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Kaua`i (Kauai), HI Surfski


Na Pali Coast photo:


North/Northwest Shores

Early Fall trades are good for east to west downwinders avg. E10-15 mph with E swell

  • Kalihiwai to Hanalei - approx 7-8 miles - paddle straight out of the bay to get lined up for the run to the west. Usually there is not enough N swell to cause too much trouble getting off the beach and out. video
    • continue to Hā’ena - add 3-4 miles (shore break can be tricky coming in to Hā’ena - it is a good idea to have someone experienced show it to you) parking can be limited at Hā’ena on popular days at the beach. OC2 video (this run started at Anini beach which shortens it a bit)
  • Out and Backs Hanalei Bay - go out far enough to get into east/west swell for laps or stay in the Bay and do laps riding the edge of the surf where you feel comfortable (if the swell isn't too big)
  • Na Pali Coast (course of the Na Pali race) requires a very long shuttle drive. One of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. As it wraps around from north to west it depends on specific wind patterns - can be good the whole way or have a significant portion in a wind shadow making for slow paddling.

East/Southeast/Southwest Shores

  • Kealia Beach
    • Kealia Beach - Hanama'ulu Beach approx. 8 miles video
    • Kealia Beach - Kalapaki (Lihue/Nawiliwili) approx. 11 miles video
  • Kalapaki (Lihue/Nawiliwili) to Kukui’ula (1 mile west of Poipu) - approx. 13 miles
  • Kukui’ula to Makahuena (Poipu Point) - approx. 9.5 miles
  • Po'ipu Beach to Port Allen - 9+ mi surf launch, harbor landing Downwindfun
    • or on to Salt Pond - (add another 1.5 mi) surf landing- usually during early fall not an issue due to more benign conditions. Only caveat is if a tropical storm is out there creating bigger S swells which means you're better off paddling on Northshore.

Po'ipu Beach to Port Allen

Downwind Run Ratings (from Surfski Kauai)

I = Intermediate, A = Advanced (Very general - varies with wind and swell)

I/AKalapakiPort AllenSouth/West214.5
ALLPo'ipuPort AllenSouth82
I/APo'ipuSalt PondSouth/West102.5
A ONLYHā’enaPolihaleNorth/West285-7


  • Hanalei River - You usually can paddle upstream from Hanalei Bay around 2 miles before starting to get fairly narrow and shallow.
  • Wailua River - Paddle up to the Fern Grotto and/or The Swimming Hole


Robert Stehlik: “Hawaii’s location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and its predictable pattern of Easterly (&NE) trade winds make it ideal for downwinders…. The trade winds are most consistent in the summer months and can also be very good in spring and fall. Trade winds are least consistent in the Winter months (November through February), when they are often replaced by Kona wind and variable winds…”

Clubs and Groups




  • Dylan Thomas - surfski rental
    • 808-639-7404
    • this website seems to be closed as of 2021 and we hear that Dylan does little or no guiding any more. The surfskis that he still has are reportedly getting a bit old, but there may still be some chance to rent one if you are a competent paddler.


  • Tom Bartlett - OC1 rental, guide
    • - Tom has pretty much relocated to Molokai and it is not apparent how much he may still be renting (or not) his boats or his truck any more.


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kauai.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/20 11:42 by preavley