north shore surfing guide

Surfing is the most popular sport on Maui and during the winter months, it all takes place here on the North Shore.
Looking for a surf shop??? Check out our North Shore Surf Shop Directory… below.

SURF SPOTS ⇓ (map view)

  • Ho’okipa – Hookipa, Maui’s most consistent and popular winter spot, is located between Paia and Haiku, directly in front of Hookipa Beach Park. Hookipa consists of the following four breaks (from west to east): Lanes, The Point, Middles and Pavilions. Even though all four spots break within a hundred meters of one another, each wave is very unique.

Lanes: The most western wave at Hookipa, Lanes is a left with a deep channel directly to its right. It may not be as consistent, nor as big as The Point, but it’s definitely a lot easier to access and the least crowded wave at Hookipa. You’ll find all types here – shortboarders, longboarders and SUP boarders – with the crowd pretty mellow.

The Point: Located on the right-hand side of the same channel used to access Lanes, The Point is a strong, fast and barreling right that breaks over a shallow reef. As the swells approach Hookipa, the majority of waves get sucked into the Point, making this wave the biggest, most consistent and most crowded wave here. When it’s on, there’s no better wave on the North Shore of Maui.

Middles: Middles is the same wave as The Point, just going left. It’s accessed by entering the water in front of the lifeguard station on the right-hand side of the park. The channel here is not as deep, nor forgiving, as the channel used to access Lanes and The Point, which makes paddling out an adventure. Surfing Middles can be tricky because the peak tends to shift. But it does spread the crowd, unlike the other waves at Hookipa.

Pavilions: Dominated by the local menehune rippers (ie: young surfers), Pavilions is a fast and sometimes barreling right that breaks next to an outcropping of volcanic rock just beneath Hookipa Lookout. Pavilions doesn’t pick up as much swell as the other spots at Hookipa, but the waves here tend to reform off of the rocks, allowing the surfers here to pick off a ton of small, short and fast waves. Access is the same as Middles.

  • Kanaha – Kanaha is a very long, soft and playful wave, which makes it popular among longboarders and SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boarders. It breaks directly in front of Kanaha Beach Park, which is right next to Kahului Airport. The paddle can take around 10-15 minutes, but it’s well worth it! In the afternoon, after the arrival of the easterly trade winds, the beach can get quite crowded with windsurfers and kiteboarders, so get on it early!

  • Kahului Harbor – Kahului Harbor is a punchy and barreling right that breaks directly in front of Kahului Beach Park. Because it is protected within the harbor, it requires a large north swell to sneak between the piers. Crowds are very uncommon here because the wave does not often break and because the water tends to be quite polluted. However, when it does break, the line-up will consist mainly of bodyboarders and shortboarders.

  • Pe’ahi (Jaws) – Peahi, often referred to as Jaws, is arguably the best big wave spot on the planet. Accidentally discovered by a couple of windsurfers, Peahi claims to have produced the largest wave ever ridden by a surfer. This colossal wave requires a north swell of 25 feet or more and can produce surfable waves up to 70 feet!!! In the past, Peahi was limited to tow-in surfers and windsurfers, however in recent past, paddle in surfers are now starting to conquer this giant. Peahi breaks only a few times each winter, but when it does, the entire surf population of Maui can be found here to cheer on their fellow surfers.


Kahalui: Paia: Haiku: