Bodysurfing Makapuu Beach will stir you to your soul

Surfing and bodysurfing are two of the most iconic sports representing Hawaii. Bodysurfing Makapuu Beach is even more iconic. It’s a great workout and a lot of fun when you’re with friends. If you’ve got a photographer friend with a waterproof camera or a gopro for yourself you can also get some pretty good shots that are perfect for your Instagram. 

Bodysurfing v. Surfing v. Bodyboarding

Bodysurfer catching a wave at Makapuu beach

The difference between surfing, bodysurfing and bodyboarding has to do with what kind of equipment you’re using. Surfing uses the traditional surfboard that you see in all of the pictures. Bodysurfing Makapuu Beach requires fins, but no board. I think it’s more difficult to body surf because it requires a lot more strategy and body power to maneuver a wave and actually “catch it.” Bodyboarding uses a small body-board that’s about half of your body size. Bodyboarding is the easiest out of the three because it’s the same as surfing but without standing up. When I first started surfing, I practiced with bodyboarding because it taught me the sensation of “catching a wave” and the difference in feeling of being pushed by water compared to actually catching a wave.

Where to start as a newbie

baby makapuu

If you’re a newbie to surfing, I would start off at Baby Makapuu. That’s where everyone learns how to surf, including myself. The waves are gentle, but strong enough to push you. There’s not any crazy current that’ll whip you out to sea, and the parking is relatively abundant. The break also isn’t that far from the shoreline so your paddle out won’t be for that long. When you’re first starting out surfing you’ll learn that you get tired pretty quickly because surfing employs a lot of your muscles. It’s a full workout, but a great one!

Bodysurfing Makapuu Beach

These folks have no idea they are in an extremely dangerous situation. Don't make that same mistake!

These folks have no idea they are in an extremely dangerous situation. Don’t make that same mistake!

Makapuu is one of the most popular beaches known for bodysurfing. Most people don’t surf with a traditional surf board here but instead with a shorter board or just bodysurfing. The waves here are so strong and you can really feel the strength of the water pushing you under when you get pounded by a wave. The first time I went bodysurfing Makapuu Beach, I lost my fins in the water. I wasn’t wearing the proper fins that I should have been wearing and they also weren’t strapped on tight enough. I was only in the water for 15 minutes until I was pounded by a wave and they were ripped off.

I wouldn’t recommend Makapuu to newbies but it’s definitely fun to park and watch the waves! On a big day at Makapuu life guards won’t let people in the water because one could get swept out to sea by just dipping into the shoreline. Sometimes life guards won’t even let the experienced “spunjahs” in the water. A “spunjah” is a local term for someone who surfs and goes to the beach frequently.

Makapuu really is an amazing place and even if you don’t want to surf it, it’s still a lot of fun to admire and watch the magnitude of the waves there. Sandys is another hotspot for bodysurfers but Makapuu is pretty strong, too. My dad describes Makapuu as a “hammer” and Sandy as an “axe.”