Honolulu is the capital of the state of Hawaii & is located on the southern shore of the island of Oahu. It is known for its iconic crescent beaches, laid-back lifestyle and epic waves, which attract the world’s top surfers as well as keen amateurs.Less
Ala Moana Bowls is a popular spot among resident surfers, and is best suited to intermediates and professionals. Waves are typically 1ft to 4ft high (0.3m to 1.2m), but can reach up to 12ft (3.6m) on windy days. The convenient location of the beach – between Sunset and Makaha – make it the ideal place to go after a day in the city. The Magic Island side of the beach features a beautiful stretch of sand, while the harbor side has the Hilton beaches – great spots to relax after hitting the waves.
Sunset Beach is the most famous big-wave surfing spot on Oahu’s northern shores, and was the setting for the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championships until 1985. It’s still regarded as one of the biggest tests of a surfer’s ability and hosts the annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which is part of the World Surf League. The beach is absolutely breathtaking, but not recommended for beginners due to its extensive coral formations and the presence of jellyfish.
The Banzai Pipeline is found off Ehukai Beach on Oahu’s northern shore, and offers some of the world’s best and deadliest surfing. Waves – usually around 9ft (2.7m), but sometimes as much as 20ft (6m) high – break over a sharp reef just beneath the ocean surface, leaving little room for error. Those who can rise to Banzai’s challenges may be rewarded with a rideable barrel of their dreams, but it’s certainly not for beginners.
Located on Oahu’s south shore near the Koko Crater, Sandy Beach is one of Hawaii’s premier spots for body surfing & bodyboarding, owing to a surf that breaks very close to its pristine shores. It’s also one of the most picturesque & tranquil beaches on the island, famous for fine yellow sand. Top tip: don’t be fooled by the ease with which experienced surfers navigate the waves; a sharp drop off in the ocean floor near the shoreline can result in powerful riptides, catching beginners off guard.
Queens Beach is located in the Waikiki area, to the left (if you’re looking out to sea) of where Kapahulu Avenue meets the shoreline. It’s a great spot for beginners or those traveling with kids, offering tranquil, turquoise waters that lend themselves to paddle-boarding and bodyboarding. There’s also some great snorkeling to be enjoyed here, especially on the reef that’s found close to the Waikīkī Aquarium. Free films are shown on a giant screen on Queens on many weekends during the year.
Experienced & novice surfers looking for a fun wave away from the crowds head to Tonggs Beach, a small stretch of stand in the Diamond Head neighborhood (there’s a narrow access path near the junction of Coconut and Kalakaua Avenues). Although it’s not the secret it once was, it’s still often quieter than other beaches in Waikiki and typically offers waves of about 4ft that are perfect for the beginner. Be aware that sharks occupy the clear, deep waters beyond the reef from fall through spring.
Waimea Bay is found just south of Sunset Beach on the northern shores of Oahu. Every winter, it readies itself for the world’s greatest surfing event – the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, named after the Bay’s first lifeguard and a legendary surfer, and only held when the waves are consistently over 20ft high. If the waters are too wild and the beach is sealed off, simply relax in the nearby picnic area and watch them roll in. During summer, Waimea’s much calmer waters are ideal for swimming.
Makaha Beach Park is located on Oahu’s eastern shoreline. It can get crowded during winter, when huge swells of up to 25ft on the northern end of the beach attract experienced surfers from all over the world. Strong shorebreaks and rip currents can make for dangerous conditions, so be sure to consult the lifeguards before taking on the waves. By complete contrast, Makaha’s waters are calm during summer, making it one of the east shore’s most popular swimming and sunbathing spots.