Kauai Surf – Off the (Weather) Beaten Path

250px-Kauai_from_space_orientedWhen you think of Kauai surf, most think first of Hanalei Bay’s perfection, or that unnamed gaping right-hand barrel that the Irons brothers handled with seeming ease in a video not too long ago.  The island is rich with surf–many spots named right on the tourist road maps, others that require a boat, local knowledge, or a special pass to access.

But some are right under your nose.  As you drive the beautiful coastal highway, you’ll see these spots and say, “nah” because they are usually too windy, too big, too far away, or otherwise not as good as that north shore perfection you seek.  With perfection, however, comes the crowds and if you want to get away from that, knowing when these “nah” spots are on will almost guarantee you solo or uncrowded surfing.

Hawaii FlagWinter weather can make for unpredictable winds, big windswell, or sometimes just peaky, fun conditions where huge closeouts once stood.  These aren’t “secret spots.” They can’t be a secret if you can see them as you drive by on the coast road.  But we’re not naming them.  Let’s just call them “east side” and “west side.”

The secret is to know when to go, not just where…

Kauai Sunrise & Coffee for BurningPier.com

Start your Kauai surf adventure right with a cup of Kauai coffee while viewing the sunrise. Kauai produces some of the best coffee in the world and the Hawai’ian Islands are the only place in the US where coffee is grown.  As for the sunrise, that speaks for itself…

Breakfast of Tropical Champions for BurningPier.com

Don’t leave until you’ve had a good breakfast, as you’ll likely be paddling your butt off in the winter swells.  Rambutan is in season on Kauai in the winter. Papaya is always available…

Eastside Aframes 1 for BurningPier.com

Let’s start with a “little” a-frame eye candy.  This spot is normally blown out, but easily accessible with parking, bathrooms, showers…and warning signs because of rip currents and big surf.  If in doubt, don’t go out…

Eastside A-Frame 2 for BurningPier.com

Here’s a closer look.  It’s bigger than it looks and heavier too. If you’re lucky to catch it offshore like this, you still may be surfing it alone…

Eastside A-Frame 3 for BurningPier.com

Another one–with friends out to show you where to paddle and when to duck dive. Be sure to go deep here!

Big Eastside 1 for BurningPier.com

Just down the road is this place. Cliffside view from a well-marked parking lot and exit.  This waves is about 8-10 feet on the face. Tow-in only? Depends on who you ask…

Big Eastside 3 for BurningPier.com

Just down the reef, this one is easily 10 foot + on the face with hard offshores standing it up.

Islander Reef 1 for BurningPier.com

This reef/sand “sometimes” spot fronts condos. The boys were towing in a few hundred yards outside.  You can paddle into this one.

Kauai Gas Prices

Want to head way out to the west side? With some of the highest gas prices in the U.S., on Kauai it’s really best to know when to go, rather than where to go…

Westside Kauai 1 for BurningPier.com

At the end of the road is this state beach.  Often big, unruly, and full of currents in the winter, know the right swell, direction, and conditions, and you can find fun, empty peaks all to yourself…at least three miles worth.

Westside Surf for BurningPier.com

This peak’s about 6 feet on the face. We surfed it solo for about an hour after taking this shot, then were joined by a couple of guys who were happy to share the fun.

Westside Surf Camping for BurningPier.com

Camping is free with a permit. Surf your brains out, sleep, wake up, repeat.

Mai Tai Islander by Heather George

And of course, the best way to end the day is with a mai tai at the pool bar.  Enjoy the search and good luck!

One thought on “Kauai Surf – Off the (Weather) Beaten Path

  1. Pingback: Kauai Surf Out of the Ordinary – Knowing “When” to Go is What Matters… | Spyder Surf Blog

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