Best Surf Spots for Beginners on Oahu, Hawaii

Did you recently move to Oahu? If you’re interested in learning how to surf, you’d probably like to know the best beginner surf spots on Oahu. For many people, surfing is one of the first that comes to mind when they think of Hawaii.

Hawaii is often referred to as the place surfing originated and the Hawaiians have been doing it for centuries. It is a gold mine of beautiful beaches, however, not all are suitable for surfing. There are so many surf breaks on Oahu, it is difficult to know which ones are beginner-friendly. Here are some of the best places to surf in Oahu Hawaii for beginners.

White Plains Beach in Oahu. Located on the southwest shores of Oahu, this surf break is a gentle, slow breaking wave that is consistent all year long. The atmosphere here is very relaxed and fun. There is a military shack where most ages (under 18 need a parent to sign a waiver) can learn to surf and rent surfing equipment. Rentals are $5 an hour, which is cheaper than most other board rentals.

Old Man’s Oahu. This surf spot is a nice mellow longboard break located straight out from the Elk’s Lodge in Waikiki. On small days, this break is one of the best places to learn to surf because of the deep waters and laid back crowd. At Old Man’s you’ll see a diverse crowd of paddleboarders, canoes, and longboarders, most of which frequent the area. Everybody seems to get along and enjoy the water, the waves, and each other’s company, which makes it fun for all.

Canoes. Located right in the heart of tourist central of Waikiki, this is probably one of the most crowded beginner surf breaks on the island. These waves are about as good as it gets for longboarding. Long rides, consistent lefts and rights, and well spaced out. The reef is also deep underwater, which makes it the perfect Waikiki surf spot for beginners.

Chun’s Reef. Located on the north shore of Oahu, Chun’s is well known as a longboard spot because the wave breaks thick and to the right. After a nice right, Chun’s drops into a nice deep channel where you can rest before you head back out. There are many places to rent boards on the north shore as well as several surf schools that offer beginner surf lessons. You are sure to see many surf lesson vans parked at Chun’s; it’s a very beginner-friendly location. General rule of thumb for north shore surf spots if you are a beginner: try not to surf during the winter season (October-March) as the waves will be much bigger during this time.

Pua’ena Point (Haleiwa Beach Park). These waves are the go-to for many surf schools in the area for both its proximity to the town of Haleiwa and for the fact that the waves here can be much smaller during big swells than other surf spots. It can be crowded on weekends and holidays, but nothing compared to Waikiki surf spots. Boards can be easily rented from the beach or from one of the several surf shops in Haleiwa town.

Surfing in Hawaii FAQ

How Much are Surfing Lessons in Hawaii?

Oahu is home to amazing surf, so there are plenty of fantastic instructors to give you the best surf lessons. Alysha Surf School is a great option, especially for beginner surf lessons on Oahu. For a group, prices start at $35/person and up. Another option for lessons is Waikiki Beach Services, who offer private lessons for $100, and private group lessons for $75/person. For lessons for a larger group, North Shore Ohana Surf School provides gear and lessons for groups up to 25 people for $75/person.

What Island has the Best Surfing in Hawaii?

While Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island all have great surf spots in their own right, Oahu has the best surfing in Hawaii. Oahu is the birthplace of surfing, so it is deeply ingrained in the culture. Oahu’s beaches offer great surfing for all levels, all throughout the year. Each of Oahu’s coasts has a unique feel, so you’re sure to find the right fit for you.

What Island is Pipeline on?

The Pipeline is a world-famous surf spot located on the North Shore of Oahu. At the Pipeline, you’ll find huge waves upwards of 10 feet, with waves breaking in shallow water over a sharp reef. This is a spot for advanced surfers only, but since the waves break near shore, it can be a fun activity to sit on the beach with a great view of the surf.

More Information

Some of the best surfing happens in Hawaii Remember to respect your fellow surfers, and when in doubt, don’t go out. Get out there, go learn, and have some fun. The waves are waiting for you.

If you would like more information about surfing, the Hawaii lifestyle, or are interested in Oahu real estate opportunities, please find a Hawaii Life agent or call at 1-800-370-3848.

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June 16, 2017

Very helpful post. Thanks Brandon!


August 16, 2017

Very important for White Plains Beach! In order to rent a board you need a military ID! Otherwise they will not serve you and there are no rentals near by …

Yo yo

July 10, 2019

Up yours for posting this. Bring more kooks in to already crowded spots.


October 14, 2021

Great article Brandon. Thank you for sharing. This is a great reference to travelers who are new to surfing and unsure which beaches to visit in Oahu. You might wanna check out this list of top surfing destinations around the world as well. Also a great reference for your next surfing adventure:


December 15, 2021

Awesome Guide! thank you. These spots looks amazing. I can’t wait to explore and surf in Hawaii. If you are keen to go to a surfing trip soon, this list will help you stay organized when packing up the things you need to bring to you holidays:

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