For almost all of our trip, Kauaʻi beach safety reports seriously overestimated how dangerous the surf was. Theory: it’s winter, it must be terrible! Practice: my non-swimming four year old is safe and comfortable.
Shipwreck’s Beach was the major exception. It was certainly survivable, particularly past the breakers where not coincidentally most of the swimmers were, but neither of my children swim well enough to penetrate a churning wall of water.
Photos of Kauaʻi, January 2018 (in progress).