and Lahaina, like The Cove and Ukumehame.  We usually get at least one swell per summer that has size, but it’s mostly small throughout the year.


Winter – North Swell Season

In winter, storms in the North Pacific Ocean send massive waves to Maui’s shores. The winter season provides swells from the north and west, creating ideal conditions at breaks like Honolua and Hookipa.  Keep in mind that these swells are raw and fast.  You can be out on a 2 foot day, and the next set outside is triple overhead.  It happens more than you’d think.

Winter swells on Maui


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Surfboard Rentals


Don’t feel like dishing out hundreds of dollars in baggage fees to bring your surfboard to Maui? Here are the best places to rent surfboards.

Boss Frogs

With locations all over the island, not only can you get the right board for your skill-level and size at Boss Frogs, but you can get tips on where to go, and rent gear for snorkeling, SUP, and a myriad of other beach activities at a discount.

Hi-Tech Surf Sports

Hi-Tech has 3 locations, but board rentals are only available in Kahului. They have a wide selection of rentals, from performance shortboards to foam longboards.

Surf Shack

Located on the ground floor of the Mana Kai, the Surf Shack is the go-to rental shop in Kihei. The Surf Shack boasts a plethora of surfboard rentals but also rents beach gear like chairs, coolers, and snorkel gear.

Surf Club Maui

Want to fit in a quick sesh at the Cove? Head over to Surf Club Maui, where you can snag a two-hour board rental for $35. If you’re just starting out, Surf Club Maui offers daily surf lessons, too!

Maui surfboard rentals


Ready to catch some epic waves here on Maui in 2023?

Book a stay with Ali’i Resorts today! We can’t wait to see you shredding it up on the island.