The Insider's Guide to: Kauai

The world’s most iconoclastic big-wave surfer, Laird Hamilton, shares the secrets of his childhood home, Kauai

KAUAI IS… raw and beautiful. The garden island. Kauai is responsible for shaping the person I am.

HOW DOES LIVING THERE IMPACT YOUR DESIGNS? Our signature is powerful colors and prints. But, we avoid over designing for the sake of fashion – function comes first!

BEST PLACE TO LEARN SURFING? Titus Kinimaka or Mitchell’s Hawaiian Surfing Adventure on the North Shore. They’ll take you to the best spots to suit your skill level, taking into account the conditions.



WHERE SHOULD YOU TEST YOUR SKILLS? No single spot – there are always interesting and varied conditions around the island all year around.

TO LOOK LIKE A PRO, YOU SHOULD WEAR? A performance short is essential. You need the right fabric, correct length and stretch. Our purpose-built board shorts have been specified by myself. For example, the Performo II is our professional short, it’s lightweight with four-way stretch. Our 100% Performance board short is more robust and ventilated for drainability. Both are hybrid, meaning they’re a great ‘all day’ short.

YOU SHOULD NEVER... It’s more that you should read up on surfer etiquette online to understand the rules in the surf. Simply put, there’s a hierarchy based on skill level, so you need to respect your place in the lineup.

FAVORITE BREAKFAST SPOT... WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Coffee Roaster, Hanalei Bay. [Needs fact-checking] They have a great gluten-free avocado toast with eggs that are great after getting out of the water. Also, there are food trucks on the North Shore and Fresh Bite has a wonderful breakfast burrito.




A boat ride around the Napali Coast. It’s awe-inspiring and fun for everyone and chances are you’ll see dolphins and whales. You can swim and explore and marvel at the enormous cliffs and ancient valleys.

BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE SUNSET WITH THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE? It depends on the time of year, but in the winter the southside is best – Polihale beach is stunning.

WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY? Ditto from above, they are the loves of my life. All images courtesy of Laird Hamilton