Why are people searching for information about surf spots near Honolulu airport? Well, for any surfer that lives in a wave-starved region on the mainland, getting in that last ride just before your flight back to the valley can make or break your sanity until your next trip. Or, you may have an extended layover at HNL and want to squeeze time to hang-ten. Alternatively, surfers arriving at HNL hours before hotel or Airbnb check-in may want to log a session first. Whichever the case may be, we applaud your dedication to the royal act (in Hawaiian culture) of wave riding, even if it has you running through airport security dripping wet with saltwater.
In order to help with your worthy endeavor, we have put together a list of great surf spots near HNL without giving up any secrets – we have to keep the locals happy too after all.
3 Convenient Places to Surf Near Honolulu International Airport
Ala Moana Beach Park (7.5 Miles / 20-25 Minutes by Shuttle)
From Ala Moana Beach Park, you’ve got a few options. One uncrowded (when there is little swell) spot named Bomboras is just off of Magic Island which boasts a protective reef that runs along about a 1,000 yards of shoreline. From Magic Island, intermediate and advanced surfers can paddle out past the reef to catch the swells arriving from the open sea. You’ve also got a surf spot named Kewalos, which is at the base of the Kewalo Basin on the western end of Ala Moana Beach Park. One word of caution regarding Kewalos – it is within proximity to a commercial boat harbor that serves as home to a commercial fishing fleet, which means the potential for sharks may be higher than its eastern counterpart off Magic Island. That being said there has not been a shark incident in recent memory. There is also another surf spot named Tennis Courts, aptly named due to its location in front of the tennis courts at Ala Moana Beach Park. Then there’s famed Ala Moana Bowls, which is further east from Magic Island, towards Hilton Hawaiian village, but this is a localized spot so bring your A-game or don’t bring it at all.
You’ll need to bring your board as there are no rentals really close by.
Waikiki Beach (10 Miles / 25-35 Minutes by Shuttle)
This is an obvious one but it makes perfect sense. At 10 miles from HNL, it may take a few more minutes from the airport than you’d like, but once there the paddle out to any of the prime spots off Waikiki Beach is reasonable enough. You’ve got Canoes (a fun reef break for all skill levels), Queens (great for all levels, but the left can get pretty ripple on bigger south swells), and Publics, which while also mellow, can get sketchy when low tide introduces overly exposed (and sharp!) reef. There are other known reef breaks in the general zone, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
There are surfboard rentals everywhere around Waikiki Beach area surf spots.
White Plains Beach (19.5 Miles / 20-40 Minutes by Shuttle)
White Plains Beach is a little no-frills gem found further east from Ewa Beach. While close enough to HNL on the map, the traffic can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, so it’s best to avoid rush hour. Book your flight accordingly.
White Plains is predominantly a beginners spot, but even intermediate and advanced surfers can appreciate it as a great place to spend an hour before it’s time to check in for a flight. The reef break is very consistent (a big plus when you don’t have time to look for surf) and works best with a south swell and north wind.
Given that there are surf lessons being held at White Plains on a daily basis, you can nab a board rental from this westside beach for just $5/hr, if you don’t have or want to bother unzipping your own.
Honolulu Airport Transfer can take those of you who are at HNL on a layover to (and back from) any of the fun surf destinations listed above (and more). Just give us 24-hours notice and we’ll take care of you, your party, and your boards! View all flat rates (plus $4 per surfboard), and call us at 1.800.929.1219 or complete the form found here.