With its picture-perfect waves and laidback aloha spirit, Hawaii is a surfer’s paradise. But scoring epic sessions in the Hawaiian Islands can come at a price. From flights and accommodations to surf lessons and gear rental, expenses add up quickly on a Hawaii surf trip. So how much does it really cost to go surfing in Hawaii? Let’s break it down.
The first major expense will be your flight to Hawaii. Coming from the mainland U.S., expect to pay:
- $400-$800 for an economy class ticket from the West Coast
- $600-$1,200 for a flight from the Midwest or East Coast
This can vary based on route, airline, time of year, and demand. Be flexible with dates to get the best fares. Also look for deals on hub cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest tend to have the most competitive pricing on direct routes from mainland cities. Alternatively, check budget carriers like Spirit or Frontier for a cheaper base fare, just know their fees for bags and seats add up quickly.
Once in Hawaii, short interisland flights run $70-$150 one way if you want to island hop.
Lodging will be your other major cost in Hawaii. Options range from:
- Hotel – $150-$400 per night
- Resort – $300-$700+ per night
- Vacation Rental – $100-$300+ per night
- Hostel – $30-$100 per night
- Camping – $10-$50 per night
For the full Hawaiian vacation experience, splurge on a resort if budget allows. Otherwise, hotels, condos, rental houses, or shared accommodations can save substantially. Location is also key – staying outside the main tourist zones will be cheaper.
Figure $80-$150 per day for food, depending on how much you eat out versus cook your own meals. Purchasing groceries for breakfast and preparing lunches can really cut down costs in Hawaii. Local markets are pricier than the mainland but affordable options exist.
Average per person costs for food:
- Breakfast – $10-$20
- Lunch – $15-$25
- Dinner – $20-$50
- Groceries – $30-$60 per day
Eating out adds up quickly, so grab the free hotel breakfast if included with your stay!
Surf Gear Rentals
Most surfers will need to rent gear while visiting Hawaii unless traveling with boards. Plan on:
- Surfboard rental – $20-$40 per day
- Wetsuit rental – $10-$20 per day
- Leash rental – $5 per day
- Additional accessories – $5-$20+ per day
Many surf shops offer “surf packages” with board, wetsuit and leash included starting around $40-$60 per day. Multi-day discounts are also common.
If new to surfing, taking lessons is highly recommended for fast progression and safety. Private and group lessons average:
- Private – $125-$200 per hour
- Group (2-4 ppl) – $100-$150 per person
- Big Group (5+ ppl) – $75-$125 per person
Ideally take 1-3 lessons over multiple days. Most surf instructors can pick you up from your hotel too.
Having a rental car makes accessing different surf breaks much easier but also adds to costs. Plan on:
- Compact rental car – $40-$80 per day
- SUV rental – $60-$150+ per day
- Uber/Lyft – $50+ per day roundtrip
- Public bus – $10-$20 per day
Driving in Hawaii can be stressful due to traffic and unfamiliar roads. But having a mobile surf wagon allows chasing waves.
Other potential Hawaii surf trip costs:
- Gas for rental car – $50-$100 per week
- Parking fees – $5-$20 per day
- Beach gear – $25-$50+ (umbrella, chairs, cooler, etc.)
- Souvenirs – $20-$100+
- Essentials – $20+ (sunscreen, etc.)
- Activities – $50-$200+ (lunches out, etc.)
Total Hawaii Surf Trip Cost Breakdown
Given typical costs across all spending categories, plan on budgeting:
- Flight – $400-$1200
- Accommodations – $900-$2500 (for 7 days)
- Food – $500-$1000
- Surf Gear Rental – $200-$500
- Surf Lessons – $100-$300
- Transportation – $350-$700
- Incidentals – $200-$500
That brings the total for a 7 day Hawaii surf trip to around $2700-$6200 per person, assuming two people traveling together.
For a shorter 3-4 day surf trip, expect to spend $1500-$4000 per person. Daily costs don’t decrease too much for shorter durations.
And for longer two week stays, budget $4000-$8000 per person with cheaper daily lodging, rental cars, and surf gear offsets.
The island you choose, level of accommodation, travel months, and surfing goals will all impact your final surf vacation cost. But this breakdown gives a realistic idea of what to budget for a Hawaii surf adventure.
Ways to Save on a Hawaii Surf Trip
If planning a Hawaii surf getaway on a budget, here are some tips to cut costs:
- Fly during low season (May-June, September-October)
- Stay outside high-end tourist areas
- Consider hostels, shared rentals, or camping
- Cook meals versus dining out
- Share costs with a surf buddy
- Don’t rent a car and use public transportation instead
- Bring your own surf gear from home or buy used boards
- Learn to surf before the trip and skip lessons
- Purchase activity discount packs like the Go Oahu Card
- Avoid overspending on shopping, drinking and activities
- Visit the islands in shoulder seasons when airfare and lodging are cheaper
Dream Hawaii Surf Trip Ideas
If money is no limitation, here are some dream itineraries and elite surf experiences in Hawaii worth splurging on:
- Stay at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s famed North Shore in the winter to surf epic waves like Pipeline and Sunset Beach
- Book a luxury suite overlooking Hanalei Bay on Kauai and score perfect rights at Hanalei Point
- Take a boat from Maui across the Pailolo Channel to surf the cliffs of Molokai’s north shore
- Spend a week camping and surfing the remote Na Pali Coast of Kauai
- Splurge on a waterfront condo on Oahu’s South Shore to surf fast lefts at Ala Moana Bowls
- Explore secret big wave spots on Maui like Jaws with personalized tours
- Have a pro surfer provide 1-on-1 VIP coaching at Maui’s Honolua Bay
- Endless surf lessons, board rentals, boat trips, and helicopter surf tours!
When money is no object, Hawaii can be the ultimate surf trip playground. Most surfers will be on tighter budgets, but it’s still possible to maximize waves no matter your price limit in the Aloha State.
Frequently Asked Questions on Surfing Hawaii
What is the best island in Hawaii for surfing?
Oahu has the most diverse waves for all levels, followed by Maui. Kauai is great for beginner surfers and the Big Island is ideal for big wave chargers.
What month is best for surfing in Hawaii?
The prime surf season is November thru March when swells are largest. Peak months are Dec-Feb. Summer (May-Aug) has smaller surf but still fun waves.
How much does it cost to rent a surfboard in Hawaii per day?
Figure around $25-$50 per day for a surfboard rental in Hawaii. Shops near popular breaks charge more. Multi-day discounts available.
Do I need a wetsuit to surf in Hawaii?
A wetsuit is recommended for surf sessions over two hours. Water temps are 70-80°F depending on season. Use a spring suit in summer and full wetsuit in winter.
Can beginners learn to surf in Hawaii?
Absolutely! Hawaii has many beginner spots and surf schools that specialize in lessons for first timers.
How much are surf lessons in Hawaii?
Group lessons average $100-$150 and private lessons $150-$250. Oahu tends to have the most options and value. Shop around for best rates.
What is the easiest Hawaiian island to surf on?
Kauai’s north and east shores have tons of beginner surf spots. Maui and Oahu also have great starter waves on their south/west shores in summer.
So now you’ve got a complete breakdown on what it costs to surf in paradise! With proper budgeting, you can fulfill those Hawaiian surf dreams and score the trip of a lifetime. Aloha!