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Wealth of watersports options in Hawaiian Islands

A family taking a North Shore Surf Girls lesson throws up “hang loose” signs.
A family taking a North Shore Surf Girls lesson throws up “hang loose” signs.

Hawaii boasts ocean temperatures between 77 and 81 degrees all summer long, and those waters are even more reachable now with the addition of Southwest Airlines to the carriers serving the Islands. Conditions are perfect to catch a wave on Maui, tube the tunnels and canals of Kauai, cavort with manta rays off the Hawaii Island or snorkel an extinct volcanic crater.

The following are some of the most unforgettable ocean adventures, island by island.


• Ride the waves at the Kaanapali Surf Club: "Our lessons are geared directly toward families," said Stephanie Teixeira, the club's social media marketing coordinator. "We look forward to having families, as they encourage one another and have more fun when they are together. When you stand up and catch a wave, it's such an extreme sense of accomplishment."

• Snorkeling at Molokini Crater: "Maui has the best snorkeling," said Karen Danaher of Maui Concierge Services. She recommends the Pacific Whale Foundation's tour to the crescent-shaped islet of Molokini. This renowned snorkeling spot is a partially submerged volcanic crater and Marine Life Conservation District. The location offers excellent snorkeling due to high visibility; an abundance of more than 250 fish species -- many endemic -- and sea turtles; and a thriving coral reef.

Hawaii Island

• Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii: Hawaii's Kona Coast is home to more than 240 manta rays, each having been identified and named. Meet them on this bucket-list ocean experience. Dive to a depth of 30 to 40 feet to see these magnificent creatures in their magical, underwater habitat. Certified divers, introductory divers, refresher divers and snorkelers are all welcome.


• Family surf lesson: Like a first kiss, catching that first wave is a lifetime memory. Oahu's legendary North Shore is the big kahuna of the surf world and home to North Shore Surf Girls, which specializes in beginner lessons.
"Our family surf lesson is our most popular," founder Carol Philips said. "Summer is especially good for learning because the waves are gentle, and the water is clear."

• Swim with dolphins: A swim with dolphins makes a magical scrapbook memory, and there's no better place to get wet than at Sea Life Park or the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu.

• Waikiki's 70-foot-long waterslide: The Sheraton Waikiki and the Royal Hawaiian share an oceanfront oasis, the Helumoa Playground, where the waterslide is must for play dates.


• Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure: Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure is a top-of-the-list sightseeing journey through the Garden Isle's lush rainforests on canals and tunnels engineered as an irrigation system for a sugar plantation.

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