Hanging loose on the North Shore of Kauai is the norm. As one of the meccas of surfing in Hawaii, there is no better place to learn, polish your skills, and even catch some waves with pros than Hanalei Bay in Kauai. For those that prefer to watch (surfing voyeurs), don’t worry. You have a gorgeous backdrop with lush mountains, beautiful bay, and a long, sandy beach to enjoy while the surfers paddle out, catch, ride, and rip the North Shore waves.
However, once a month on the first Saturday, a special event draws the surfing community away from the beach to the Old School Building in Hanalei (aka Hanalei Surf Company). From 9am-noon, surfers from all across the island convene at the Hanalei Surfboard Swap for a chance to sell, buy, or trade boards. At the board swap, the prices range from a little under a hundred dollars to well over a thousand bucks, but you can find just the right board for you and your ability, including fish boards, malibus, shortboards, guns, and even some other gear for other water sports like stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), outrigger canoeing, and wind or kite surfing.
And, I write not just from observing the swap, but from experience of buying and selling boards at the Hanalei Surfboard Swap. After I sold a used board that was just not getting much use, I found my “just right” board. I, like Goldilocks, tried each board on for size, style, condition, skill level, and cost. After carefully viewing the inventory of over a hundred boards of all shapes, sizes, and price ranges, I walked away with a custom-painted board just the right size, style, and condition.
A couple of hints for first time shoppers or visitors of the Hanalei Surfboard Swap:
- The best shoppers arrive early to scope out the entire inventory & grab the best boards. I would suggest arriving before 9am.
- For those hard bargainers, the general rule of thumb is the later it gets, the lower the prices. However, many of the good boards may have been carried away by then.
And, don’t leave Hanalei without checking out the main drag for surf lessons and gear, shopping, and a boatload of places to get your grind on (get something to eat), ranging from outstanding surfer breakfasts to groovy plate lunches and fish tacos. My foodie suggestions are Hanalei Coffee Roasters, Hanalei Taro and Juice Co. food truck, and Tropical Taco. If I were you, I’d take the grinds to go and head to Hanalei Beach for the rest of the day catching some waves and rays. Parking is limited, but your best bet is to head to Black Pot Beach.
Have you traveled to Kauai and experienced Hanalei’s beauty? If so, please share your tips and adventures. I love to hear from fellow adventueros/as.
Here’s to more good times and good stories. Aloha!