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  1. #1
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    November surf in Hawaii (that's not huge)?

    GF and I planning a trip to Oahu and Kauai in November when flights are cheap. Probably spending about 5 days on both islands. Going to Kauai to hike on the Na'pali Coast and Waimea Canyon, but want to get some surfing in too during our time on Oahu. Searched TGR and the internetz and didn't find much helpful info on winter surfing for non-pros.

    Are there more protected breaks on the north shore when the swell isn't running huge?
    Is there any surf on the south shore at all in November?
    What's surfing like in Kauai?
    How's the localism at the lesser breaks?
    Was thinking of not bringing a board to save the $200 + $35 each way inter-island flight costs. I'd assume decent rentals can be had at good prices?

  2. #2
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    Oahu is easy, South shore in the winter is reasonable. We rented from http://www.qualitysurfboardshawaii.com/ pick up and drop off were easy and they switched boards for us at no cost which was rad.
    I don't work and I don't save, desperate women pay my way.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010
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    Jtran,
    On the North shore when there's a big swell running Haleiwa beach park can be a
    refuge if you want to get in the water, if in question, don't be afraid to ask
    one of the life guards about local info, the offshore breaks can be deceptively
    enticing, looks fun from the beach but after paddling out there they can be menacing
    up close,

    On the South shore , try Diamond Head cliffs, its a hike down the bluff but it has
    less of a crowd , lots of defined channels to paddle out , the surfers tend to fan out
    so the vibe trends toward mellow,

    as far as localism,you can find assholes pretty much anywhere, I found that being
    competent and respectful to be essential,

    Have fun

  4. #4
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    Zion
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    When in November? You might overlap with Vans Triple Crown? If so, then good luck getting waves on the north shore, crowded and competitive. I'd probably suggest Puena Point on the inside would be your best bet for lucking into some waves. More of gentle wave compared to most other spots on the north shore. RE: Haleiwa, it has 2 sides. Under head high it's a fun little wave and easy access. When the swell is running then Haleiwa turns on and is a hard wave to predict. It also has an inside section called the toilet bowl, not fun to get stuck there during a big set. Current is a beyotch at Haleiwa if it's Overhead. For South shore I'd say Diamond Head will be most consistent because they get a trade wind swell that wraps around Coco Head. It's usually bigger than spots near wakiki. PM me if you need more info

  5. #5
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    looks like we'll be in the state from 11/18-11/28, most likely doing Oahu first, from the 18th to the 22nd or 23rd.

    Have a good option for accommodations in Honolulu, so good to hear there's waves on the south shore that time of year too. Wasn't sure if that coast completely shut down or what when the S swells stopped running.

    Board rentals look cheap, thx moose

    edit: if we do run into the triple crown might be a best of both worlds - surf the south shore and then catch the pros on the north if the contest is running

  6. #6
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    DH is a quick drive from Honolulu. Trade swell on the East side is really consistent most of the year and this wraps into Diamond Head, so it's pretty consistent but cleaner than the East side. Most everyone else will be surfing the North Shore come November, so you might catch it pretty uncrowded at DH. Sometimes it can get blown out if trade winds are too strong or too much south in it.

  7. #7
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    I spent a Nov/Dec on Kauai about ten years back. The pier at Hanalei never gets big. If it is 40' on the outer reef it will be head high here. Smaller days are common in the Hanalei Bay, so you should be able to get out there.

    Pine Treea is the beach break in the center of the bay right in front of a decent cheap hotel. Punchy peaks but all sand bottom and you can spread out. Again tends to be much smaller than the reefs but picks up more swell than the pier.

    If it is small, check the top of the Bay in front of the big hotel. A path goes down to the break. On a big day this area will be huge and dangerous, but I surfed it head high when inside the bay was pretty flat. You can also get a great view of the reefs and waves inside the bay from this area

    Stay away from Cannins, Tunnels and Coco Pia(?). They are shallow, sharp and serious waves.

