You have permission to edit this article.

Surf spots for starters

Paddle out at these beginner-friendly surf spots.

  • Updated
  • Comments
  • 1 min to read

Ian ‘Akahi Masterson and John Clark presented a lecture on the history of surfing on June 13 at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. 

Surfers do not start out getting barreled by 8 ft. waves at Pipeline, they get their start on small, long rides found at a variety of breaks across O‘ahu. 

Located just out from Diamond Head Beach Park, the Diamond Head surf spot offers some great waves that provide beginners with long rides, perfect for honing your balance. Another perk of the spot is that the paddle out is on the longer side, which may sound bad at first will ultimately help develop vital paddling muscles needed for everyday surfing use. The spot does get crowded on days with solid conditions so be wary to look both ways before taking off on a wave.

Ala Moana Bowls is a short paddle out from the Magic Island parking area and will be on your left hand side when facing the beach. A step up from Diamond Head, Ala Moana Bowls offers waves with well-formed walls and fun, albeit short rides. Crowds at Bowls vary on the time of day, with the spot being emptier around the early afternoon and packed anywhere between 4pm - 7pm. Be wary of low-tide sessions as the spot tends to get pretty shallow. 

If you find yourself on the North Shore, Sunset Beach can offer up some exciting walls and fun drops. Although the spot is dead flat over summer, as most spots tend to be on the North Shore, Sunset can provide novice surfers with waves that form quite quickly. Taking off late on waves provides long, sketchy drops that will either be a blast or end with you six feet under. Either way, it is an essential skill for any surfer to have, and Sunset introduces the concept in a beginner-friendly manner. 

For any students interested in learning to surf, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa does offer board rentals. The service is open from 12pm to 4pm Monday through Friday and 10am - 1pm over the weekend. Rentals are located in a light-green colored building on the Diamond Head end of the T.C Ching field. Rates are $10 a day, $18 for a weekend and $30 for a week. Surfboards will also require a $150 deposit. For more information, email If you want to pick up your own board, it is easy to find a cheap stick online or by visiting one of many surf shops on O‘ahu.