West Maui December Surfing
August 5, 2009 10:02 AM   Subscribe

West Maui (Kaanapali beach) in late December. Is the surf going to be appropriate for a beginner?

My family and I are going to be staying at the Hyatt in West Maui in late December and I hear that the waves can be epically huge in December on the North shores of Hawaii. What will the western shores of Maui be like? I couldn't get a straight answer out of the concierge.
posted by GleepGlop to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you looking to surf? Kaanapali isn't really a surfing destination...

I stayed here a couple of years ago in November and the surf wasn't very big at all... did some fun snorkeling right off the beach though. I swam in some nice big waves on Makena Beach.

Great vacation - Have fun!
posted by LakesideOrion at 10:23 AM on August 5, 2009

Actually, check out the waves yourself... Kaanapali Beach Webcam
posted by LakesideOrion at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2009

From this page:

"December - A winter month on Maui, with fairly frequent cold fronts sweeping over the island, bringing showery periods, with sometimes gusty winds. Still, December has its fair share of warm and balmy days as well! Medium to large surf is very common on the North and West shores of the island. One of the wettest months of the year, with some rainy days .although the areas around Kihei and Lahaina on the leeward sides of the island see less moisture than do the wetter windward sections in general. Tradewinds are blowing on the average 57% of the time. Sea water temperature averages about 76 degrees F. "

I'm hoping to go in either October or November myself -- if you're going in December, keep an eye out for whales!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:27 AM on August 5, 2009

What will the western shores of Maui be like?

That's in the general vicinity of where the surfing school goes out (I think it's closer to Lahaina actually).

There will be no actual waves on that side of the island IME (been there twice in December, once in June). The "Big Monday" stuff comes from atmospheric conditions up in the arctic steadily blowing water at Hawaii. You'll note that W Maui is in the wave shadow of Molokai so gets absolutely none of that, and if a Kona storm is blowing Lanai and Kaho'olawe do their fair share of wave-blocking.

I've seen spots in W Maui with pretty good surf for learning. Knee-high or so.
posted by @troy at 10:29 AM on August 5, 2009

Speaking as a lifetime beginning boogie-boarder who's swam at Oahu's Waikiki Beach, Sandy's, Makapu, and watched a surf contest at Sunset (North Shore), you want waves no larger than knee-high--as @troy mentions above.
posted by doncoyote at 11:14 AM on August 5, 2009

There are fine learner waves in Lahaina year round. It never gets big like the Oahu north shore. But then again, almost nothing does.
posted by zpousman at 11:57 AM on August 5, 2009

Kaanapali was pleasant but small waves the entire time I was there. I did see numerous kite boarders there though.

The biggest surf I personally saw on Maui was at a large beach area just east of Paia on the Hana Highway (google map link). It appears to be called Hokipa Park. It was way bigger than I would want to even try, but was fascinating to watch the surfers and wind surfers attempt it. This place was absolutely packed with local surfers.

There was even a helicopter filming over the area the day we were there.
posted by jsonic at 2:49 PM on August 5, 2009

Weird. I'm going there too in December and trying to get a reasonable priced plane ticket.

All this info helped me out. I'm gonna be looking out for whales, I don't know about Surfing 101 though...
posted by schindyguy at 6:08 PM on August 5, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the info guys, I'll try some surfing if it seems viable, otherwise I'll just do something else methinks! At least it seems like I'll be able to venture into the water and I didn't accidentally go to a spot that will be daredevils only at that time of year...
posted by GleepGlop at 9:24 AM on August 6, 2009

Response by poster: Well I gave it a shot, took two steps into the water and stepped on some coral and sliced my big toe. Went back and got some surf shoes which I apparently 'didn't really need' and went to catch a few waves. A big boulder-sized coral went by my head and I called it a day. The coral is everywhere in Hawaii. There are beginners getting lessons all over the place but I would definitely warn against a beginner going out alone. The instructors know exactly where the bad coral spots are and can guide you away. I still don't understand how people aren't getting owned out there. Learning involves falling off the board in spectacular fashion. That coral could put a dent in your vacation...
posted by GleepGlop at 5:48 PM on February 26, 2010

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