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Water Activities

Surf, fish, snorkel and scuba. Spot giant breaching whales and play in the waves. The Big Island is ocean adventure central. There’s just as much to do in the water as on the water and along the shore. Pair island whale watching with boating. Picnic on the beach and look out for spouting humpbacks. Reel in the big one or bring home a great angling yarn to entertain your friends. Learn how to hang 10 with the masters.

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Thrilling is no understatement when you witness a 40-ton humpback vaulting up and out of the water. These acrobatic marine mammals frequent the warm, shallow waters of the Big Island’s coast year-round. Though December to May is prime kohola (humpback) viewing season. Take a tour or charter your own boat, or spot these 40-foot-long giants right from the beach, especially from the Kohala coast. Up at Kohala’s Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, you can combine history education with whale watching. In fact, puukohola is Hawaiian for “hill of the whale.”

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SnorkeLing at Molokini Crater


It’s as Hawaiian as it gets. Surfing, or hee nalu as we call, was born here. Why not learn from the originals? Take a Surfing 101 class in the warm water, try a one-on-one tutorial or hone your halfpipe on some of the world’s most legendary breaks. Or watch the pros duke it out at an international competition drawing the best of the best. As much history as sport as culture, Hawaiian royalty made it a Thing. Try surfing traditional style or learn the latest iteration, stand-up paddle boarding, out on the shimmering aquamarine Pacific.

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Sport fisherman? Or just dreaming of it? Either way, the Big Island is the place to do it. Fishing has been a way of life here for centuries and counting, and early Hawaiians were the first to develop advanced aquaculture. And you’ll still meet some of the best sport fisherman on the globe here. Head out to sea for fishing along the Kona coast, renowned for ahi, ono, marlin and mahi mahi, some catch as big as 1,000 pounds. Rent a charter at Honokohau Harbor, north of Historic Kailua Village. Or cast from a jetty, pier or beach shore and pull in angelfish and snapper. Our expert outfitters and guides can get you in on all the secret spots.

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