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Where to Surf in Molokai: Surf Guide

Updated: May 2

Not too far off of Maui’s northernmost point is the island of Molokai.

Molokai isn’t known for its great surf but regardless there are plenty of great waves along the coasts of the island.

On top of that the breaks are also relatively empty compared to its neighbor island, Maui.

Even though it's not the biggest island it still has a small airport that’s just a quick 25 minute flight from Oahu making it very accessible but still slow paced compared to its neighboring islands.

There are breaks that are great for beginners or the most experienced surfer. Allow us to run down a few of those breaks and what to expect when surfing them.

What’s So Special About Surfing in Molokai?

Waves in Molokai

Molokai has a great diversity of waves. On the east shore there isn’t much surf to shred but it does offer some good spots for beginners.

On the west side of Molokai there is plenty of surf and during winter months it can get really good.

When a big northwest swell pushes through the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai’s exposed west coast gets hit with it just as much as the north shore of Oahu, it just lacks the perfect reefs.

The Surf Culture in Molokai

There aren't too many people on the island of Molokai so this is a great spot to escape some fast paced surf cultures of other islands.

Breaks stay relatively empty year round and don’t attract too many outside surfers.

Like any other surf spot in the world Molokai does have its locals, so just be respectful of the people that came before you and practice proper surf etiquette.

Equipment Needed When Surfing Molokai

Similar to the rest of the islands little equipment is needed to surf on Molokai.

The coldest the air temperature gets during the winter is mid to low 60s, so at most a 2 mm wetsuit top for windier days should be good.

The Best Surf Spots in Molokai

Kepuhi Beach

A popular wave for the local crew on Molokai, Kepuhi is one of the best waves on Molokai.

Given its popularity, Kepuhi is also one of the most crowded spots on the island. Kepuhi is located on the west coast of Molokai and can get really big during winter months.

It works best on a northwest swell. Kepuhi is really capable of holding some serious size which is why it's so popular.

It draws some of the best surfers on Molokai, so if you decide to paddle out at this rocky beach break then make sure you are a capable surfer and know surf etiquette.

Halena Beach

On the southwest side of Molokai is Halena beach, a great wave that is perfect for experienced surfers. During the winter Halena is another wave that can boast some big waves.

However, it’s consistent year round and during the summer is home to fun waves that are better for the intermediate surfer. Halena is not a beginner wave by any means.

On top of its size, Halena is also fairly difficult to access.

There’s a dirt road that leads to the beach so a four wheel drive vehicle is recommended when surfing here.

Since it's tough to access, it is usually relatively empty.

Halawa Beach

Halawa is located on the east side of Molokai and is another wave that should only be navigated by the most experienced surfers.

This wave also gets really good during the winter. It also has a rich history, apparently this is where the Molokai ali’i or royalty used to surf.

This wave can get really heavy and powerful and a surfer here can get seriously tubed on the right day.

In terms of localism, Halawa is similar to the rest of the island, if you're an outsider— then act like it.

Don’t sit too far outside, analyze the lineup and respect the locals if they paddle out.

Waialua Beach

Also on the east side of Molokai is Waialua Beach. Waialua is a perfect wave for beginners and the biggest it will get is one to two feet.

This is one of the few beginner spots on the island so locals shouldn’t be a problem when surfing here. Waialua is a slow rolling wave, so not only is it good for beginners but it's also great for longboarders.

Try to surf here at high tide since low tide can be fairly hazardous due to its shallowness.

Waialua is a beach break and the sandbar here is one of the most consistent on the island.

Hale O Lono

Hale O Lono is a harbor on the southern tip of Molokai and is a great summer wave. It is capable of picking up swell year round as swells wrap around Molokai’s western point.

This is another wave that can get pretty big so it's better for more experienced surfers.

There isn’t much population around this break so you’ll most likely be surfing it by yourself.

It’s also fairly difficult to access and can only be accessed by driving on a 7-mile dirt road, so make sure if you’re visiting you have a four wheel capable vehicle.

What To Do In Molokai When the Waves Are Flat

Molokai has plenty to do when waves are miniscule. For starters, there are great beaches to snorkel and dive at.

This will give you a chance to see Hawaii’s diverse marine ecosystem. If golfing is your go-to when the waves are flat, then you're in luck because Molokai is home to Ironwoods Golf Course.

Soak in some beautiful ocean views as you work on your short game.

There are also plenty of long empty beaches for sun tanning and swimming, Papohaku beach and Kepuhi beach are great.

Molokai is a great island with plenty to do besides surfing.

Molokai Surfing

If you’re not from Hawaii you might not even recognize the name Molokai.

However, it's a legit place that is home to some serious surf. So next time you're heading out to Hawaii maybe consider hopping over to Molokai for a few days and scoring some empty waves.


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