Finding the best beginner surf spots in Waikiki is easy. If you spring for an ocean view, just look out your window. If you are a cheap bastard (or financially considerate), take a walk down Kalakaua Avenue. This is the main thoroughfare through Waikiki and it runs parallel along the white, sandy beaches, hotels, bars, restaurants and the sweetest waves in town.
- Queens Queens is famous for first rides. The break is legendary and mostly mellow. The first part of the break is where you see surf school pupils learning the basics. This spot is often called "Baby Queens" and serves as a testing ground to see if surf pupils freaks out. If they freak out, it’s shallow enough to walk back to the beach. When you get your wings, paddle out to the far break and this incredibly long right will blow your mind. Queens is easy to find. Kuhio Beach Park is smack dab in the action of Waikiki. Look for the impressive statue of Duke Kahanamoku and walk towards the sea.
- Canoes Canoes is as easy as Queens for a beginner surf spot, but there is a lot more traffic because of the (you got it) canoes. The outrigger canoe tours and sunset beach cruises all use this area to go out to sea. The wave is also epic but breaks less sharply than Queens, which means you need a longboard. There is a lot of surf school action here and if the waves are waist to shoulder high, there will be a ton of locals as well. While usually not worth the hassle of running the gauntlet of kooks and canoes, locals know that this area is one of the best rides in town when it’s firing. To find Canoes, look for the crowd bobbing right off the beach from the Moana Surfrider Hotel.
- Threes Threes is for when you know enough to get in trouble. This wave is known to toss up mini barrels in shoulder-high surf and there is no sign of a surf school. Why? Well, you have to paddle about a half mile to get there, but it is still a great spot to practice your new found knowledge if you can make the paddle. Take it slow; it is not a grueling swim but sometimes people start tripping out when they notice how far they are from shore. The best way to get to Threes is to go to the Shore Bird Restaurant near the Hilton Hawaiian Village and have the valet park your car. When you are done surfing, order a beer and some sashimi and ask them to validate.
- Waikiki The best beginner surf spots in Waikiki can be anywhere, anytime. Basically, there are always waves somewhere on the south shore that are great for beginners. The best sessions are usually unplanned in unnamed spots you find while paddling around. You just got to take some breaks from staring at all the girls in bikinis and keep an eye out for the waves.
- Take a surf lesson. For the price of a few drinks at the Hanohano Room, the beach boys will get you up and surfing in no time.
- Hawaiians measure waves differently than mainlanders. The general rule of thumb is to double a Hawaiian wave to make it sensible. For example, a three to five foot wave in Hawaii would be a six to ten foot wave in California. No one knows why or cares.