The surfboard is an icon of Hawaii, and you’re likely to see quite a few of them if you explore the North Shore.
But while you expect to see large numbers of boards battling the waves when the swells are hitting right, you might not expect to see 500 of them lined up in a garden. And that’s just what the Maui surfboard fence is.
Located right at the start of the Road to Hana, the surfboard fence is a local landmark that grew from an unusual solution to powerful winds. Plan your visit with our guide.
What Is The Maui Surfboard Fence?
A colorful local landmark and (probably) the largest surfboard collection in the world, Maui’s surfboard fence is exactly what you expect it to be: a fence, made out of surfboards.
It’s a good place to stop for a photo before you tackle the Road to Hana, and to see some local ingenuity.
So, how did the surfboard fence come about? Maui is famous for its trade winds, which tend to blow throughout the afternoon, and, at times, become dangerous storms.
So, what do you do when a hurricane is expected, and you have a big pile of surfboards? Donald Dettloff came up with quite a unique solution in 1990.
He wired his surfboards together, creating a secure fence that protected both boards and property.
Word spread, and in the years since his bright idea, the surfboard fence has grown. Now, it’s thought to have over 500 surfboards—and counting.
Donations of old surfboards are accepted, if you’re interested in expanding the fence. If you don’t have an old surfboard going spare, the fence is still worth the brief detour just for the photo opportunity.
Where Is The Maui Surfboard Fence?
The Maui surfboard fence can be unusually difficult to find, considering it’s a massive fence made of surfboards. It doesn’t get a mention on any maps, and if you try to put the destination into your GPS, don’t expect results.
However, the surfboard fence is on the Hana Highway, and it’s just a tiny detour from the main route. You can also visit the fence if you’re exploring the Upcountry!
The surfboard fence can be found on Kaupakalua Road (Hwy 365). It’s just past the Road to Hana Mile Marker Zero, as you start to head towards Twin Falls and the early sights of the trip.
If you’re traveling from Paia, the turning to Kaupakalua Road is on the right. You should see the Hana Highway Millennium Trail Marker as you reach the intersection.
Follow Kaupakalua Road for a short distance, and you should spot the surfboard fence to your left. This is only a short stop, and worth taking a look at before you tackle the bulk of the Road to Hana.
Alternatively, you might want to check out the fence on your journey back from Hana. Simply follow the road to the same turning, and Kaupakalua Road will be on your left.
The surfboard fence is also only a short detour if you’ve been exploring the Upcountry, or maybe watched the sunrise at Haleakala.
The fence is right at the start of what’s considered to be the Road to Hana, and around a 20 to 30-minute drive from Paia (although the level of traffic can make a significant difference).
Parking And Facilities
The surfboard fence is on private property in a quiet and residential neighborhood, so there are no facilities. This is really a drive-by attraction, rather than a proper tourist spot.
If you want to park, there is a small pullout near the intersection. But most visitors prefer to stay in the car. If you do park, remember that this is a busy road.
In terms of facilities, there are none. And you’re quite a drive from any good stopping points. Like we said, this is a place for a quick photo, and a chance to see an unusual take on recycling.
Is There A Charge?
No, there is no charge to visit the Maui surfboard fence. But if you happen to have an old surfboard, they do accept donations.
The original fence was put together from surfboards that the owner already had to hand. It then grew with the addition of thrifted surfboards, and the occasional donation.
As word of mouth started to spread, the fence grew because locals and tourists began to contribute their own surfboards to the installation. And there’s always room for more!
Although there is no charge, the fence is on private property, so be respectful. The best viewpoint is from the road. You don’t need to head onto the property itself.
Kuau Store Surfboard Fence
The Kaupakalua Road fence is the original, but people know a good idea when they see one. For a slightly easier to visit surfboard fence, check out the Kuau Store.
It might not be the largest surfboard fence, or the first, but it’s still a fun local landmark. And you can stop at the Kuau convenience store to grab some snacks for the Road to Hana.
Kuau is a small North Shore bay, probably best known as the location for Mama’s Fish House. Many visitors on the Road to Hana drive straight through, excited to start the journey.
We recommend slowing down, and making a stop at Kuau. There’s ample parking, so you can explore the surfboard fence properly (and get the perfect surfboard selfie).
Afterwards, head into the Kuau Store and pick up a fresh smoothie and a locally made plate lunch.
There are a few other surfboard fences on Maui, but these tend to be smaller projects started by surfing enthusiasts. The main ones to look out for are the Kaupakalua Road fence, and the Kuau Store fence.
An Unexpected Landmark
The Maui surfboard fence was an inventive solution to a persistent problem that’s become a colorful landmark. The ever-growing fence is eye-catching, even if it is tough to find on the Road to Hana.
If you can’t make it to the original, we recommend checking out the Kuau surfboard fence, which is shorter, and easier to explore.