Hawaii Water Sports

What's there to do in Hawaii's ocean?

If you love the ocean, Hawaii is a great location for all kinds of water sports. The climate is warm year round and ocean temperatures range between 80°F (26.6 °C) in the summer to 73°F (22.7°C) in the winter (read more about the Hawaii climate). Besides surfing (including bodysurfing and stand-up paddleboarding), bodyboarding and snorkeling, other popular water activities in Hawaii include kayaking/canoeing, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Kayaking in Hawaii

One of the most popular kayaking destinations on Oahu is Kailua Beach (paddling out to Flat Island) and Lanikai Beach (paddling out to the Mokulua Islands). People enjoy kayaking here because they have an attractive destination (small offshore island) to paddle to. If you're a beginner, paddling all the way out to the Mokulua Islands might be too much of a challenge. The waves may look small from the beach, but once you're out there they are often bigger. If you really feel like paddling all the way out there, definitely join a professionally guided tour. Otherwise, stick with the easier accessible Flat Island off Kailua Beach.

On Kauai, you have the chance to go kayaking up Wailua River, the only navigable river (by boats larger than kayaks) in Hawaii. Paddle up the river and you'll reach Fern Grotto, a fern-fringed lava cave. Or kayak along the beautiful Na Pali Coast (only in the summer months when the ocean is usually calmer).

Maui is home to many wonderful kayaking locations. Among the most popular are Makena Landing in South Maui, the shoreline south of Olowalu (from Papalaua Beach heading south).

One of the most popular kayaking destinations on the Big Island is Kealakekua Bay (the part of the bay near the Captain Cook Monument is also a prime snorkel spot). Another good kayaking destination on the Big Island is Keauhou Bay (the birthplace of King Kamehameha III). Paddle south from here and you can see a few sea caves. On the Kohala Coast kayakers frequent Anaeho'omalu Bay.

Kayaking equipment can easily be rented in Hawaii. However, if you are in Hawaii for the first time and you are not aware of the ocean conditions here, it is recommended that you book a guided kayaking tour, where you will be provided with all necessary kayaking equipment and will be given a guided kayaking tour in the open ocean. Ocean kayaking is not for everyone. The ocean can be rough and dangerous, so if you're a novice kayaker, you might want to try river kayaking first or join a guided open ocean kayaking tour.

Scuba Diving in Hawaii

Scuba Diving is another popular water activity in Hawaii. There are many companies in the Islands that offer scuba diving adventures for beginning and experienced certified divers. They can provide you with all the necessary equipment and instructions.

Hawaii is a perfect scuba diving location year-round because of its warm tropical waters. Scuba divers enjoy clear visibility and can observe a variety of marine life, including colorful tropical fish, green sea turtles, eels, stingrays, sharks and dolphins. The coral reef is magnificent in certain areas and divers can also explore shipwrecks, underwater tunnels and caves.

Three great scuba diving locations on Oahu are off Makaha Beach (Makaha Caverns), Hanauma Bay and Shark's Cove, but there are many other good spots.

On Maui, many scuba divers head out to the tiny offshore island of Molokini, which is a marine life conservation district. This prime snorkel location features spectacular coral formations and a variety of marine life.

The island of Kauai also has great scuba diving locations all over. One of the most popular sites is Tunnels Beach.

The Kona Coast is the Big Island's finest scuba diving location. One prime location here is Kealakekua Bay. It has it all blue and calm crystal clear water with a perfect underwater visibility and a variety of spectacular marine life.

Parasailing in Hawaii

Parasailing is a fun sport for those who want to fly high, anywhere from 300 to 800 feet (90 to 245 m) above the ocean. Imagine the stunning views up there! You will rise up and be able to enjoy a 360 degree bird's-eye-view of the area, plus you will feel your adrenaline rushing through your body while you sore above the blue ocean. Parasailing tours are offered on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island (but not on Kauai).

and More!

Besides these abovementioned ocean activities, there is much more to do in Hawaii. Other popular ocean sports include jet skiing, SNUBA, windsurfing, kitesurfing and fishing.