Big Island surfing is generally for the experienced only but there are a few good surfing places for beginners as well. As a general rule, the beaches on the north and west shores of the island get northern swells in winter, while those on the south and east shores get southern swells in summer.
Experienced surfers should check out the waves at:
Pine Trees (north of Kailua-Kona);
Lyman‘s (off Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona); and
Banyan‘s (also off Alii Drive).
Reliable spots on the east side of the island include:
Honolii Point (outside Hilo); and
Kahuluu Beach (beginners), where the waves are manageable most of the year. There are other surfers around to give you pointers, and there’s a lifeguard on shore.
Ocean Eco Tours (808-324-SURF), owned and operated by veteran surfers Rob Hemshere and Steve Velonza, is the only company on the Big Island that teaches surfing. Private lessons cost $125 per person (including all equipment) and usually last a minimum of 2 hours; 2 to 3 hour group lessons go for $85 (also including all equipment), with a maximum of four students. The minimum age is 8, and you must be a fairly good swimmer.