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Kaua`i (Kauai), HI Surfski


Na Pali Coast photo:

Rentals, Boat Availability

Surfski, OC1

As of 2024, the boat rental resources for Surfski and OC1 that we used to know are no longer available. Mainland paddlers who visit Kauai regularly often own or share ownership of surfskis and OC1s that are kept on Kauai. Our best recommendation currently for seeking a possible boat to paddle is to check with some of the OC clubs. They may know of someone who is willing to rent out/loan an OC1. Some club members may also paddle surfskis. If you live somewhere that a paddler might like to visit/paddle at, work an exchange?


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 long shuttle drive. One of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. As it wraps around from north to west to southwest 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. The race course in 2023 was from Hanalei Bay to Kikialoa Small Boat Harbor (37 miles), but one can possibly make a shorter run from Hā’ena to Polihale State Park (28 miles).

East/Southeast/South/Southwest Shores

  • Kealia Beach
    • Kealia Beach - Hanama'ulu Beach approx. 8 miles video
    • Kealia Beach - Kalapaki (Lihue/Nawiliwili) approx. 11 miles video
  • Kalapaki
    • Kalapaki to Makahuena (Poipu Beach) - approx. 10 miles
    • Kalapaki (Lihue/Nawiliwili) to Kukui’ula (2.5 mile west of Poipu Beach) - approx. 13 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 old Surfski Kauai website)

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

  • Club Lists
  • Hanalei
    • Hanalei Canoe Club website
    • Namolokama Canoe Club OC1/OC6 website guest privileges: For guest OC6 paddling contact Ann Hettinger 808-652-8856, rec paddling is Fri and Sunday morning, training paddling Tuesday/Thursday afternoon 5pm



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