Swimming in Honolulu

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Giant, man-sized hamster balls filled with humans bob and splash across the surface of swimming pools with bright-blue padded edges. This surreal scene occurs daily at Water Ball Entertainment, where customers crawl into large transparent spheres and bounce, bob, and summersault their way across pools of rippling water fully clothed. Around the pools' perimeters, friends and family cheer as the staff supervises customers at play on the water in up to six floating balls at a time. At the behest of the humans inside, giant balls can turn end over end, bounce on top of the water, send waves splashing, or team up with other balls to form the shape of customers' favorite molecular structures.

2330 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu,
Hawaii
US

With its pink sails filling with ocean breezes, the Island Magic Catamaran carries passengers out to sea in search of painted sunsets, playful humpbacks, and salty sprays. During sails, the crew carefully handles the 30-passenger vessel, allowing it to float lazily on glassy water or race against the island's fast-flowing swells. In addition to cruises, the team leads snorkeling adventures near Turtle Canyon, where sightseers can splash among green sea turtles before they finish hatching into boring, shell-less lizards. Sunset cruises depart 1.5 hours before the sun dips below the horizon, allowing passengers to admire the waves as they catch the last few bits of sunlight.

1025 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu,
HI
US

South Pacific Watersports' expert captains send patrons on thrilling aquatic excursions, promoting both watery amusement and the conservation of Hawaii's delicate oceanic life. Adventurers cling to a rollicking bumper tube with up to three other guests as it skims the wake of Koko Marina tethered to a zooming motorboat or a benevolent plesiosaur's neck. Up to five folks can then clamber aboard a boat to Maunalua Bay, where knowledgeable instructors lead a 20-minute course imparting the basics of standup paddleboarding before turning pupils loose on the tide. Perched atop provided boards, students draw lengthy paddles through the surf while soaking in views of the ocean floor's inhabitants and mermaid sock hops through the bay's crystal-clear waters. The 90-minute outing also doubles as a full-body workout as paddlers buff up arms against rippling waters and clench abs and quads to stabilize their balance.

7192 Kalanianaole Hwy
Honolulu,
HI
US

A manmade island floats 300 yards off the shore of Waikiki Beach. Its inhabitants shriek as they plunge from its three 5- to 15-foot cliffs or plummet down a slippery slide into the ocean below. Intrepid sorts don snorkels and masks to mingle with the aquatic fauna that skirt its hulls. Others strike out aboard kayaks and standup paddleboards, steering past an ocean trampoline and its buoyant visitors. Those who choose to remain on the island's sun-drenched surface recline in teak lounge chairs, tipping back refreshments from three bars or munching on morsels fresh from the grill. The founders of Waikiki Ocean Club might prefer to call it a catamaran, but at 145 feet long and 65 feet wide, the site functions as both an island and watery amusement park. As swimmers and sunbathers gather around its decks, scuba divers seek out marine life below the waves and helmet-diving excursions ensure that hair stays dry enough to kindle a fire. Jet skis, AquaQuads, and rigid inflatable boats ferry riders away from the club at exhilarating speeds; boat tours to secluded snorkeling locales and celebrities’ beach houses highlight resplendent scenery. After dark, the floating fairground transforms into a DJ-manned dance floor, awarding Friday-night guests with an unobstructed view of fireworks over Waikiki.

1651 Ala Moana boat harbor
Honolulu,
HI
US

H2O Sports Hawaii's licensed adventure-seekers have been helping likeminded folks safely skim over the water's mirrored surface or dive deep below rolling waves since 1986. Their certified flight and scuba instructors dispense their knowledge as they prep guests for safe scuba diving and Jetlev jetpack flights, during which a jetpack propels guests up to 30 feet in the air using a high-powered pump that, like Poseidon's Harley, uses ocean water as fuel. They also outfit nautical voyagers with equipment and safety vests for jaunts on surfboards, parasails, jet skis, and high-speed tubes.

To further fulfill their mission of adventurous memory making, H2O Sports Hawaii's staff also runs their own digital media shop, where they snap photos of watery experiences using the media chips that accompany guests on many activities. Their direct taxi service makes pesky logistics a breeze as their drivers shuttle guests between Waikiki hotels and picturesque shores.

377 Keahole St
Honolulu,
HI
US

An offshoot of Roberts Hawaii, which began giving tours of Kauai and other Hawaiian islands in 1941, Hawaiian Ocean Thrills sends a variety of watercraft splashing along the sandy shoreline of Waikiki Beach. Visitors navigate the crystalline waters aboard humming jet skis, gliding banana sleds, or skipping bumper tubes. Guests can also experience the big blue at a distance in a parasail that soars over the waves and affords views of the Oahu skyline. They also swim, snorkel, and lounge on the beach, taking a break from the water to munch a sandwich or salad lunch and make sure their toes don’t turn permanently pruney.

680 Iwalei Road Suite 700
Honolulu,
Hawaii
US