A small shorebreak in shallow water makes Hanalei Bay's Black Pot Beach Kauai's best learner's venue—and one of the best in the Islands. One surf school sets up close to the dirt parking lot. Other guys pull up next to Hanalei Pier. You're almost guaranteed to standing up on lesson one.
Paddling outriggers is another matter. Though the ride pictured here is mellow, dumping one of these canoes is really easy in bigger surf. Newbies out on their own can go flying. The covered pier at Hanalei is the best spot to take in the action. A location for many movies, the pier has spectacular views of the bay and the green jagged ridges that envelop it.
Hanalei Bay has surfing for big boys, too. Queens and Channels break about 100 yards off the pier. In the middle of the bay is Pine Trees, an often-nasty near-shore sand bar break that is the home beach for world-class pro, Bruce Irons, brother of the late Andy Irons, former world champ.