Paddleboarding can be a real challenge for the new initiate. This is because is requires balance and being used to balancing in a new way. Add in tricky surface chop to the factor of trying to learn a new skill and you’ll find it can be discouragingly difficult. It’s important to learn in a spot where the conditions are ideal for learning.
This big island is home to some of the calmest waters anywhere in the world. This is because we are well protected on the leeward side here in Kona. We also have protection from the large ocean swells by the other islands. To further improve our conditions we have some really nice bays that can improve the surface conditions. Here we focus on those beaches and bays that have the best conditions for new paddleboarders.
Best paddlebaord beaches near Kona for Beginners
- Kailua Bay
- Keahou Bay
- Honokohau Marina
- 2 Step
Factors to consider when selecting a site to paddleboard
- Ease of entry
- Distance from vehicle to the water
- Terrain from vehicle to the harbor
Kailua Pier and the surrounding bay is possibly the best place to learn to paddleboard on the big island. This is because of the pondlike cove directly in front of King Kamehameha hotel known as Kamakahonu beach. You can rent a paddleboard from Ali’i Adventures and wheel it across the street and launch it very easily. The water there is like a lake and only has the occasional tiny wave. Locals like to bring thier small children here because it’s such a nice spot for little ones to play near the surf. This is an ideal place to practice your paddleboard skills because it’s well protected from both the wind and the waves even when the wind and waves are sizeable.
Once out in the bay things can get a bit dicier but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place to paddleboard. On the contrary, it’s one of the best spots around. The bay is frequented by groups of spinner dolphins and often has much marine life below. If you bring a snorkel set with you you can jump in to cool off and see the schools of Akule here. To learn more about snorkeling here and other great snorkel beaches check out our blog about the best snorkel beaches.There is a fair amount of boat traffic here but plenty of room to maneuver. The shore has shower and bathroom facilities.
Like Kailua Bay, Keahou is also relatively well protected and unless there is a direct west swell it will be relatively calm. Whil not as well protected as Kamakahonu beach or Kailua bay it’s located more south and will be a different experience. Lanching at the boat ramp or the beach on the northeast end will be easiest as there isn’t really any other good option. Keahou is home to quite a few moored boats and a launch ramp so there is a fair amount on boat traffic. Also there are no showers available here.