Best Stand Up Paddle Boarding Spots in Oahu
Whether you call it stand-up paddle boarding or just shorten it to SUP boarding, you know that getting out there on your board is a great way to get fresh air and some serious exercise. Being a proficient SUP boarder takes core strength, agility, and balance, but it is also a lot of fun. If you are planning a Hawaiian vacation in Oahu, there is no shortage of places for you to hop on a board and get out into the water.
SUP boarding actually originated in Hawaii in the 1900s as a variation of surfing, and in 2013 there was a report that indicated SUP boarding was the outdoor activity with the newest participants that year. You can use a stand-up paddleboard in various sizes of lakes and rivers, but it is out in the ocean where you’ll find the most excitement and the most breathtaking scenery. Some use it just for fun, some for a great workout and some even fish from their SUP board.
Whatever your reasons for SUP boarding in Oahu, take some time to find the place that is just right for you. Since Hawaii is the birthplace of stand up paddle boarding, there are many places to rent boards and the process of getting out onto the water is not complex. Known as "The Gathering Place," Oahu has a lot to offer, with diverse beaches and marine life to make your trip a memorable one. Here are the top SUP locations in Oahu for you to keep in mind on your next trip to the Island.
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Sunset Beach is famous for big wave surfing in the winter and even hosts many of the most popular surfing competitions in the sports world. Of course, that also makes it challenging and possibly even dangerous to go out on your SUP board during the winter months. It is the summer months that are best for stand up paddle boarding at Sunset Beach. The waters are calm, and it’s not uncommon for boarders to paddle for miles, stopping to check out the marine life along the way. Whether you decide to snorkel or just stick to the board, Sunset Beach is definitely one of the top SUP boarding locations in Oahu. Sunset Beach is located on the North Shore of Oahu, roughly 40 miles from Waikiki on Kamehameha Highway.
Puaena Point Beach Park
Located next to Haleiwa Beach Park on Oahu's North Shore, Puaena Point Beach Park is great for stand up paddle boarding because you have the option of experimenting with smaller waves compared to other areas during the choppier winter months. Overall, the water is relatively calm and good for SUP boarding for beginners or those that are more experienced. The back end of the beach is a private property where visitors aren’t allowed to go, but there is still plenty of room for you to roam around. Along the beach, you can find tide pools created by lava with various types of fish trapped inside, and you may also notice green turtles relaxing in the sun. Portions of the beach have been featured in the TV series Lost. Puaena Point Beach Park is accessible from Kahalewai Place and is walking distance from Haleiwa.
Ala Moana Beach
Ala Moana Beach is one of the top stand up paddle boarding locations in Oahu because it is protected by an outer reef, which ensures the water condition is almost always calm. This makes it a great place to explore when the surf is high at other beaches during the winter. It is ideal for beginners and for flat water training for more experienced boarders. The park consists of more than 100 acres, and the beach was manmade in the 1950s. Every Memorial Day, there is a lantern floating ceremony at Ala Moana Beach, with more than 6,000 floating lanterns journeying out into the Pacific Ocean at sunset. Ala Moana Beach is located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
In Hawaiian, Waikiki means "spouting waters," named because of the springs and rivers that once flowed into the area. Today, Waikiki is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Hawaii and is known for great surfing and exceptional SUP boarding adventures. Waikiki Bay features tranquil sunsets and waters calm enough for both seasoned and beginner SUP boarders. Waikiki is a short 20-minute drive from Honolulu Airport and is easily accessible by rental car or taxi service. Since the bay is such a popular tourist destination, it may get a little more crowded than you'd like, but the atmosphere is pure Hawaii.
The name Lanikai means “heavenly sea” which makes this area ideal for stand up paddle boarding in Oahu. The beach is just a half mile long, but it keeps getting ranked among the best in the world. There are no beach breaks on Lanikai Beach, and the water is calm all year long, so entry should be smooth. The water is clear, and the sand is white, making it as picturesque as it is inviting. The beach is in Lanikai, which is a small community in the town of Kailua, just a short 30-minute drive from Honolulu Airport.
Even though big crashing waves are synonymous with being in Hawaii, there is no shortage of calm, pristine water where you can get up on your SUP board and explore. All of the top SUP locations in Oahu feature clear water and vibrant marine life to make your experience even greater.
Just imagine paddling over schools of brightly colored fish or coral reefs that you have probably only seen online or in magazines. With the right conditions, a stand-up paddleboard is a perfect way to navigate the waters around Oahu, and any one of the above locations will provide you with an experience you won't soon forget.