Which Side of Maui Has the Biggest Waves?

June 30, 2022 3 min read

You might be wondering which side of Maui has the biggest waves. The answer to this question depends on where you want to surf. Here are some tips for the Leeward side of Maui:

Leeward Side

If you are looking for big surf on Maui, the Leeward side is where you'll find them. During the winter months, this side of the island usually has small waves, but during the summer, it's not uncommon for the Leeward side to have a few big days. The best way to know which side of the island is likely to have big waves is to visit the area at certain times of the year.

The windward side is influenced by the prevailing winds and is the most sheltered part of the island. The windward side receives more moisture from the ocean due to the prevailing trade winds that blow out of the northeasterly quadrant most of the year. Because of this, it is often more crowded on the leeward side. On the other hand, the leeward side is often the warmest and driest part of Maui.


If you're a surfer, you know how exciting it is to hit the big surf at Lahaina on Maui. This idyllic town is home to some of the best surfing schools in the country, and it is a great place to spend your Maui vacation. Formerly known as Lele, "relentless sun," this town is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy one-of-a-kind shops and fine dining in the charming town.

If you're new to surfing, you may want to start your vacation at a smaller surf break. Lahaina has some of the biggest waves on Maui, but you can learn to surf here without fear. Beginners can learn to surf at Breakwall and Launiupoko. If you're an experienced surfer, you can try Jaws, located between East Hookipa and Peahi.

Kahului Harbor

North swells affect the north shore beaches, including Kapalua, Napili, and Ka'anapali. If you are looking for large waves, this is the side to choose. You'll find waves like Jaws and Ho'okipa. South swells affect the west side, but the beaches on the north face are generally calm. Winter swells can also cause small waves.

Ma'alaea: This peak used to be considered the fastest wave on earth, and it has drawn barrel riders for decades. While the waves are fast and intense, the crowd is just as intense. Although the break is often considered an expert-only spot, it has more manageable peaks during small South swells. It is the easiest to surf on Maui. In addition, Ma'alaea has a lot of potential, but the crowd can be brutal.


The north shore of Maui has some of the world's most infamous waves. A three-mile stretch of shore is known as Peahi, which means 'wave' and refers to the ocean's motion. In addition to being a popular surfing destination, Peahi is also known as Jaws, and visitors from around the world paddle in the ocean's waters. You'll need to be an experienced surfer to hit the waves here. You can always visit and surf at Kaanapali beach, once known as America`s best beach.

The northern side of Maui, or Maalaea Bay, is relatively quiet during the winter months. But storms from the North Pacific move toward the north shore and cling to its shores, retaining more energy. Winter storms are notorious for delivering huge waves. Landsat 8 acquired an image of Maui's northern shore on December 15, 2021. Among the biggest waves there are Jaws, which can reach 70 feet (20 meters).

Thousand Peaks

The south side of Maui has pumping surf during the summer, with waves averaging 12 to 15 feet. The Dumps, at the southern tip of Makena, is an excellent spot for heavy waves, as the breaking lava rocks make for an intimidating surf zone. Beginners should seek out the advice of an experienced surfer before paddling out. In addition, be aware that not all waves are suitable for novice surfers.

Surfers can surf the north or south sides of the island. However, it's important to note that the north side is usually less likely to have large waves. The waves that come off the south shore travel over 7,000 miles before reaching Hawaii. They are only able to reach Maui's southern shore after losing much of their energy when they hit a chain of islands. So, if you're looking for big waves, it's best to avoid this side of Maui during winter.

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