The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Surfing in the Moonlight

Medically reviewed in June 2022

There are few experiences I’ve had in my life as exhilarating as night surfing. There’s something incredible about surfing in the dark, under a full moon in Waikiki, in the spot that Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaiian royalty, countless beach boys and men and women have for centuries. 

I went night surfing last under a lunar eclipse. My husband, brother, sister-in law and friend stayed on the sand and cheered for me and my friend Dustin as we hit the water. It was a majestic experience and will be ingrained in my memory forever. 

Adorned in glow sticks, we paddled out just past 10 p.m. The waves were small and we experienced long lulls between the sets, but there was enough to go around because there were only eight of us out at one of Hawaii’s most famous surf breaks! The water was glassy, there was no wind, the sky was clear and the moon was bright. 

It’s really an amazing feeling that’s hard to explain. Even after waking up at 5 a.m. and working all day, I was energetic and stoked to night surf until early Saturday morning. I was running on pure adrenaline and as we would say at HMSA, “living fearless!”

Here are my top five reasons I think night surfing is amazing:

You use all your senses. You rely on them to become “in tune” with the waves and the sets. You become accustomed to the feel of the ocean and the sound of the waves as they form. Your eyes eventually adjust to the darkness and if you look really closely, you can see the horizon rise and fall. 

You can see the bottom of the ocean. This may or may not freak you out, but I think it’s pretty darn cool. The moonlight glows through the ocean and when you look down as you’re sitting on your board or catching a wave, it’s like you’re gliding over the top of an aquarium.

You don’t get sunburned. There’s no need to get out of the water and reapply sunscreen or worry about being burned if you stay out longer than planned.

The crowd is small. I’ve never been night surfing in a crowd even close to the one during the day. It’s as simple as that.

You feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Although this applies to all surfing situations, it feels so much better after a night surf. Maybe it’s because night surfing only presents itself once a month and all the factors (clear skies, willingness to stay up late and a surfing buddy) need to be in place.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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