Stand-Up Paddle Boarding In Oahu

Stand-up paddleboarding has taken the world by storm, and no wonder it’s a fantastic way to explore the coastlines and enjoy a day at the beach. The SUP experience is even better if you have a good destination, and Oahu is one of the premier SUP destinations in the world.

Oahu is the ideal SUP destination; it has everything one could want for the ultimate SUP experience. The island has spectacular beaches and fantastic sea life. It’s the perfect setting that allows for river meanders and beach excursions. Oahu has many SUP hire vendors and learn-to-SUP schools.

Oahu is a dream destination for SUP boarders; the island offers everything one could want, from waves to rivers and marinas. Great weather and many outlets offer SUPs for hire, lessons, and guided tours, meaning that Oahu is fully set up and ready to help make your SUP experience perfect.

What Is Stand-Up Paddleboarding, And Why Is Oahu A Great Destination For It?

Although relatively new in the sports scene, stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, is surprisingly not as new as one might think. In one form or another, SUP has been practiced for millennia by various civilizations as a valuable means of getting about on the water.

Using a long flat board to stand or kneel on and a paddle to propel oneself through the water, SUP allows for both exhilaration and relaxation as one can catch a wave surf style or comfortably paddle along in calm waters.

SUP boards will range from about 12 to 20 feet long and usually have a width in the region of 20 inches. The weights of the boards will vary from a mere 20 pounds to 40 pounds.

Unlike surfboards, SUP boards are wider, and you use a paddle. SUPs can be used kneeling or standing and are an excellent alternative for those who can’t quite manage a surfboard or if you prefer a chill ride through the waves.

Oahu makes the perfect SUP destination not only as the birthplace of SUP as we know it today but also thanks to its spectacular beaches, weather, and whole island vibe that make it the perfect SUP destination.

There are rivers, bays, the ocean, and marinas on the island to choose from, and the weather is good year-round, although April and May, and September to October, are the times of the year when the weather hits perfection.

With the island being a SUP paradise, there are many places to hire SUP, so you needn’t worry about bringing your own. For beginners, many good outfitters offer lessons and tours as well.


Top Stand-Up Paddleboarding Spots In Oahu

Oahu is a gem of an island regarding great SUP spots. Let’s look at the top SUP spots in Oahu and some lesser-known areas we highly recommend; after all, one only sometimes wants to be caught in a crowd.

The good news is that most Oahu beaches are open to the public, with permits only required for groups larger than 50, for some beaches if you wish to book picnic areas over summer, and for camping.


Ala Moana Beach

This is a perfect year-round SUP location and one of the best in winter when the surf starts to get a bit big as it’s well protected so that you can be sure of calm water. The beach is highly accessible, and the Ala Moana shopping center is close by for when you need a break or a snack.



The most famed beach in Oahu, Waikiki, is an excellent place for beginner and experienced SUP boarders. The beach is very accessible, although it can get crowded in summer. Waikiki has several hotels and resorts, so refreshment is always close. Newbies should stay shallow, though, as the waves can get bigger further out.



One of the most picturesque locations on Oahu, Lanikai is much like its name, a ‘heavenly sea,’ and is a great spot to escape the crowd. However, as it’s more out of the way, you must go prepared as you won’t be able to purchase refreshments at the beach. Public access is via Mokumanu Drive and Kaiolena Drive.

Lanikai is close to the Mokulua Islands, and you can SUP to the Northern Island, about a mile away. It’s the perfect way to see sea life. Of note, one should not land on the South Island as this is a bird sanctuary, and access is prohibited.


Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is an excellent SUP spot in summer; the waves get large in winter, and it becomes a surfing haven. Sunset Beach offers superb sunsets and beautiful coral reefs, so snorkeling gear is another thing to take. There is a free public parking area, and we recommend taking your snacks.


Mokoli’i Island

Situated just off Kualoa Regional Park, Mokoli’I is a stunning island once part of Oahu but has been cut off from the island through erosion. It makes for a fun paddling expedition and a short wander to the island’s summit once you’re there.

Should you opt to hike, make sure your SUP is pulled high enough out of the water so it doesn’t get washed away by the incoming tide. On Oahu, the Kualoa Regional Park offers restrooms, refreshments, and a lovely beach.

If you opt to camp, you will need to get a permit from the State Parks division in the Kalanimoku Building in Honolulu.


Tips For Stand-Up Paddleboarding In Oahu

If you’re a beginner and need more certainty about SUP, don’t worry. Kneeling helps with getting used to

balancing and getting started with paddling. You can start off kneeling.

When paddling, you should engage your core for support. Your core will do much of the work; your arms should guide the paddle through the water. When you start standing, make sure you are in at least should deep water, and if you fall, fall to the side. It’s an idea to get used to falling, so give it a few tries (plus, it will keep you nice and cool).

As a beginner, keep to calmer waters with little to no wind or swell; as you get better, you can start trying out moves on smaller waves. A good tip is to check the local surf reports, which are comprehensive and can guide you on conditions and safety.

If no one else is out, don’t attempt it, it is likely not safe. If you know you will go out on a long paddle; we suggest taking a life jacket. And, of course, sunscreen is always recommended.


Stand-Up Paddleboard Tours And Rentals In Oahu

There are several good SUP rental outlets and tour operators in Oahu. These are our top picks:

  • Aloha SUP Club is based in Ala Moana; the Aloha SUP Club offers rentals within 24 hours’ notice. Rental prices vary depending on deals and specials, but you are looking at $69/hour.
  • Ohana Surf Project is based in Waikiki and offers both rentals and lessons. Prices range from $100- $130. Depending on availability, bookings can be made within an hour or two of the lesson.
  • Surf N Sea IS located in Haleiwa on the North Shore and offers rentals in anything beach related, from SUPs to snorkels. Prices range from $20 for 1 hour, $60 for a day, and $300 for a week, although deposits are necessary for the day or week options. They also offer hourly, daily, and weekly rates, which is fantastic.


Stand-Up Paddleboarding Events And Competitions In Oahu

For those visiting Oahu in July, the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships will take place on the 30th. The race is a challenging 32 miles, and you will see the best SUP boarders in the world in action. James Casey from Australia is the reigning champion, while his countryman Travis Grant is the record holder.

Registration opened on the 15th of February, 2023, and filled quickly with a waiting list now being in effect.


Final Thoughts: Why You Should Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding In Oahu

If visiting Oahu, stand-up paddle boarding is a must-do activity. It’s an enjoyable way to experience the island’s beach areas and offers a unique perspective for viewing the sea life. Unlike traditional surfing, you don’t need excellent balance, and the SUP makes the ocean much more accessible.



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