Best Beaches for Surfing the Winter Swells

Posted by Mapuana Andrade on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021 at 8:41pm

Maui, Hawaii, is renowned as a surfer's paradise, with millions of big-wave-loving visitors and lots of professional surfers. Maui's winter promises more than a bright Hawaiian Christmas and a tropical holiday paradise. First, we start to see some of the finest waves of the year around this time. Then, the winter swells begin pouring in, enticing the island's most experienced surfers to get their boards in the ocean and have some serious fun. For those who aren't confident in their ability to brave the raging waves, simply watching them may be an exciting pastime throughout the holidays and winter months. These are some of our favorite spots to sit back and admire Maui surfers' abilities and aptitude, especially during the Maui winter season.

Ho'okipa Beach Park

Honolua Bay and Hookipa Beach in lower Paia are two of our favorite sites to see pro surfers during the winter big wave season. Ho'okipa Beach Park is well-known for its enormous, well-shaped waves, which attract both experienced and local surfers. There are four separate sites in Ho'okipa where you can witness these surfers take on the North Shore waves: 

Pavilions: Located immediately below the Ho'okipa Lookout, Pavilions is the most easterly point on the island. Pavilions is a preferable choice for surfers because it is primarily a right-hander. 

Middles: Middles, the primary surfing spot, is west of Pavilions. The wave breaks both right and left, although the lefts are better at handling the wind. 

H'Poko, or Point: Located on Ho'okipa Beach's west end, point provides fantastic right-handers in the morning but becomes the exclusive realm of wind/kitesurfers in the afternoon.

Lane: Wana Beach, located just west of Ho'okipa Beach, is where Lane can be found. Both rights and lefts may be picked off, but Wana, like point, is blasted to bits in the afternoon.

Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay is located just east of Napili Bay and Honokeana. It’s a beautiful cove that many sea turtles call home. Turtle Bay has a fast, powerful, and ledgey right and left reef break and a pristine shoreline, perfect for wave-watching. 

Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay is our next favorite site to witness the greatest surfers on Maui. Honolua Bay is not just Maui's finest wave but also one of the world's best. During the winter months, when the North Pacific is busy churning forth storm after storm, the northwestern coast of Maui is littered with coves and crags that can create all kinds of fantastic surf. Honolulu is also known for hosting the last event of the ASP Women's World Tour. On the perfect days, the bay welcomes a hollow and strong right point reef break with numerous diverse parts that all come together.

Paukukalo Beach

Paukukalo Beach is another one of Maui's hidden beauties; this surf place is legendary. It's hollow and quick, and it operates in various swells.


Peahi, often known as "Jaws," is Maui's most famous large wave surfing area, located east of Hookipa. During the high swells, highly-trained jet ski operators pull professional surfers into Peahi's enormous waves. This approach has given rise to a new sport known as "tow-in surfing," making Peahi the most well-known large wave tow-in surfing site on the planet. Peahi is an extremely fast and hollow right that only works for tow surfing during strong winter swells. Spectators are often treated to waves that can reach up to 50 feet tall. Peahi is only for experienced and professional surfers.

For those new to the sport, you can find beginner surfing classes on beaches in Kaanapali, Lahaina, and Kihei and other beginner surfing locations in West Maui and South Maui. Lessons are strongly suggested for your safety and the safety of your fellow beachgoers and surfers, regardless of the kind of surfing you choose to pursue.

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