Let the adventure begin!
This spring, we took our paddle boarding adventures a little deeper into the pacific and landed in Honolulu, Hawai’i for two weeks of pure fun in the tropics. Our Oahu SUP Adventure was ready to start with our schedule planned out, brand new paddle boards packed up and miscellaneous adventure gear ready to go. As well as Spotify paradise playlists finished and bags packed with mostly swimwear.
LAX was glorious as always, and the feeling of touching down on the beautiful island of Oahu five hours later made the itinerary come to life. My mom picked us up at HNL and after getting sorted with our rental car, we headed to Waimanalo, (our home base for the duration of the trip). The Oahu SUP Adventure was beginning!
Off to Kailua…
A delicious dinner at Kona Brewing Co and a perfect night’s sleep prepared us for paddling to The Mokes (Mokulua Islands) the next morning. This is the first time we would be riding our boards since getting them. Jumping into the perfect water in Lanikai was euphoric, and paddling to this secret paradise made us happier than ever. To see details about this full paddle, check it out here!
Great Gear, Great Times
We were sporting two inflatable stand up paddle boards — mine was an All-Around 10’6″ Isle Surf & SUP Board, in my new favorite teal color. Austin got a Aero Flood 11’0″ Bote Boards SUP. The best thing about these SUPs is that they can be checked as luggage when you’re traveling. They are super lightweight and compact.
It made every day so simple, because our rental car could accommodate both boards perfectly. We finished paddling and drove over to grab some snacks, and then went for a hike up to the Lanikai Pillboxes.
The next day, we went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and then hiking around Koko Crater. It was super windy that day, which is why we put paddling on hold until later in the afternoon.
Sunrise to Sunset in Paradise
Our day of adventuring though Hawai’i Kai ended at China Walls. We watched the sunset and reflected on the day as the waves rolled in. A few days later, we went paddling in the Hawaii Kai Marina and launched from Maunalua Bay. See the full Hawaii Kai SUP paddle here. On that day, we also took a trip up to the Makapu’u tide pools & lighthouse trail. These gave us a gorgeous view of the east side of the island while playing around in the mermaid pools below. We also made our way down to Alan Davis to snorkel before our paddle & hike.
Yoga, Paddle, Hike, Repeat!
The next morning began at 5:30am when we hauled it to downtown Honolulu for an early CorePower Yoga class. We were already downtown, so we figured we’d sneak in a paddle before going home. No trip to Hawai’i would be complete without making the rounds into the Diamond Head/Waikiki area — as much as I love to avoid it. We went for a short paddle out of Kaimana Beach in Waikiki, and then had lunch up on Diamond head.
Throughout the trip, we had a couple places that we kept going back to. We used these spots to jump in the salt water one last time before dinner, or just to take a mid-day nap in the sunshine.
Austin and I were paddling, hiking, snorkeling, swimming, and basking in the sun every single day — we did not want our Oahu SUP adventure to come to an end. We still had a few places left where we wanted to paddle & explore! The next day took us to the North Shore, where we paddled at Waimea Bay and in the Anahulu River in Haleiwa. These paddles were some of our all time favorites.
Waimea Bay was as beautiful as ever. Afterwards, the Botanical Gardens were calling our name. We walked across the street to swim in the waterfall & smell all the Puakenikeni flowers that we could. To end our day, we did an easy paddle up the river in Haleiwa. We were all filled up on fish burritos from Serg’s Mexican grill (so yummy!).
One of our days there, we went hiking up through Manoa falls, and took one of the many trails off the beaten path. It had been raining a ton, so we got a full mud bath while trekking it up the mountains.
The two week long Oahu SUP Adventure was coming to an end. The last paddle on our list was in Kaneohe at Chinaman’s Hat. This paddle was the perfect thing to do on a rainy day. We did the hike up to the peak and got a perfect 360 view of the mountains and the sea to our left and right. Check out the full paddle for Chinaman’s Hat here. This hike was almost a straight up rock climbing expedition, but tons of fun to do — no slippers required!
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical gardens are so close in proximity to where we were paddling, that we knew we couldn’t miss it. Below are some photos from our stroll around the gardens. Always paying our respects to the beautiful ‘aina that we stand upon.
I always say ‘A Hui Hou’ as I’m leaving the islands, because I know that we will return soon. Coming back to Hawai’i is different than returning to any place else because of how special it is there. You can feel the spirit of the islands in your heart — something difficult to describe unless you have been there for a while. I can’t wait to be there again and enjoy the sacred and perfect place that I’m from. Aloha for now!