Surf Seasons Kauai: Explained

Kauai, The Garden Island. Hawaii’s hidden gem. And a truly special surfing destination. 

You will always find awesome waves on any of Kauai’s shores. Due to the island having a circular shape, waves are always present for the best days of surfing you can experience.

Kauai is the most northern of Hawaii’s 4 major islands but the surf of Kauai is still exposed to the same perfect swells as its sister islands. But with a quieter appeal. It is an island for adventurers who want to experience the wonders of the great outdoors. After dark, the island becomes a quiet haven. A blissful paradise for relaxation and peace.

But when the sun rises, it’s surf time! While many people think of Oahu’s Pipeline or Maui’s Pe’ahi when conjuring up an image of Hawaii’s surf, the less published Kauai is just as perfect. 

If you’re beginning on your surfboard, you will love Hanalei Bay or Poipu. More advanced surfers like to take advantage of Tunnels, Polihale, and Hanalei Point. The south side of the island tends to be drier, especially in the rainy months. This is why you should consider the different seasons on Kauai when heading there to surf.

Today, we are going to guide you through the best times to surf in Kauai’s waters and where the best shores are on the island to catch some waves.

Surfing Seasons: When to surf in Kauai

There is no specific time of the year that you have to wait for to enjoy the surf of Kauai. All year long you can enjoy wicked waves and consistent swells.

That being said, the winter months, from November to April, tend to bring consistent north swells. The summer months from May to October will offer pretty decent south swells. 

Because of its tropical climate, you can enjoy waves throughout December. What better way to enjoy Christmas Day than hitting the waves! 

Let’s take a look at each month in detail for you to get a better idea about the air temperature, water temperature, and more.

January to February 

  • Suitable for: All surfers
  • Air temperature: 25 degrees Celsius/77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water temperature: 25 degrees Celsius/77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swell consistency: 95%
  • Swell height: 9 feet
  • Amount of people: Quite busy

March to April

  • Suitable for: All surfers
  • Air temperature: 25 degrees Celsius/77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water temperature: 25 degrees Celsius/77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swell consistency: 95%
  • Swell height: 9 feet
  • Population: Quite busy

May to June

  • Suitable for: All surfers
  • Air temperature: 27 degrees Celsius/81 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water temperature: 26 degrees Celsius/79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swell consistency: 90%
  • Swell height: 7 feet
  • Population: Quite busy

July to August 

  • Suitable for: All surfers
  • Air temperature: 29 degrees Celsius/84 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water temperature: 27 degrees Celsius/81 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swell consistency: 90%
  • Swell height: 5 feet
  • Population: Very busy

September to October

  • Suitable for: All surfers
  • Air temperature: 28 degrees Celcius/82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water temperature: 25 degrees Celsius/77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swell consistency: 90%
  • Swell height: 5 feet
  • Population: Quite busy

November to December 

  • Suitable for: All surfers
  • Air temperature: 26 degrees Celsius/79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water temperature: 25 degrees Celsius/77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swell consistency: 95%
  • Swell height: 8 feet
  • Population: Quite busy

As you can see, Kauai is a surfer’s paradise throughout the year. Chances are usually pretty good that inclement weather will not disturb your stay. As quickly as a storm rolls in, it usually rolls out just as fast.

Beaches on Kauai

There are several go-to spots on the north shore of the island. These include Hanalei Bay, Kalihiawai, and Haena. During the peak winter months, these are home to gigantic waves. Even if you’re not ready to tackle such colossal waves, you can still sit back and watch the pros go about their business.

The south and eastern shores include the Kiahuna, Poipu, and Kalapaki beaches. These boast awesome beginner-level waves during the summer months. But the wonderful thing about Kauai is that all levels of surfers can ride all sides of the island.

You just need to know the best places to go on the day. That is why you should consider hiring a guide so they can show you exactly what you’re looking for. 

Best Locations for Surfing in Kauai 

Kauai is known for producing several champion surfers such as three-time world title winner Andy Irons. This is no surprise when you experience the swells and conditions on show. 

This grooming ground for surfers offers offshore shores and great amounts of wind and groundswells. Together these ensure you get high surfs all year long. 

Some of the most favorable surfing locations can vary depending on the time of year you arrive. From May through to October, the summer months, the south shore is the main attraction. For the majority of the year, the south exhibits consistent surf conditions but the biggest south swells are evident during the summer months. 

From November through to February (the midst of winter), the north shore will attract the most surfers. Surfers from all over flock to Kauai to take advantage of the 30 to 40-foot waves!

  • Hanalei Bay – During the summer, the ocean conditions are well suited to beginner surfers and paddle-boarders. During the winter months, however, the waters should be left to more experienced surfers. The shore break before Princeville Resort offers the best surfing conditions with cleaner waves but this will be crowded during the summer.
  • Tunnels Beach – To the east of Hanalei, Tunnels beach has rough waves that can reach 20 feet high. These can be dangerous against the rocks so it isn’t best suited to novices. 
  • Kalapaki Beach – This beach has gentle wave conditions with some of the most consistent waves on the island. 
  • Kealia Beach – All year long, conditions here are consistent. However, its changing sandbar can cause powerful wave breaks quite regularly. 
  • Kahili Beach and Kekaha beach are two more great surf destinations on the island. Kahili Beach is best during the summer months while the winter sees the smaller waves turning into bigger monsters. Kekaha Beach is characterized by rough surfing conditions due to an open space that is vulnerable to winds all year long.