North Shore Oahu

Surfing

Massive, bone-crunching waves and surfers on every corner - that's probably what one thinks of when they hear "North Shore." Those gigantic 30-foot waves are prevalent in the winter months but calm down in the summers to allow for glorious diving and snorkeling conditions.

The crowds certainly gather in the area's top beaches like Sunset, Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) and Waimea Bay to soak in the rays and watch daring surfers. Both amateur and professional surfing competitions take place during the winter months, especially at the Banzai Pipeline, which is considered a top location due to its massive waves and proximity to the beach- where spectators can get a great view of the action. Some of the world’s premier surfing competitions occur here between November and February. The competitions are not always held every year, as there is a wave size requirement of 20-foot (6.1m). The enormous waves can even be dangerous for experienced surfers, so be sure to heed the warning signs, and be aware that the waves break over a sharp reef only a few feet from the surface. Ocean waters tend to be calmer during the summer months but care should still be taken at all times.

North Shore Oahu Beaches

Fifty-One Beaches

The North Shore encompasses the 17mile north-facing coastal area between Ka’ena Point in the west and east to Kahuku Point. Fifty-one beaches stretch for more than 11 miles altogether, and outcrops of volcanic basalt rock form expanses of coastline, also. Some of the more popular beaches include Waimea Beach, which was one of the original surfing beaches in the 50’s, and Sunset Beach, which is one of the longest surf ride locations in the world. Turtle Beach, located near Kahuku Point-- the most northerly point of Oahu-- is in a protected bay that offers great snorkeling. True to its name, the Hawaiian green sea turtles or Honu may frequent these waters.

Things to Do and See on North Shore Oahu

Oahu’s North Shore has plenty to offer every visitor. Take a trip to the area’s largest settlement, Haleiwa; a rural community that serves as the area's center. There you'll find plenty of surfing-themed restaurants and stores. There are also plenty of historical and cultural spots to enjoy.  Various vacation and condo rentals are also available for visitors to the island.

For activities other than surfing, the North Shore offers skydiving, sailplane, glider, and ultralight rides at Dillingham Airfield.  There is also the Waialua Coffee Visitors Center at the old Waialua sugar mill, now a working coffee mill.

The North Shore has been flashing across your television set for years. Due to its natural beauty, it is a popular area for filming. The lifeguards of "Baywatch" frolicked on the sands of Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park. The remote western regions of the North Shore were also the setting for ABC's "Lost", which was almost entirely filmed on Oahu, much of it on the North Shore. The movies "Blue Crush" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" were also filmed in the area, as well as various episodes of "Hawaii Five-0."

Hawaii Guide's Recommended North Shore Tours & Activities:

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Article Edited/Contributed by: Penelope Law & Michele Lopez
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