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Surfing is one of the most popular pastimes of the Hawaiian Islands. Sure, it can be intimidating for amateurs, but keep in mind that even most prominent old-timers had to start somewhere. If you’re ready to give surfing a try, consider one of these Oahu surf breaks.
At White Plains Beach on the southwest shore is Barber's Point. This area is run by the military and tends to be occupied mostly by locals and military-related folks (and monk seals). If you have a military ID, there are extra perks to enjoy such as a picnic pavilion and board rentals. The parking is decent, bathrooms are clean and a station with a hose and stand for your surfboard are available for easy cleanup.
Waves here can be choppy at times, but are still catchable and fun. Beginners will generally stay on the "inside." This means the inside of the reef break where waves start dying down and tend to be smaller.
As the water here can be murky, sharks do frequent the area and attacks have occurred.
Known as one of the most famous (and crowded) beginner surf spots in the world, Canoes is located off the beautiful white sands of Waikiki Beach. Surf schools and board rental shops are conveniently situated along the beach. A surf lesson can be helpful for your first time and an opportunity for you to get pictures of yourself standing on a board. Renting a surfboard may be a good idea if you don’t want to carry one from the nearest paid parking lot - about five minutes away - or don’t want to risk your own board getting damaged in the sea of newbie surfers.
Canoes is ideal for novice surfers as the rolling waves break gently over a mostly sand seabed and because the waves are generally small most of the year. Again, it's probably best to stay on the inside, away from where the regulars are catching the bigger breaking waves.
Pay attention so that you don't get run over by a canoe (hence the name) or another surfer heading your way.
Chun’s Reef is part of the “Seven Mile Miracle,” a strip of legendary surf spots along Oahu’s North Shore. Depending on the time of year, Chun’s caters to both beginner and expert surfers. This area is crowded with both locals and tourists, especially in the summer, when some surf schools set up shop here. Try to arrive early morning to beat the surf school rush.
Although there aren’t many frills at the beach here (no lifeguard, no restrooms and not much shade), it’s a nice spot to learn how to longboard when the conditions are mellow. Look but don't touch if you see turtles hanging around and be careful of the reef.