Kauai’s Top 10 Activities ~ Part 2

Paddle boarding Kauai style !

Here we go with Kauai’s Top 10 Activities Part 2 .   More fun on the horizon!  Part 1 of Top 10 Kauai Activities.   Part 1 can be found here.

Kauai girls & dog paddle boarding

Kauai girls & dogs paddle boarding ~ Kauai style!

6.  Stand up Paddle Boarding

Stand up Paddle boarding on Kauai

Stand up paddle. Boarding seems to have emerged in the world’s beach and water sports as a popular must do activity.     It’s probably because it’s so easy to do.    You don’t need any special training, the whole family can do it and it’s safe so it has to be on the list of Kauai Top 10 activities. 

On Kauai, stand up paddle boarding is all over the island.   I love doing it at Anini as you can literally paddle board out 100 feet from shore and still be in 2 feet of water looking at the fish and moray eels.. oh yes, moray eels!     But you can also paddle board on the rivers – Wailua, Hanalei and all the rivers on Kauai.   

I was camping at the beach at Anini not so long ago and wondered what the strange green lights out on the water and then I realised it was paddle boards with lights underneath so you can see the fish!   Cool!   Except not so cool for the ifshermen who called out to the people “you’re scaring the fish away!”.    

Kauai Sup were the guys who really introduced stand up paddle boarding to Kauai .    They do tours up the Wailua River and have a great shop also.      Then there’s Standup Paddle Kauai who also do tours up the Wailua river.   If you want to stand up paddle at Anini, Paddle Boarding are your guys.   Paddle Boarding  – one of Kauai’s Top 10 Activities Part 2

Paddle Boarding at Anini

Paddle Boarding at Anini Kauai

7.  Surf Lesson


Surfing the waves Hawaii

Surfing the waves Hawaii style

Ok, so you are on Kauai, in Hawaii the birthplace of surfing.    Whether you are a seasoned surfer or you’d like to get better or a complete newbie, it’s the perfect place to take a lesson.      You don’t need to surf like this guy, it’s just for the fun of it ya know?  

I hear the seasoned surfers wondering why they would ever need a lesson.   Okay, not so much a lesson as a couple of hours out on the water with a real world class pro maybe?     

Evan Valiere pro surfer

Evan Valiere – World class Pro Surfer and great Surf Teacher

Evan Valiere, born and raised on Kauai and also a world class pro surfer now owns Hanalei Surf School.   A lesson with him is wonderful… Evan isn’t just a great surfer, he’s a great teacher too… why ?   because he loves it!    Here’s Evan giving the chaka as he’s prone to do:

Titus Kinimaka Hawaiian Surf School

Titus Kinimaka World Pro & Hawaiian Native Surfer

Titus Kinimaka’s Hawaiian Surfing School  is also in Hanalei and all teaches are Kauai born

natives.   The school was founded by Titus Kinimaka who is something of a legend in the surfing world and on Kauai.

On the South Shore, Doug Muraoka’s Poipu Beach Surf School is a terrific choice.   Also born and raised on Kauai, Doug grew up in the water and was a pro bodyboarder.

Poipu Surf School

Poipu Surf School – South Shore Kauai

In Lihue there’s Kauai Beach Boys who have been teaching surf on Kauai since 1983.   That’s quite a time.

All of the companies above also provide stand up paddle boarding and some do other activities too.  But surfing is their main thing.   After all it is Hawaii

Whatever your level,  there are some wonderful teachers and it’s great to learn to surf!    Of course a surf lesson has to be on the Kauai Top 10 Activities.   How about surfing Hanalei bay?   Or Anini?  Or Kealia?    Sounds good to me.  Surfing has to be one of Kauai’s Top 10 Activities Part 2 

8.  Sky Diving

Perhaps this is not so specific to Kauai, but it’s such a terrific experience and the views are so amazing, I have it on my Top 10 list.     Sky Dive Kauai are the only people offering this amazing adventure and you can check outs their site here:

Amazing views of Kauai Sky Dive Kauai

Just look at those smiling faces!   And the views!     You take off in a small plane over near Hanapepe and you jump out of a plane.   Not alone, you are strapped to someone else who actually knows what they are doing!   

You free fall for 10 seconds and then your pro sky diver opens the Shute and you get to fall gently over Kauai admiring the amazing views.    Fantastic.   Really.   A veritable Kauai Top 10 Activity. 

