Honl’s Beach

Visit Boogie Boardings Birthplace: Honl's Beach
The Bottom Line:

Honl’s Beach holds the distinction of being the birthplace of modern boogie boarding. It also features a great deal of shade and grassy areas, along with bathrooms and picnic areas. These make it an ideal spot for an impromptu visit. Of course, you can’t miss the sunset from Honl’s Beach as it is simply breathtaking! 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Situated in downtown Kona, just a mile south of Kailua Pier along Alii Drive at Waiaha beach park is a small beach called Honl’s Beach. Featuring a large grassy knoll, shaded by towering coconut palms, and with plenty of picnic spots available, this is an often sought-out respite and perfect oasis from nearby sightseeing and shopping. While the beach itself is fairly modest, this is a great uncrowded spot to close your eyes and simply listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the shoreline. 

This small beach features soft white sand mixed with bits of coral and lava rocks. There is plenty of space available to lounge along the shoreline in the sand, even with the small beach’s size. It’s important to note, though, that swimming here isn’t necessarily the best due to the rocky entry and the large reef offshore. Add to this the fact that the current can be strong, especially on the northern end of the beach, and it’s best to stay near the beach in the shallow areas when entering the water. 

While the ocean water might not be ideal for leisurely swimming off Honl’s Beach, it does present some perfect conditions for water sports like boogie boarding. This is especially true when the surf is up, turning the reef into a water churning machine. In fact, interestingly enough, it is this very beach, Honl’s Beach, that is the original birthplace of boogie boarding, likely due to these ideal conditions. Surfboard builder Tom Morey invented the practice of Boogie Boarding on July 9, 1971, when he designed the first boogie board ever made. 

He resided across from Honl’s Beach at the time and enjoyed watching the powerful swells build offshore. He decided to take a nine-foot piece of polyethylene foam and see if he could create a way to enjoy those waves. He cut it in half with a knife and then shaped the board with an electric knife and hot iron. Two years later he trademarked the name calling it the Morey Boogie. The rest, as they say, is history! 

Honl’s Beach remains one of the most popular boogie boarding beaches in all the Big Island even today. It is the home of Kona’s Annual Roots Bodyboarding Contest as well, which celebrates the famous landmark’s spot. If you don’t have a boogie board with you but want to try the sport out for yourself in the place of its birth, you can rent boards for nearby companies like Kona Boys or Miller’s Surf. 

Honl’s Beach is situated in a convenient location, close to downtown activities and amenities. It is said to be an ideal spot to watch boats come and go from Kailua Bay. You can enjoy a few hours at the beach and then stroll through the nearby historic district of Kailua-Kona or eat at one of the amazing restaurants that are located in the downtown area. 

Honl’s Beach is visitor friendly with restrooms and showers that can be used by beach guests. There is limited parallel parking available to access the area and fishing is allowed. There is also a lifeguard to watch over you and keep you safe while you enjoy the waters.

This small, picturesque beach is the ideal spot to enjoy a breathtaking Hawaiian sunset. Many guests note doing just that and this being the perfect setting for this activity. Spending all day at the beach, though, is not ideal at Honl’s Beach due to its diminutive size. This is of course unless you love boogie boarding or water sports that embrace the sometimes rough surf. Casual swimmers or those who would enjoy more protected spots with fewer waves and calmer water will likely find this beach a bit much to handle. It is beautiful, though, so it’s ideal for simply sitting and enjoying the view!

Insider Tips:
-Although the beach is less populated in terms of tourists, it is more popular with locals, especially those who enjoy boogie boarding. 
-Honl’s Beach is also known as Waiaha, which means gathering water.