Learning to Surf on Maui

Learning to surf on Maui, Maui Surf Lessons


I have tried surfing about half a dozen times in the last 15 years. Despite the fact that I have been out on all kinds of waves, I have never been able to catch a wave on my own. Determined to overcome this, I booked a private lesson for myself and my brother-in-law Kerry with Maui Surf Lessons (a sister company of Hawaiian Paddle Sports). And I finally caught a wave all by myself! In fact, it was so easy, I wondered why I hadn’t been able to do it before. But that’s the advantage of having a skilled instructor who can coach you in knowing when to paddle and which waves to go for.

Most of the lessons I had done previously had been group lessons. Kerry had done one group lesson before as well. We both preferred the private lesson as we had similar experiences of generally being ignored during the group lessons. If all you want to do is stand on a board in whitewash after your instructor pushes you into the wave, a group lesson is fine. But if you have surfed before or you want to learn some skills so you can get out on the water alone, private lessons are the way to go. The two person lesson was great because we were able to learn from each other as the instructor pointed out what to do, or not to do, while the other person was surfing. We were able to ask questions, test our skills, and try new things with an instructor who was encouraging and friendly.


Learning to surf on Maui, Maui Surf Lessons


Maui Surf Lessons are usually held at a beach south of Lahaina with a small reef break great for beginners. The day we were out, we didn’t get many rides (which was actually ok because paddling out is exhausting), but the waves were smooth and, more importantly, long. You had time to get up, find your balance, and still get a nice ride. If I had thought of it, I would have totally gone to hang ten. Best of all, we were the only ones on the water which meant we didn’t have to worry about sharing waves, or crashing into, other surfers.

Even if you’ve never surfed before, there’s no need to worry as Maui Surf Lessons guarantees they will have you surfing. We didn’t test this out with Laura who has poor balance, but it would be almost impossible not to get a ride on a long board with the waves we had. That being said, Kerry and I both did fall once.

I got perhaps a little over-confident and asked to switch boards with the instructor. His board was about two feet shorter than mine and didn’t have fins which made it a lot more difficult to control. I fell off the thing before I had even climbed on. Despite it being way more unstable and harder to steer, I did get a feel for it and caught a wave for a few seconds on our last ride. I don’t know if I could catch a wave on my own on a board that short (the shorter the board, the faster you have to paddle), but if I ever do I know I will be carving like a pro (yeah right).


Learning to surf on Maui, Maui Surf Lessons



More About Maui Surf Lessons

There are plenty of surf companies on Maui, but why we liked Maui Surf Lessons is because of their contribution to the environment. They believe it is a privilege to be able to play in the ocean and with that privilege comes responsibility to care for it. It seems obvious that we should take care of the environment so that we can continue to use it. Still, there are companies out there who neglect to educate and let their customers walk on the reefs. If haven’t watched Chasing Coral yet, you should. Our reefs are fragile living things on which the ocean depends and deserve respect.

Each month, Maui Surf Lessons participates in an activity to help keep Maui beautiful and clean. Last month, they paddled for six hours to a nearby island to help plant indigenous grasses. They also support the Hawaii Ecotourism Association Principles of Sustainable Tourism, sell reef-safe sunscreen, and provide water in reusable water bottles for their customers.

This lesson and all photos were provided by Maui Surf Lessons.


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Learn how to surf on Maui and catch your first ride in paradise!








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21 Replies to “Learning to Surf on Maui”

  1. Great article! Surfin’ is a great way to feel the power of the nature, and to feel freedom! Out there on the waves everything is peace! ✌🏻

    Any chance you would like to share this article on our platform as a guest blogger? —> wanderlustvlog.com. Would be so cool to have a surf experience on there… 😊

  2. It sounds like you had a great time and a very positive experience. It is so good when you do something like this that leaves a lasting desire to continue doing it. The two of you should rent a couple of boards for the day to keep the ball rolling🤙🏻

  3. Great article and super shot of you, Jennifer!

  4. Congrats for catching your first wave! I have try to surf many time and swalloed atleast 10l of sea water. I am giving up..my excuse is I am to old (37!). But if we ever pass by Hawaii I will contact Maui surf lesson for sure to give the surfing another try!

    1. I have definitely swallowed my share of water. And been hit in the head with my board. And been held under water by waves. Granted, I was much younger the first time I went surfing, but I’m 38 now and still love going out. I am sure you will get it!

  5. Sounds like an amazing time, and I love that they/you mentioned the importance of looking after the environment. It’s so important, and makes a company so much more appealing to me, that they show they care. Rachel On Routw

  6. I must admit, standing up surfing the first time you go out would be difficult. Years ago when I was trying it, I had no idea what a physical activity it was. That said, a longboard helps much.

  7. I am growing to old for many new experiences, such as skydiving, which no longer interests me at all. But, I would love to try surfing!! It looks like you had a great time, and I like that you tested it with unbalanced, (lol) friend. Also love the cool eco things that Maui Surf Lessons do.

  8. I must say I have paddled and surfed all over the world, but Hawaii will always be one of my favorites.

    1. Can’t argue with you there:)

  9. congrats on standıng up!!!! so satısfyıng yea?

    who would you recommend group lessons too? ı realıse thıs ıs a sponsored trıp but as a budget traveller would you sacrıfıce the cash for prıvate lessons ın thefuture?

    1. As someone who couldn’t always afford the luxury of private lessons, and someone who believes in not wasting money, I totally understand where you’re coming from. It really depends on your confidence and ability in the water. If you really want to save money, you could skip lessons altogether and just rent the board. I get nervous in the ocean sometimes, but a good rental place can tell you good spots to go to and currents to watch out for. Personally, I don’t think group lessons have much to offer, so I would either do it solo or do a private lesson. That being said, I’ve seen people go out without lessons doing it wrong, so maybe educate yourself first on some basic techniques.

      1. I should also add that, for Laura who struggled with SUPing, this lesson was crucial to getting her standing.

  10. Hawaii looks great for learning to surf! All I’ve ever done is body boarding in north Devon, much colder than Maui. Great the Maui Surf Lessons are so proactive in caring for the environment – I’d definitely choose them.

  11. Surfing is one of those things I have never tried… but I hope I get the opportunity to some day! Now I am having some serious Hawaii wanderlust.

  12. That’s a nice pic! I learned surfing in Asturias, Spain, but got bored because of low waves. It seems like you had a much more fun time in Maui 🙂

    1. I think I’m ready for bigger waves now:)

  13. I am Australian and lived near the beach when I was kid but I never learnt how to surf, I skied instead. I have always wanted to learn though and I have to say learning to surf in Maui looks like so much fun, I am so adding this to my bucketlist. Glad to hear that you liked it and that you were able to catch a wave for a few seconds on our last ride on a harder board.

    1. I never got the hang of skiing. I much prefer falling in the water than falling into snow:)

  14. This is just the perfect place to learn to surf!! Though we can’t wait to do in whilst we are here in Aus too! I have done a bit a while ago and found it quite easy coming from a skateboarding background

    1. I was into longboarding for a little while, but I didn’t like the feeling of falling on cement as much as falling into water:)

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