Best Beaches to Learn to Surf in Oahu

Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to learn how to surf in Hawaii, Oahu would be an ideal place to do it. Most people think of big waves when they think of Hawaii, but depending on the season and the break, you can find suitable conditions to learn to surf.

We found the best surf spots on Oahu for the beginner surfer.  Let’s dive in.

White Plains Beach

This surf spot is located on the southwest shores of Oahu. It offers a surf break that is gentle and slow breaking all year long. This makes it ideal for beginners who are a bit skeptical about surfing for the first time.

The waves here are relaxed and easy to ride. If you are a learner, you can find a surfing instructor or a board rental for a minimal fee at this beach.

Old Man’s Oahu

This is a gentle longboard break that is located close to the Elk’s Lodge in Waikiki. The waters at this break are the typical “still waters run deep.”

You are likely to find a sizeable crowd of longboarders and paddleboarders at this break all year long. It is a great spot to practice your surfing skills.

Chun’s Reef

This popular reef for long boarders is found on the North Shore of Oahu. Here you are likely to find bigger waves between October and March, but the other months offer more bigger-friendly conditions.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your surfboard with you. You can rent one at a good price on the North Shore.

You will also find a couple of good surf schools at this location. This is a beginner- friendly surf spot that you should try out.

Pua’ena Point

This is located on Haleiwa Beach Park and is a go-to for many people who are learning how to surf. This is because the spot has beginner-sized waves even when the swells are big.

You can rent surfboards or get a lesson from a surf school that charges by the hour. It is likely to be crowded on holidays and weekends.

Barbers Point

The surf break here is located in Kalaeloa on the leeward side of the coast of Oahu. The waves here are gentle and shallow and hence very beginner friendly.

A mix of shallow waters and offshore reef ensure that the waves are always rideable by beginners.

There is a pavilion close by for military and you are likely to spot monk seals sunbathing here. Generally, it is a good surf spot to explore but can be packed on holidays and weekends.

Queens and Canoes

This Waikiki surfing spot has friendly surfing breaks all year round. The beach is easy to access and features two breaks that are popular with surfers. This is probably one the of the best places on the Island to get a surf in.

There are several surf schools in the vicinity which also means that you are likely to bump into several learners trying to paddle their way through the overlapping waves.

Instructors are also bountiful and you may be able to get free surfing tips and techniques at this break.

If you don’t mind crowds then Waikiki will be a great surf experience for you.


This is a popular surf spot that is located close to the iconic pink Royal Hawaiian hotel on Waikiki Beach. This spot is a long stretch of sandy beach with a reef that creates the perfect surfing break.

The waves at this point are mellow and you can paddling out to them using the wide channel so you avoid getting pummeled by the incoming waves.

Beginners may be deterred by the long paddle. Although Waikiki beaches are usually crowded, you can catch a quiet moment at Pops from time to time.

That wraps up our review of the best surfing spots in Oahu. If you are learning how to surf you can make use of the many surf schools in Oahu. Most will charge you between $10- $40 per person for a class which should last for an hour or so.

Don’t be surprised to get charged $100 an hour for private lessons at some beaches. You can always rent a surfboard or swimsuit if you do not have one. Just make sure that you have the most fun as you surf.

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