When most vacationers come to Hawaii, it’s to enjoy our pristine beaches, stretching out on the sand with a good book and a tropical drink. And while we love getting into that relaxed Aloha state of mind, it’s also fun to try new activities to create memories that will last a lifetime. Luckily, Hawaii has no shortage of unique sports and activities for those looking to try something new on their next Hawaiian getaway. While you’re sure to get inspired by taking in the jaw dropping feats of the best pro surfers in the world at the upcoming Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, here are three beginner friendly water sports to brag about back home. No matter which activity is calling out to you, you’re going to want to book a direct & affordable Island Air flight to Maui ASAP!

1. Outrigger Canoe Surfing

Outrigger Canoes at Waikiki late 1800s.
The outrigger canoe is a classic part of Hawaii’s rich Polynesian history. Back in the days when Hawaii was governed by a ruling class, Waikiki was a playground where the ali’i, or ruling class, enjoyed canoe surfing. In fact, it was a privilege reserved solely for royalty! These days everyone can partake in the fun surf-canoe hybrid sport on Waikiki Beach. With a banana shaped hull that can accommodate four people, modern outrigger canoes designed for surfing allow the hull to turn easily into and catch waves while remaining stable. Expert paddling and surfing guides steer the outrigger, and everyone works together to paddle as an approaching wave sweeps you up for a long adrenaline pumping ride toward the shore. This is a perfect counterpoint to surfing, allowing you to catch longer waves from further offshore, and also take in the scenery more because you’re sitting down! Check out Hawaiian Paddle Sports for affordable tours and rentals led by certified marine naturalist guides.

2. Stand Up Paddleboarding


Standup paddleboarding, or SUP, has quickly grown in popularity. The sport combines elements of surfing with paddling, giving you a great core workout that focuses on balance. Waikiki is a great place to learn because of the gentle surf conditions. Be sure to check out Waikiki Beach Services for rentals and lessons. If you’re already really balanced, you can try this:

Stand-up paddleboard lessons are available, call Danny at ( 808 ) 372-2146 to book a lesson. A photo posted by Danny Tamonte/Arlene Chmolack (@seashore54_surfschool) on

For an awesome Aloha twist, check out Glow Paddle Hawaii for night paddles with gorgeous sunsets, fireworks, and Waikiki by night!


3. Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing has also gone mainstream lately, and it’s easy to admire the amazing athleticism involved in a sport that combines windsurfing, skateboarding, acrobatics, and sheer strength. There’s also plenty of help for beginners who want to try their hand at the sport, too! Be sure to check out Kailua Beach on the windward shore of Oahu for the best breezes, waves, and scenery for kiting in all of Hawaii. And check out the Honolulu Kite School for lessons and rentals.