Exactly How To Stand-Up Paddle Board to the Mokes in Oahu


We are sharing how to stand-up paddle board to the Mokes, which are the two islands off the windward coast of Oahu. If a stand-up paddle board (SUP) trip to Oahu’s famous Na Mokulua islands is on your Oahu bucket list, you’re in the right place.

Stand-up paddle boarding on the ocean is a whole new way to experience Oahu’s beautiful clear waters. Find out how you can try it for yourself by reading this article.

Where Are the Na Mokulua Islands?

Oahu’s beautiful Na Mokulua Islands are a paddling paradise. We found out about this island getaway through dear friends in Oahu. Let us help you plan an unforgettable time in one of the most scenic locations on earth. Literally, Lanikai’s windward coast has impressive views and pristine waters that are breathtaking.

The Mokes at sunrise from Lanikai Beach Oahu

The Na Mokulua Islands are located roughly three-quarters of a mile from Lanikai’s world-famous beaches. The area is a photographers’ paradise and one of the most photographed places in the world.

On this side of Hawaii, the beaches stretch for miles. The ocean is the most beautiful blue you could ever see on a calm day. Beachgoers swim, sunbathe, walk the beaches, kayak, surf, and SUP on the windward side of Oahu. There are even opportunities for snorkeling when there is calm water.

How To Stand-up Paddle Board to the Mokes

Are you ready to plan your paddle trip to the twin islands? Here is what we did.

Where to Rent SUP Gear & Get an Offshore Island Landing Permit

SUP’ing in Kailua Bay

Kailua Beach Adventures is one of the best places to rent paddle boards near Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach Park. They provide the SUPs and other gear you may need for a paddling adventure.

Other companies outfit in the area, but Kailua Beach Adventures is who we rented our gear from (this article is not sponsored).

Do a Self-Guided Tour

You can pay for a self-guided tour if you are comfortable or are experienced paddle boarding on the ocean. This includes a safety video, things to consider while paddling on the sea, and the route recommended for paddling.

The self-guided package also consists of an offshore island landing permit. The offshore island landing permit is required if you plan on stepping foot on the island to the left (or north), called Moku Nui.

What is the Offshore Island Landing Permit for?

Moku Nui beach landing

Paddlers must obtain an offshore island landing permit to land on the larger island, Moku Nui, during a paddling adventure.

Planning tip: Island landing permits are not issued on Sundays.

The Mokulua Islands, and Mokulua Islets Seabird Sanctuary, are considered protected bird sanctuaries. The island landing permit allows paddlers to visit Moku Nui and walk on the shore.

The smaller island, Moku Iki, is off-limits for people to visit.

Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles, protected birds, and monk seals while you paddle. Hawaiian Monk Seals are critically endangered animals. The sanctuary is a great place to see a monk seal if you are lucky.

What if I’ve Never SUP’d Before?

SUP and Kayak to the islands

Suppose you are not that comfortable paddle boarding on the ocean without a guide. No worries! Kailua Beach Adventures also offers guided tours. They even have kayak tours in case you’re not feeling like stand-up paddle boarding.

And they offer stand-up paddle board lessons so you can get your bearings.

How To Get Your SUP to the Ocean

Walk: From Kailua Beach Adventures, you can walk with your SUP to the beach and launch in Kailua Bay. The gear shop provides a cart, and you can walk with your gear for a short 10 minutes to the beach.

Drive: If you have a rental car, you can strap your SUP to the top of your vehicle, if it has racks, and try to find a place to park in the neighborhoods along the coast. There is no formal beach parking lot if you want to launch your paddle boards from Lanikai Beach. Once you find a parking spot, just walk to the shore along a beach access trail and launch your SUP.

Safety Considerations

There are no lifeguards on the beaches of Lanikai, so be careful. We definitely recommend paddling during calm waters.

We would not recommend this trip for children or anyone unfamiliar with the ocean environment.

Kailua Beach Adventures offers guided stand-up paddle boarding and kayak tours if you’re more comfortable experiencing the Mokuluas with a local guide. It is such a fun outdoor adventure.

Paddling back to Lanikai Beach

Other Things To Know When Planning

There are no showers or public restrooms on Lanikai Beach.

Paddling to Moku Nui is a popular spot, so you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time to do this water activity during your visit to Oahu.

Be sure to check Hawaii tourism travel restrictions and recommendations before traveling to Hawaii or planning a trip.

What Should You Pack to SUP to Moku Nui

For a paddle trip to Moku Nui, we recommend bringing:

  • Bathing suit + sun shirt
  • Flip flops
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • Snacks + water
  • Waterproof camera
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Wetsuit – if you get cold easily, like me
  • Paddling booties – so you don’t cut your feet on coral
  • Hat
  • Small dry bag to stow snacks and gear

Final Thoughts

SUP-surfing the waves near Moku Nui

Once you reach the Mokes, don’t just paddle around in circles. Instead, use your SUP to do some surfing if you’re comfortable! Be careful on the east side of the Mokes; it is windier.

Kailua and the Lanikai beaches are some of the most beautiful places in the world. Combining the beaches with picturesque views of the Mokulua Islands makes it truly a special place to see in Hawaii.

We hope you have a great time stand-up paddle boarding to the Mokes. It truly was one of our favorite activities to do when we visited Oahu.

Ashlee & Pablo

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top image: girl SUP-ing in Kailua Bay; bottom photo: ladies paddling to the Mokes in Oahu

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.


  1. Burt Randall on January 23, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Have fun the next time you go Ashlee & Pablo !! It truly is the place to vacation.

    • Ashlee Fechino on January 23, 2022 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Uncle Burt – thanks for reading! 😀 I know you had a great time when you lived over there.