Water Sports on Kauai

Not participating in at least one water sport during your vacation on Kaua‘i means you aren’t doing your trip justice. Even if it’s just going for a relaxing swim in the gentle waters of Kalapaki Bay, any kind of water sport is a highly recommended activity for all travelers to the Garden Isle.

Recreational activities in the ocean are a primary reason people flock to Kaua‘i, not only for travel purposes but to live as well. That’s because a good romp in the water is fun and one of the most adventurous pastimes we get to treat ourselves to.

Surfing is a hailed water sport on Kaua‘i. Schools that teach you the basics are located around the island. Titus Kinimaka’s School of Surfing provides lessons at Hanalei Bay, Po‘ipū Beach Surf School gives classes on the sunny south shore and Kalapaki Beach Boys sets up shop at Kalapaki Bay in Līhu‘e. Most schools are in areas where waves are smaller and ideal for beginners. Only professional surfers with extensive backgrounds should even attempt getting in the water at any unsupervised locations.
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A relatively new water sport that’s gained massive popularity on Kaua‘i in the past decade is stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Many of the same places that teach surf lessons also have lessons for SUP, as well as boards available for rent. This activity can be difficult in a rocky ocean however, so if you’re seeking a more relaxing cruise, drift along one of the rivers with fantastic scenery like Hanalei.

More leisurely water sports include going for a dip in the ocean. Just make sure you’re doing so at one of the lifeguarded beaches – Anahola, Hā‘ena, Lydgate, Hanalei, Kē‘ē, Keālia, Kekaha, Po‘ipū, Salt Pond and Wai‘oli. These are also ideal spots if you want to safely snorkel. Still, always be mindful of rip tides that can sweep you out to sea without any warning.

Kayaking is another water sport that has always enchanted visitors on Kaua‘i. That’s because the activity allows people to see otherwise inaccessible places around the island like the Nāpali Coast or Uluwehi Falls, also known as “Secret Falls,” near the Wailua River.

From the technological advances of windsurfing, paragliding and wakeboarding has come a water sport called kiteboarding. This is an extreme sport that takes wind, guts, the right equipment and a lot of practice. Mahaʻulepu, the last undeveloped shoreline on Kauai’s southern coast in Poʻipū, is much more than an exquisite beach and favorite windsurfing spot. Kiteboarders are often seen at Fuji (Baby) Beach in Kapaʻa, at Wailua Beach and at Hanalei Bay on the North Shore. Lessons and equipment are available at schools throughout the island.

The number of water sport options that exist are too numerous to list and that’s exactly why you must make at least one a priority during your Kaua‘i vacation.

Couple kayaking at Makua beach | Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds

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