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Welcome to Dream Vacations, a lifestyle column on travelling to amazing destinations with practical advice and my revelations about locales from years of personal experience. In this week’s article we’ll explore surfing and SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) for families and beginners. However, if you are looking for more watersports try reading this past blog or this one on snorkeling.  

Surfing as a Beginner

The first thing to remember is that surfing is a physical sport and requires you to be in good health. The most important thing to remember is, never paddle out on your surf board farther than you can swim out and back. Surfing is more dangerous than land sports, simply because the ocean is a lot more unpredictable. Your first step should be taking a few lessons and only ever surf with another person. Also, it’s best to stay away from the ‘big waves’ while you are still learning how to surf. That’s the best part about surfing in Hawaii, that there are so many great spots, even for beginners. Be sure to get equipped with the right equipment for your ability at a quality surf shop before heading out.

Here are some of the best beginner surfing spots:

  1. Maui, Westin Ka’anapali – A great list of family friendly beginner spots in Maui.
  2. Oahu, Hilton Hawaii Village – Looking for the best family surfing spots near this resort?
  3. Big Island, Waikoloa Beach ResortSurfing the big island with children is easy.

SUP: Paddleboarding           

Not sure you and your family are ready for surfing the waves in Hawaii? Why not try the next best thing; SUP to those in the know. Paddleboarding is essentially an oversized surfboard with a paddle. You stand on the board and propel yourself forward with the paddle. Even if you have young children you can go as a family and have the young ones sit on the board in front of you. This idyllic watersport allows you to go at your own pace while still enjoying the waters of Hawaii.


Although paddleboarding is a lot less demanding and dangerous than surfing it is not without its risks. Be sure to read a few in-depth guides, paddleboard at home before you go and get the low-down from the rental agency before heading out in the ocean waters of Hawaii.


Of course, you will need to paddleboard in areas where the water is typically calmer than surfing. Here are a few great spots for families:

  1. Maui – best spots for traversing the ocean blue.
  2. Oahu – leave the monster waves behind for these calmer waters.
  3. Big Island – enjoy the sunset, marine life or a simple time with family.


I have some of my best vacations in Hawaii by enjoying watersports with family. Even if you are not physically active, paddleboarding is a great way to enjoy the water more than just swimming. Be sure to find the best resorts near your ideal water spots in Hawaii on our home page

Tags: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Big Island, watersports, surfing, paddleboarding, family vacation