Hands down, Lahaina is one of the best spots on Maui if you are a beginner surfer.
The area boasts a number of easily accessible beginner waves that
offer gentle rides and are perfect for learning how to surf.
Breakwall and Launiupoko are two of the most popular beginner spots,
but are extremely crowded.
Popular with weekend crowds and longboarders, Launiupoko offers multiple surf spots that are great for beginners when the waves are small, but can also challenge intermediate/advanced surfers during larger swells. In general Launiupoko is an extremely friendly waves, especially suited for families, keiki (kids), and beginners. However be aware of shallow reef and exposed coral heads. The large, public beach park hosts basic amenities, including restrooms, showers, and BBQ grills. Towards the south (Kihei) side of the beach there is a nice sandy area to lay out your towels and post up for the day.
Note that the parking lot fills quickly on Saturdays and Sundays, with overflow parking located across the road. Most weekends Launiupoko is full to the brim with families and surfers. Although the vibe is typically very mellow, consider alternate spots or going during the weekday if you’re looking for a less crowded place to hone your surfing.
North of Launiupoko is Puamana, a small beach park
whose name encompasses a few nearby surf spots. The
main surfing wave is located directly in front of the
public parking lot and here you will find longboarders
and Stand Up Paddle boarding. Puamana is a great
beginner surfing spot as the waves are typically smaller
and it is only a short paddle from the beach to the
During high tide watch out for rocks as you enter and
exit the water. Just to south is another wave that
provides excellent waves for beginners. This
uncrowded, secluded wave is perfect for your private
surfing lesson and is a favorite of Maui Surf Lessons.
It is easily accessible from the highway and offers
gentle, beginner waves.
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Named “Shark Pit” for the white tip reef sharks that reside
along the nearby reef, this is a popular spot frequented local
Lahaina surfers. The wave can be powerful and fast and offers
fun rides for intermediate/advanced surfers. There is a
public beach access off of Front Street, but parking is
extremely limited. Beginner surfers are better off going north
to Breakwall or south to Puamana or Launiupoko.
Typically a small, forgiving wave, Breakwall is located directly in front of the rock breakwall that protects Lahaina Harbor. Breakwall is an extremely popular beginner surfing spot known for its year-round consistency. It is also a favorite wave for longboarders. Locals and visitors flock to this wave, and the majority of Lahaina-based surf schools use Breakwall as their main teaching spot.
That being said, the area can be overrun by LARGE “surf schools” during the day. Expect particularly intense crowds between the hours of 8am – 2pm and multiple people sharing waves. To provide a more private, one-on-one experience, Maui Surf Lessons teaches at more secluded waves located to the south of Breakwall. While the general attitude is more laidback at Breakwall, you should always remember to be courteous to other surfers.
Across the boat channel from Breakwall is Lahaina Harbor, a fast breaking wave perfect for intermediate/advanced surfers. This spot is usually packed with local up-and-coming surfers and is one of the best surf spots on Maui during the summer.
The reef here can get very shallow and the currents can be strong, especially during big surf. Both the wave and crowd can be intense at Lahaina Harbor, especially if the surf is really good. Non-surfers and beginner surfers can still join in on the fun, though, and watch the wave from the sidewalk or any number of waterfront restaurants situated along Front Street.
Mala is Lahaina’s last wave as you drive towards Kaanapali. The spot can offer fun, left hand waves for experienced longboarders. The crowd, however, is typically tight knit and can be intense if you are a new surfer. The reef at Mala can also be quite shallow and the wave itself usually breaks best on big summer swells. This one is best left to local