    There is a light house on the north shore. Spelling is way off, but sounds like Killiwea. Anyway. There is a cove near it that has a great wave when conditions are right and can get super packed and tubes in front of a cliff. Not a good wave for a beginner, but as the tube peels into the cove the rippers kick out and from there it is a pretty fun LB wave.

    If you can get Hanalei at chest-head high you should give it a go. Pretty solid fun wave but at that size it is not super gnarly. Crowd was never too bad either.

    West Shore can be pretty gnarly. There is a spot along the SW shore right along the road that is a fun series of reefs. Tends to get crowded though beig right on the highway.

    South shore was super flat while we were there. East shore was windy but had some fun utility waves.

    Na'Pali hike was one of the best of my life. Right up there with Zion Narrows and Olumpic Rainforest while on mushrooms.

  8. #8
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    thanks ott. Booked airfare yesterday, so we've got 10 full days in state, as well as 2 half days on either end.

    Assuming we take 3 days to do the Kalalau (or some other combo of day hikes), and a day at Waimea canyon, would you guys split the trip 5 days on Oahu and 5 on Kauai, or more on Kauai? We're trying to be super budget and will be camping whenever possible. Seems like more options for campgrounds on Kauai, but could be wrong there.

  9. #9
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    I only know Kauai and it is absolutely beautiful. Lots of great camping. My favorite spots was by Tunnels near the end of the road on the north shore. There is a pretty large cave there so you can cooking I side if the rain is showering. We basically camped for a moth but you need to move every three days or so due to rules.

    There is an old camp site on the Na'Pali hike about 10 miles in. About 1.5 miles before the Red Bank. On the bluffs maybe 100' above sea level. We really like it. Our stuff was wet from the day before, so it was great for drying out our stuff. We just day hiked in to the final beach.

    All thing considered I did not consider the surf all that crowded. Hanalei is a really chill town.

    As much as I'd like to see Oahu, I'd be very likely to return to Kauai. An it is not just because I have a few friends living there.

    If the surf is real small, the end of the road on the west side (Polihali if I recall correctly) is remote beach camping and there is surf there. But it picks up a loa of swell, so if Hanalei goes flat, you can usually fin chest high surf there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Na'Pali hike was one of the best of my life. Right up there with Zion Narrows and Olumpic Rainforest while on mushrooms.
    ^^^ THis. Take four days for Kalalau, spend a day hiking there and a day back and two days to enjoy Kalalau itself. The place is all time.

    Waimea canyon was a big disappointment to me after Kalalau. Plus it is a long (for Hawaii) drive around the island. I'd skip it for more time at Kalalau. Also check out the waterfall highlighted in the current swimming holes thread, way better than Waimea Canyon, it's near the airport. Overall Kauaii>Oahu, so yes spend your time accordingly. Kauaii is one of the finer spots on Earth.

  11. #11
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    ate'em - thx for waterfalls recs. Definitely a big part of what we want to see in HI.

    ott - is it pretty chill to just pitch a tent on the beach at a place like tunnels, or elsewhere on the island? Looking at google maps it looks like it's right in/near a bunch of houses. All I've seen so far for camping are the state park campgrounds, but if you have some more low key spots I'd love to hear. PM if you can.

  12. #12
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    We only stayed in state park campgrounds. But there is one at Tunnels. Or at least was one ten years ago. That was generally where we camped when surfing Hanalei. If we had to to move, we went east toward A--------- SP and stayed there for a few days. Was just about as close to town, and has a great view of some outer reefs, but you could not mind surf barrels while cooking your chicken and rice. Polihali you just camp right on the beach. I think it is legal, but there are no house near there.