9.  Water Tubing through the Back Country

One of Kauai’s fun things to do and great for all the family too, water tubing has been around on Kauai for awhile.    The original one is in the backcountry above Lihue and takes you through tunnels and old water channels used b the old sugar plantations.        The scenery changes from grassland to rivers through the jungle and more.    Sometimes it gets quite fast and it’s totally fun.   That makes it one of Kauai’s Top 10 Activities.   Note:  You do get wet… very wet! 

Water tubing on Kauai

Water tubing fun with Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Kauai Backcountry Adventures are the guys who originally brought this one to Kauai … hmmm… lots of years ago.   They are in Lihue.     Kauai Beach Boys (link above) also do a tour.      Have fun!   Water tubing – one of Kauai’s Top 10 Activities Part 2

10. Luau

Smith's Luau torch lighting

Smith’s Luau Kauai torch lighting

Well I suppose a Top 10 Activity list is not complete without a Luau.    Now, the thing about Luaus is this….. this is something that has developed over the years more as a tourist thing than a traditional Hawaiian thing and that’s totally ok.    

The ancient Hawaiian people eat very well.   Their diet consisted of fresh fish, seaweed (lots of different colors and types), taro and a few of the native fruits and leaves that grew originally.    As most people are aware, pineapples and coconuts were only introduced a couple of centuries ago and were not a traditional food.     Wild boar was introduced late too so the “Kailua” pig that Isi prepared at Luaus is a fairly new thing adopted with gratitude and enthusiasm by the Hawaiian people.  When I say adopted, I mean eating pig meat was adopted, the method of cooking it, that is purely Hawaiian. 

Kaiula Pig ~ Hawaiian delicious

Kailua Pig at Tahiti Nui

Luaus today consist of a large, colourful display of food including the Kailua pig and entertainment; namely Hula and more often than not the more frenetic Tahitian dance and now also more often than not, fire dancing.   

The Hula danced at Luaus is lovely and is basically hula but it is not the authentic spiritual based Hula as practiced by the ancient Hawaiian people for centuries.   Authentic Hula is a form of prayer and is traditionally shared at ceremonies on specific days of the year to celebrate or mark specific things.   Hula is one of the three “arms” of traditional Hawaiian spirituality.    The movement of the arms and feet mean something :  often demonstrating the movement of the Sun, Stars and Moon across the sky or offering flowers or sharing love.    Hula is a very heart centered offering to those present. 

So the Hula at Luaus is not this but the steps are often the same and it is beautiful to watch.      So it is with the music.    Hula is traditionally danced to the beat and rhythm of the Ipu ( a hollowed out gourd) and other instruments rather than to the Ukulele, which was used at the turn of the 20th century to save the traditional Hawaiian chants for future generations by wise spiritual leaders when the practice of their own spirituality was banned by those who took over the country.      But again, it’s pleasant and now part of Hawaiian culture. 

If you have never been to a Luau, go, it’s worth it just for the experience!   And don’t forget to try the Poi (more on Poi later).   

Smith’s Luau has been going the longest and the gardens are lovely.

Auli’i Luau Kahiko – beautiful!

The Auli’i Luau on the beach at the Sheraton in  Poipu gives them a run for their money though.   Run by a native Kauaian, this Luau offers a spectacular taste of Hula, Tahitian, Polynesian and even Maori dance and song… plus a spectacular setting.    Wonderful!   The Kauai Marriott has a Luau as does the St. Regis in Princeville.

The Tahiti Nui Restaurant in Hanalei has always run what I feel is the most authentic luau and that was offered on the beach in Haena.   Now they do it every Wednesday at the restaurant in Hanalei… the “Nui” is one of the oldest local hangouts on island so it’s worth the trip.   And you can hang out in the room where George Clooney filmed a scene from The Descendants.

Eating great food, watching a terrific show, perhaps learning a little about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture.. sounds as though going to a Luau must be on the list of one of Kauai’s Top 10 Activities Part 2 .    Aloha!


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Man surfing in Hawaii      

About the Author

Kauai Advisor ~ Francesca Azuremare ~ has lived on Kauai for 22 years. I feel blessed to live in such a magical, beautiful place. Over the years I have helped thousands of people find the perfect place to stay on Kauai whilst also advising on everything from places to propose to the best Na Pali boat ride. Now I'm sharing that information here. It's the Hawaiian way. Aloha!