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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Perhaps no word is more associated with Hawaii than surfing. Every year the best of the best gather here to have their Super Bowl: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The pros dominate the waves for a month, but the rest of the year belongs to people like us, just trying to have fun and get a little exercise.
Atlantis Submarines. This is the underwater adventure for the unadventurous. Not fond of swimming, but want to see what you've been missing? Board this 64-passenger vessel for a ride past shipwrecks, turtle breeding grounds, and coral reefs. The tours, which depart from the pier at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, are available in several languages and start at $119. A smaller 48-passenger boat starts at $109 per adult. Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa, 2005 Kalia Rd., Honolulu, HI, 96815. PHONE: 808/973-1296 or 800/548-6262. www.atlantisadventures.com.
One advantage that snorkeling has over scuba is that you never run out of air. That and the fact that anyone who can swim can also snorkel without any formal training. A favorite pastime in Hawaii, snorkeling can be done anywhere there's enough water to stick your face in. Each spot will have its great days depending on the weather and time of year, so consult with the purveyor of your gear for tips on where the best viewing is that day. Keep in mind that the North Shore should be attempted only when the waves are calm, namely in the summertime.
Snuba, the marriage of scuba and snorkeling, gives the nondiving set their first glimpse into the freedom of scuba. Snuba utilizes a raft with a standard airtank on it and a 20-foot air hose that hooks up to a regulator. Once attached to the hose, you can swim, unfettered by heavy tanks and weights, up to 15 feet down to chase fish and examine reef for as long as you fancy. If you ever get scared or need a rest, the raft is right there, ready to support you. Kids eight years and older can use the equipment. It can be pricey, but, then again, how much is it worth to be able to sit face to face with a 6-foot-long sea turtle and not have to rush to the surface to get another breath?
Parasailing is the training-wheels approach to extreme sports—you think you want to try something crazy, but you're not ready to step out of an airplane quite yet. Generally you fly about 500 feet off the water, enjoying a bird's-eye view of everything, while also enjoying the silence that envelops you at that height. As we said, it's a nice alternative to leaping from planes that still gets you seeing the sights.
All the great stuff to do atop the water sometimes leads us to forget the real beauty beneath the surface. Although snorkeling and snuba (more on that later) do give you access to this world, nothing gives you the freedom of scuba.
Kayaking is quickly becoming a top choice for visitors to the Islands. Kayaking alone or with a partner on the open ocean provides a vantage point not afforded by swimming and surfing. Even amateurs can travel long distances and keep a lookout on what's going on around them.
Aloha Parasail/Jet Ski. Skip across the surface of the immense Keehi Lagoon as planes from Honolulu International Airport soar above you. After an instructional safety course you can try your hand at navigating the buoyed course. The company provides free pickup and drop-off from Waikiki hotels. Waverunners run about $45 per person for 45 minutes of tandem riding time, $75 to go solo. Keehi Lagoon, Sand Island Access Rd., Honolulu, HI, 96819. PHONE: 808/721-1754. www.alohajetski.com.
The joy of fishing in Hawaii is that there isn't really a season; it's good year-round. Sure, the bigger yellowfin tuna (ahi) are generally caught in summer, and the coveted spearfish are more frequent in winter, but you can still catch them any day of the year. You can also find dolphin fish (mahimahi), wahoo (ono), skip jacks, and the king—Pacific blue marlin—ripe for the picking on any given day.
Bodyboarding (or sponging) has become a popular alternative to surfing for a couple of reasons. First, the start-up cost is much less—a usable board can be purchased for $30 to $40 or can be rented on the beach for $5 an hour. Second, it's a whole lot easier to ride a bodyboard than to tame a surfboard. For beginner bodyboarding all you must do is paddle out to the waves, turn toward the beach, and kick like crazy when the wave comes.
on the Beach
Outrigger Luana Waikiki
Ala Moana Hotel
OHANA Waikiki Malia
Airport Honolulu Hotel