  13. #13
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    camping on the beaches in Hawaii is unique, there are few established campsites,
    some private, some state run sites, but in general most beaches are
    closed to camping, but the exception to that is if you have a fishing license and are
    fishing, you can set up camp and spend the night,,,generally a pull off the side of the
    road deal, not the most enjoyable kind of camping.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgray View Post
    camping on the beaches in Hawaii is unique, there are few established campsites,
    some private, some state run sites, but in general most beaches are
    closed to camping, but the exception to that is if you have a fishing license and are
    fishing, you can set up camp and spend the night,,,generally a pull off the side of the
    road deal, not the most enjoyable kind of camping.
    I didn't think you need any kind of license to fish in Hawaii. Just a rod.
    Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    Henry David Thoreau

  15. #15
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    SheRa, you are probably right about that,,, I haven't made any time to fish when I've
    been in Hawaii, but did notice people spending the night along the undeveloped
    beaches, asked a friend about the camping and found out about the fishing exemption.

    Last summer I had looked into booking a VW camper van for a week and give beach
    camping a go, but after reading the negative reviews on the rental company, we decided to back out,

  16. #16
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    Hehe, they sell the cane poles at costco for like $5. Or did I see that at the grocery store... That exemption works out pretty well for the hippy freeloaders, I guess.
    Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    Henry David Thoreau

  17. #17
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    I imagine those poles sold at the tourist grocery that also has a bunch of boxes of chocolate coated macadamia. Can't remember the name of the place, but it reminded me of a Hawaiian Trader Joes for haoles.

  18. #18
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    Well the ABC stores have a lot of stuff in their small spaces, but foodland is the big grocery store with all the poke and mac nut section and lots of organic food. I love the way they mark the local items. But everybody goes to both, not just haoles...
    Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    Henry David Thoreau

  19. #19
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    Ah, yes, ABC. I would not doubt that my memory has mixed the two stores into one store. It has been well over a decade. Need to get back.

  20. #20
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    heading out of town for a week so won't be able to check for responses, but beginning to throw around the idea of doing oahu and the big island, since figuring out logistics for the kalalau trail (not leaving a rental car at the trailhead, packing for 2 weeks without having a place to store gear while we hike, etc) is becoming kind of difficult.

    Anyone have good info on the big island? Or any good ideas on a. getting to and from the trailhead without renting a car and leaving it there and/or b. storing some random clothes etc while we hike?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    figuring out logistics for the kalalau trail (not leaving a rental car at the trailhead, packing for 2 weeks without having a place to store gear while we hike, etc) is becoming kind of difficult.
    nobody said it would be easy, but it is soooooo worth it. dont bother with a rental car, you can easily hitchhike two people from the airport up to the trailhead. you could leave a bag of stuff at a hotel while you hike the kalalau. whatever it takes, it is absolutely worth it. other than the in the water surfing experience, nothing tops kalalau in all of hawaii. dont miss it.

  22. #22
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    Not sure if this will help at all, but I went two years ago for corporate work and had a buddy tag along. We heard Kauai was more beautiful/romantic so we avoided it being two dudes. It was bad enough being surrounded by honeymooners the whole trip. Spent some time in Honolulu for work/fun, then Maui and Big Island for fun only. Maybe I didn't do Oahu right and associated it with working in the city, but Oahu fell a very distant 3rd among those three. We concentrated on snorkelling. Maui (Lahaina specifically)>Big Island>>>>>>>>>>>>Oahu. Planning to take the girl next year, and I will probably be splitting time between Lahaina and Kauai.

  23. #23
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    Same question as OP (November surf in Hawaii, that's not huge?), but for the Big Island around thanksgiving week.

  24. #24
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    I'm heading to the No. Shore of Oahu for 5 days at the beginning of November (8-13th). Looking forward to it! I have a buddy that grew up there and still lives there that tells me I can find some waves that won't crush me. Fingers crossed.
    He who has the most fun wins!

  25. #25
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    I did pine trees on the big island years ago. The outside break was 6 ft face or so. There was a small inside break too, maybe 3 ft.

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