How to Surf Nukumoi Point in Kauai

A few weekends ago, I spent some time in Kauai looking for waves. Since it was May, we went looking for waves on the south side of the island, because most of the north swells were gone by then. A north swell was supposed to hit on that Saturday, but it didn’t really hit until the following Monday when I was already back on the North Shore.

There was still south swell in the water on that Friday so we went down to check some spots around Poipu. We found some good waves in several surfing spots in the area, but my friend from the island suggested that we surf Nukumoi Point instead. He is a sponsored bodyboarder, and Nukumoi Point is known locally as a really good place for bodyboarders to get solid barrels.

The wave at Nukumoi Point breaks onto a slab of reef that is very shallow, only about 1 to 2 feet deep on the inside, with exposed rock and reef popping up in several places on the wave. It is a perfect A-frame peak sending barrels both left and right, but is generally avoided by surfers because it can be treacherous to surfboards. You cannot pull out straight on a wave or you will head right into exposed rocks.

The chances are pretty high that if you fall or get caught inside you’re going to hurt your board in some way or another, not to mention yourself as well. It can get really big and heavy out there, but still works on smaller days. The waves were just overhead at Nukumoi Point, and myself and one other surfer paddled out with this bodyboarding local to give it a try.

Right at Nukumoi

We were hesitant at first to drop in on the sets, but eventually starting pushing each other to go on the bigger waves and drop in deeper. The lefts were hard to make and would sometimes closeout, but the rights were holding up perfectly, creating a wide-open barrel almost every time. We had a great time out there, especially as we got more familiar with our surroundings. The three of us had the place to ourselves, which having come from Oahu was quite a treat. Having our local friend there helped a lot, as he told us all the things we need to know about surfing Nukumoi Point.

The first thing to know is where to paddle out. Start from the little bay just east of the break. It gets really shallow in the middle, but it isn’t too hard to navigate a way through it. As soon as you exit the bay you’ll be in the channel, and can see the break to your right. Be careful not to get caught inside at Nukumoi or you could be in for a beating.

If you do get caught on the shallow inside shelf, the current flows east. If you fell on a left and think you can get back out to the west, give up and go back around the other way. Paddle east with the current, watch out for the two big exposed rocks right in there, and you should be out of harm’s way pretty quickly. When its time to leave, go in the same way you paddled out.

Other than that, be ready for some late drops and some nice barrels surfing at Nukumoi Point. I just have to add a little word of caution; the lifeguards do not recommend surfing at Nukumoi Point, but won’t prevent you from trying. Plenty of experienced surfers do and get some epic rides. There are several other spots on both sides of Nukumoi Point that get really fun waves that aren’t as dangerous.


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