Our Kauai webcam
focuses on the Poipu surf location known as “PKs”, a popular summer time reef break. Despite all the great surf spots on Kauai there are very few surf webcams. Instead surfers rely on surf reports, the “coconut wireless”, and simply driving around to check out conditions. Many places including PKs often experience fun, surf-able conditions even when the surf forecast predicts no waves. This is when a webcam comes in really handy.
The following guide will give you an idea of the best surf spots on Kauai. The south shore is flat during the winter and active during the summer. The north shore is the opposite – it has waves during the winter. This is because large swells are generated by winter storms in the northern or southern hemisphere. The swells travel thousands of miles before making landfall on northern or southern coasts.
The east and west shores can experience wrap-around surf depending on the location and orientation of the break. Eastern shores are prone to wind waves. If you’re planning a surf vacation please contact us. We’ll be able to offer advice and set you up with great accommodations. Also, the following guide gives a great introduction to Kauai
including help deciding where to stay.
Poipu Beach Park
Poipu beach park has a couple popular summer-time surf breaks and this is where surf lessons are offered in Poipu (including neighboring Kiahuna beach). The park includies facilities like showers and there are also life guards.
Along with Poipu beach and Hanalei bay, Kalapaki beach is one of the premier spots for surf lessons on Kauai. Kalapaki beach is located in Lihue a few minutes from the airport and beside the entrance to Kauai’s main harbor. The bay and harbor affect the power of the incoming swell. Combined with a friendly beach break, this is the perfect location for beginners during the summer.
Beach House Beach
In front of the Beach House restaurant in Poipu is “PKs” (Prince Kuhio’s), the surf break that our webcam shows. The beach here is also known as Lawai beach and is a popular snorkel site. There are actually three breaks here. PKs is the most popular and least “gnarly." It’s a reef break so not suitable for beginner surfers, but manageable for novice surfers in small surf at high tide. The other two breaks are known as “Centers” and “Acid Drops,” and break during larger swells. They’re pretty dangerous and should only be tackled by expert surfers.
One of Kauai’s premier surf spots, Hanalei Bay boasts 5 or 6 distinct breaks in the winter months including a couple of deep reef breaks. On one of the breaks surfers even tow-in on those rare 25ft + days. The breaks that are active depend on surf size and swell direction, and include a few easily accessible beach breaks in front of life guard towers. There is often something suitable for all levels. In the summer months the bay is completely flat, with an occasional wind swell at some spots for beginner lessons.
As you cross the Wailua river on Kauai’s east coast you’ll notice Wailua beach beside the highway. The beach often has a messy wind swell, inviting enough for a handful of die-hard surfers. As tempting as it may look, Wailua bay is best left for local surfers. The wind can create treacherous conditions, and the currents here require a fair amount of local experience to manage.
Just past Kapaa on the way to the north shore you’ll pass Kealia Beach. This is the most popular surfing spot on the east side. But spend a few minutes watching the waves and you’ll notice the rides are short lived, the typical wind swells creating pretty chaotic conditions. Kealia is where experienced surfers go when they’re desperate to catch a wave when nothing else is breaking. Kapaa is also where most of Kauai’s residents live, so you’ll often see quite a number of surfers out despite lack luster conditions.
On Kauai’s north shore, Kahili beach actually faces east. As such, when the rest of the north shore is flat this beach can still get a reasonable wind swell. Kahili can also get wrap-around surf from a northern swell in the winter. A few times every year conditions here will be perfect, especially on winter days when the trade winds disappear.
The reef breaks off of Anini beach on Kauai’s north shore are for experienced surfers who can handle the rocky conditions. Anini is usually a last resort option for north shore residents when other options are flat. Thanks to the reef it doesn’t take much to get some wave action, but windy conditions can interfere.
Haena Beach Park
Haena Beach Park sports a couple breaks for advanced surfers. Novice surfers will not be interested, but if you're an experienced surfer this is likely the second location you'll check out after inspecting conditions at Hanalei Bay.
One of Hawaii’s most famous surf breaks, Infinities, is located at Pakala Village on the west side of the island. This is one of the longest rides in Hawaii when conditions are good. But to surf here you have to be an experienced surfer and in tune with surf culture and etiquette. Get a guide or resident to take you here if you’re a keen surfer. The location is also difficult to find. Cars parked beside the highway for no apparent reason signal the location of the path.
Kekaha to Polihale
12 miles of secluded beach on Kauai’s west coast offer a number of surfing opportunities, although the breaks tend to be messy and difficult to get to. Exploring the coast here would be for die hard surfers who can’t find possibilities in Poipu or Pakala, or locals who don’t have to drive so far to reach the area.
HawaiiGaga has detailed information about Kauai's beaches