Enjoy our most recent video, moments at Ho’okipa Beach!
Hoʻokipa—which translates to “welcoming comfort”—can be thanked for Paia earning the nickname of the “Windsurfing Capital of the World” (with nods as well to Sprecks and Kanaha). Its stretch of white sand, dotted with black rocks, is located at mile marker #8.8 on Hwy 36 between the towns of Paia and Haiku. A one-way entrance to the park prohibits drivers from getting directly back onto the Road to Hana, but Hookipa Lookout—situated on a cliff overlooking the surf and featuring a spacious parking lot—serves as a great place to pull over and admire this slice of the island. Framed on the left side by images of the craggy central coastline and the lush West Maui Mountains, it’s no wonder the place inspired the “Songbird of Maui” to pen one of the island’s best-known songs—and ushered in some of surfing’s leading talent.
What to Love
Speaking of those surfers: Ocean enthusiasts flock to the North Shore for the epic rides Hoʻokipa offers, with waves surging upwards of 25 feet during northerly swells and the persistent wind promising kite and windsurfers some of the best rides of their lives. With four breaks—Pavillions, Middles, Point, and Lanes—and each possessing their own characteristics, Hookipa is home to several of the most widely-watched competitions in the world, including the annual Hoʻokipa Surf Classic, the Red Bull King of the Air, and The Aloha Classic. Seasoned surfers visiting Maui will find their stoke and more; green surfers are best advised to check out smaller, less volatile breaks and to savor the sights from the lookout or beach instead. Ocean sports aside, Hoʻokipa is a terrific spot for sunbathing, beach walking, picnicking, or bearing witness to Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles bobbing in the water and beaching themselves at dusk.
Check out some of our favorite Maui surf photos.
What to Know
A dip in the ocean on calmer days is a must at Hookipa, but due to the unpredictability of conditions and its exposed reef, it’s rarely a good spot for swimming. (For that, check the potentially placid waters on the leeward side.) You’ll also find three pavilions, picnic tables, restrooms, and an outdoor shower. The lookout, meanwhile, has food stands and portable bathrooms.
When to Go
Mornings are inarguably the ideal time to relish Maui’s beaches; come early enough and you can enjoy some serenity. Those keen on seeing surfers in all their glory ought to come during winter when the waves are the largest, while sunset can be an especially hypnotizing time (remember those turtles?)
What You’ll Find Nearby
Grab munchies and iced coffees in Paia on the way, or, for a more luxe experience, dine at Mama’s Fish House (just before Hookipa at Kuau Cove)—the heavily-lauded venue, established in 1973, serves some of the freshest seafood in all of Hawaii. Eager to stay near the pounding waves? Mama’s boasts a small inn, while nearby Lumeria Maui will give you a good night’s rest after exploring the island.