The 10 Best Surfing Lessons & Surfing Schools In Kona

The Kona district in Hawai’i is most famously known for its role as the host to the Ironman World Championship Triathlon held each year in Kailua-Kona. With stunning beaches and volcanic slopes, Kona is the home to some of the best sporting opportunities in the world. 

Ironically, the word “kona” translates to “leeward” in Hawaiian, which means the dry side of the island. Despite this, Kona offers some of Hawaii’s best waters for surfing. Due to the leeward nature of Kona, the best time to visit the district is during December-April before the cyclone season hits. 

Kona is home to idyllic surfing conditions due to the calm waters and abundance of surf schools. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced surfer, there’s an opportunity for everyone. Here are the 10 best surfing lessons and surfing schools in Kona!

1. Kona Boys

Location: 79-7539 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua, HI 96750

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

Kona Boys is one of the most popular water sports shops that specializes in surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and more.

Established in 1996, Kona Boys is run by a team of talented experts in water sports who have meticulously created lessons structured to cater towards beginner and intermediate surfers.

With such a large team of staff, everyone who attends a lesson is guaranteed an instructor who is ideal for their individual needs. 

One of the main problems when it comes to surfing in Kona is that the waters are so calm, sometimes the conditions aren’t right for surfing waves.

Luckily, Kona Boys offers such a variety of water sports lessons to suit every water condition. Plus, it’s a water sports shop, which means you can just hire equipment without a lesson if you want. 

Kona Boys offers private lessons, group lessons, and various packages for multiple day lessons and lessons in other water sports. They also offer an athlete group for local young athletes to help them to achieve their goals in the water. 

2. Kona Surf Company

Location: Kahaluu Beach, Kona, HI 96740

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

Kona Surf Company is a (you guessed it) surfing company that provides a variety of lessons for every surfer skill level – whether you’ve surfed 50 waves or if you’ve never even held a board.

This is probably the best option for beginners on a budget, because if you have finished a lesson where you still can’t stand and ride a wave, then you get the lesson completely free! 

Each instructor has grown up in the Kona area, so they are true experts of these particular waters. Lessons can be private, in groups, semi-private, or even a guided surf tour that explores several beaches in the area.

Every surfer must be sufficient swimmers and need to bring a swim-suit, sun screen, towels, and water. Kona Surf Company will supply the boards and surf clothing!

3. Cobie Chapman’s Big Island Surf Co.

Location: 74-592 Hale Makai Place, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

A family owned and operated business, Cobie Chapman’s Big Island Surf Co. is built up of a small yet skilled team of experienced surf instructors who grew up on the Big Island. This surf company is based in Kailua-Kona and offers an array of lessons from 6:00am to 2:00pm every day of the week. 

Cobie Chapman’s Big Island Surf Co. offers an expansive range of surfing lessons, from private and semi-private lessons to group classes no larger than 10 people.

For the experienced surfers, or perhaps those who want an adventure, this surf business offers basic and advanced private surf adventures which involves going to several surf locations.

They even offer a beach exploration tour that doesn’t involve surfing, but instead involves an extensive, history-filled tour of the nearby beaches. 

4. Kona Town Surf Adventures

Location: 78-6702 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

Kona Town Surf Adventures offers a range of lessons and rentals for surfing. Run by Kona resident Wesley Moore, the team at this surf company is built up of experienced surfers who are trained in first aid and CPR for the safety of their customers.

Not only are the staff members highly skilled surfers who understand the waters better than anyone, but they are also experts in the history of the beaches and local culture.

This passion is often hard to find in a surf company, so if you book a lesson with Kona Town Surf Adventures, make sure to ask lots of questions!

Kona Town Surf Adventures offers a variety of lessons, from private and semi-private to group lessons based on skill level. They also offer surfboard rentals for surfers who don’t need a lesson, as well as paddle board lessons and exclusive surf tours across the nearby beaches. 

5. Kahalu’u Bay Surf And Sea

Location: 78-6685 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced 

Kahalu’u Bay Surf and Sea has everything to offer – including surf rentals, surf lessons, stand-up paddle board lessons, snorkeling, kayaking, and more.

This variety is great for a surf shop, because it means that if you have travelled specifically to visit here but the conditions aren’t suitable for surfing, you have a wide range of other water activities!

Each surf lesson is run by an expert surf instructor (trained in first aid and CPR) who is dedicated to ensuring everyone catches at least one wave during their session.

The lessons can be held privately, semi-privately, or in groups depending on your budget and how many people want to surf at the same time. The group lessons are divided into skill levels, so advanced surfers don’t have to waste a lesson on the basics amongst a group of beginners. 

Not only are the boards and surf clothing provided by Kahalu’u Bay Surf and Sea, but they also offer storage units, showers, and temporary parking facilities. If you’re an experienced surfer not looking for lessons, this surf shop also offers a variety of rental boards. 

6. Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors

Location: 75-5909, Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740

Skill level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

There’s no safer person to go surfing with than a lifeguard, making this surf school one of the most popular for its safety. Lifeguards are essentially human fish in the water, making the instructors at this surf shop some of the most trusted in the whole of Kona.

Another reason why this surf school stands out amongst the others is that every class is exclusive, meaning every single surf lesson is either 1-1 or 2-1 with an instructor.

This is a great way to make the most of your time in the water and provides an individual approach that group classes can’t always offer. 

Not only are they lifeguards, but this surf business is family owned and operated, which provides a lovely element compared to a surf business with a large team.

Each instructor is passionate in teaching their students about Hawaiian culture, history of the beaches, and ocean awareness. 

If you’re travelling with kids, luckily Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors offer lessons for kids as young as 3 years old!

Plus, if the conditions don’t provide enough waves, all students will be offered a stand-up paddle board lesson instead of a surf lesson to get used to standing on a board on water. 

7. Go Surf Hawai’i 

Location: Kailua-Kona, HI 96745

Skill Level: Mostly for beginners

Go Surf Hawai’i is probably the best surf school in Kona for beginners. The water at Kailua-Kona is chosen to suit those who lack confidence on a board, as the waves reach only 1-3 ft, the ground is made up of even sand, and the water doesn’t go deeper than your chest.

Likewise, the current is consistent and fairly weak, and there is no dumping shore break. Not only does this mean this surf school is ideal for adult beginners, but for children, too! The only requirement is that students must be confident swimmers who can tread water. 

Go Surf Hawai’i currently only offers private lessons and semi-private lessons, with up to 3 students with 1 instructor in the water. They have a strict rule that no more than 6 people can be in the water at the same time during these lessons for safety reasons.

Each instructor is highly experienced in surfing these waters, and they are also trained in first aid and water rescue. 

8. HYPR Nalu Hawai’i

Location: Anaeho’omalu Bay, 69-275 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

HYPR Nalu Hawai’i is one of the highest ranked surf schools in Hawaii, almost entirely for their handmade selection of stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and surfboards – something that not every surf school can say.

This surf school isn’t just a surf school, as HYPR Nalu Hawai’i encompasses everything to do with water sports, from surfing to snorkeling to scuba diving to bodyboarding – meaning there is something for everyone.

This is ideal for families where everyone wants to do different things on the same day!

This surf school is primarily a surf shop that sells and rents out their apparel and water equipment, but they also offer private lessons in surfing and other water sports.

You’ll be learning from the experts who made the equipment you use, which is why these surf lessons are so highly sought after. Advanced and experienced local surfers frequently rent these boards for this reason. 

9. Kona Party Wave SUP Surf School

Location: 1 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

Kona Party Wave SUP Surf School is certainly one of the most entertaining and informative surf schools in Kona.

This surf school is run by Roman who grew up in Oahu and has been surfing since he was 7 years old. He soon fell in love with the sport as well as paddleboarding, and continues to partake in local surf competitions.

Roman is filled with stories about almost literally everything thanks to the multitude of careers and experiences his life has been full of, making each surf lesson incredibly entertaining. 

Roman runs this surf school with a small team of trained instructors to create individualized and fun surf lessons for every student. These lessons range from paddle boarding and snorkeling to private and group surf lessons. 

10. Surfer Bear Hawaii

Location: Kahalu’u Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and experienced

Last but not least, Surfer Bear Hawaii offers some excellent surf lessons with the namesake owner Barry – otherwise known as Bear.

With over 30 years of experience both surfing professionally and instructing, each instructor is skilled both in the water and with humans. Reviews have been nothing but positive, with endless praise to the kindness and patience of the instructors. 

Barry, AKA Bear, provides a personalized touch to every single lesson. If you’re a solo traveler or completely new (and terrified) to surfing, Bear will provide you with a fun-filled and confidence-boosting surf lesson. These lessons range from group to private lessons for people of all skill levels and ages. 

Surfing In Kona

The Kona Coast is most popular among beginner and intermediate surfers for the predictable waters, consistent currents, gentle waves, even ground, and good shore break.

While advanced and expert surfers might find Kona too safe for their liking, this coast offers everything a beginner needs for their first few surfing experiences – not to mention the abundance of surf schools nearby. 

Kahalu’u beach is the best for beginners in general, though it does feature a couple of lagoon reefs that sometimes offer conditions more suitable for intermediate surfers.

Lymans offers a deep water break that is best for paddleboarding, as it requires a strong swell for waves to form. Banyans is north of Kahalu’u and features faster waves that are only suitable for advanced surfers. 

As with all surfing locations, it’s essential to check the signs at each beach. These will indicate the safety of the conditions in the water. While Kona is mostly a gentle beach, it still experiences the occasional harsh current. 

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