Hawaii is synonymous with surfing. It is the heart of the sport. Surfing originated in ancient Polynesia, and has been a way of life for many people in Hawaii for over 100 years. You can surf all year round, with smaller waves in the summer, and the biggest in the winter. Oahu’s North Shore is home to some of the greatest surfing beaches in the world. The best big-wave surfers in the world converge on Oahu in the winter. Oahu’s North Shore is the location of the “7 mile miracle”, a collection of legendary surfing beaches, including the Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. In today’s article we will look at some of the best spots to catch big waves on Oahu.
Located west of Ehukai Beach Park, the Banzai Pipeline, also simply called Pipeline, is one of the most well known surfing spots in the world. Famous surf movies, like Blue Crush and Surfing Hollow Days, as well as an episode of Hawaii Five-O, were filmed on location. Expect big waves and big crowds of people for the fall through mid spring. People come from all over the world to surf the Banzai Pipeline in the winter. It is home to numerous surfing competitions, like the Volcom Pipe Pro, and Billabong Pipe Masters. This spot can be very cruel. If you wipe out there is a good chance you are going to hit the reef, and it is sharp.
Named Paumalū in Hawaiian, Sunset Beach is a gorgeous 2 mile stretch of beach on Oahu’s North Shore. Sunset Beach was once the home to the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship, until the inaugural Billabong Pro in 1985. Because of the size, there are 3 main swell spots along Sunset Beach, making plenty of room. There is a nice current to help take you out to the almost 200-yard takeoff zone, but keep in mind that same current can make the return to shore much more difficult. It’s another merciless spot for wipe outs, so be careful!
Waimea Bay is considered by many to be the first place that surfers really started to hit the big waves back in the 50’s. The bay can be found at the mouth of the Waimea River, in Haleiwa. These swells are known to reach 50ft but you won’t want to be trying to ride those. This is the location of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, a big wave competition in remembrance of the surfing legend Eddie Aikau. It’s another very popular beach, so it is best to get there early.