If you’re looking for the best place to watch surfing in Oahu, you’ll want to head to the North Shore.
This stretch of coastline is famous for its big waves, and it’s the perfect place to catch a glimpse of some of the world’s best surfers in action. Even if you’re not a surfing enthusiast, the North Shore is a beautiful place to spend a day, and you’re sure to enjoy watching the surfers ride the waves.
Best Places To Surf In Oahu
1. North Shore Oahu Surfing Locations
Sunset Beach – best surf in Oahu
Sunset Beach is part of the Triple Crown of Surfing competition. It is the best places to surf, whether you are there for the contests.
These waves are huge and powerful, and it is amazing to see the pros battle the currents and try to escape.
The ocean appears to be either a monster or a videogame with many obstacles to overcome before the “player,” who is the player, can advance.
It is amazing to see the waves rising like giant mountains, and witnessing the skill and athleticism required for balance and control is truly an incredible feat of nature.
The best thing about this experience is the beautiful, large beach you can watch it all from. It’s long and wide with fine, powdery, clean sand.
To enjoy the surfing and take a walk, you can walk from Sunset to Pipeline. Imagine walking hand-in-hand with your loved ones or just you and taking in the area’s beauty.
Imagine watching the surfers catch big waves at Turtle Bay Resort from your window or sitting in a comfortable lounge chair and sipping a cocktail by the pool.
Pipeline Beach – best surf beach Oahu
It is home to the fastest, steepest barrels on the north coast and the most dangerous, sharp coral beneath its shallow surface.
It could be the difference between life and death.
The pipeline is a spectacle because of all these factors. It is amazing to see the action from the spectator’s point of view.
Even if surfing is not your thing, you will be clutching your pearls and covering your mouth while you pray that the rider avoids any possible disaster.
Waimea Bay can also be found in Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore at the mouth of the Waimea River. Waimea, which means “reddish water” in Hawaiian, is where many surfers come to Waimea Bay when the waves are at their worst.
In Waimea Bay is the annual Eddie Would Go surfing contest. It’s named after legendary surfer Eddie Aikau. Summer waves are flatter, so more families and kids spend their time at Waimea Bay.
Ehukai Beach is a paradise for experienced surfers seeking thrills. It can reach over 30 feet in the winter, from November to February. Ehukai, which means “sea spray” in Hawaiian, is one of Oahu’s most popular surfing spots. It’s also known as the best spot in the world for surfers. Ehukai Beach can be found in Haleiwa off the Kamehameha Highway.
Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach
Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach is located on the North Shore of Oahu, just off Highway 83. Surfers will find this a paradise for their daredevil dreams, with waves up to 25 feet tall during winter. Surfing in rip tides or currents can be dangerous, so only experienced surfers should try it. The beach transforms into a paradise for families and snorkelers in the summer.
Banzai Pipeline (Pipe)
It’s not surprising. The most well-known and famous wave on the planet is the Banzai Pipeline, located at Ehukai Beach Park. Pro-surfers go there to make and break records, create legends, and professional photographers visit it to get magazine covers worthy shots. Waikiki tour operators use it to lure tourists onto their shuttle buses. However, the 1-hour ride from the south shore is not worth the effort.
The pipeline is ultimately at Mother Nature’s mercy, so it is best to stay on the North Shore and not in town. This way, you can get up early and head to Ehukai for the morning wave-check ritual. Banzai Pipeline can be reached in 3 minutes or even faster by bike from Ke Iki Beach Bungalows.
Pua’ena Point Beach Park
The North Shore is well-known for its expert-only surfing breaks. Puaena Point Beach Park offers a friendly alternative for Oahu beginner surf spots. This spot is just off Puaena Point Beach Park and features a gentle wave that doesn’t break too fast. It is ideal for those who are still learning how to surf.
Puaena is a protected cove, so even though many other North Shore Oahu surf spots breaks are too large for comfort, it tends to be smaller. It can get huge here, but that doesn’t make it impossible. Remember the golden rule of surfing: Don’t go out if you aren’t sure.
Ke Iki Beach
Although “Ke Iki” is not as well-known as Waimea Bay and Banzai Pipeline, this shore break wave is awe-inspiring. Clark Little, the most famous wave photographer in the world, will often be found in one of its barrels.
Although November to March is the best season to see this shore-breaker in action, it can also be seen during the off-season, making it one of the island’s most popular all-year surfing destinations.
It is how far from one of the most highly-rated North Shore vacation rentals? It all depends on how much time it takes to move through the sand. The front yard of Ke Iki Beach Bungalows is the best spot to watch the waves on Oahu. The waves will beckon you throughout the day and serenade your sleep at night.
Reef break. Right is the most desired peak. There are usually many longboards and hybrids dominating the wave, but there is still enough to make a good short board. It’s not uncommon for a peak to break left, but it is often overlooked. It tends to be shallower going left. It’s a popular lesson spot because it’s a more mellow, longboard-friendly wave.
There are many patches of sand and reef. Enjoy a fun Hawaiian-style beach vacation. All tides are compatible. Many lefts and rights are very punchy but also often very hollow. The crowd can sometimes spread out due to the shifting peaks in both directions. Plus, it can hold twice as many people.
2. Oahu South Shore Surf Spots
The waves are alive on the south shore in the summertime. Queen’s Beach, which was once the home break for Duke Kahanamoku, is a timeless spot.
Modern beachboys still call this place home.
You can watch the waves caught by locals 100-200 meters away while you relax in the calmer waters or float in an inflatable raft at your hotel’s pool.
You can either sit down on Waikiki Beach near the Moana Surfrider hotel and watch or walk west to the Hilton Hawaiian Village to view surfers catching waves.
You will find the covered pavilion at Queen’s Beach, just to the left of the Honolulu Zoo.
You can see kids jumping off the wall and into the water below. As the wave approaches, you will feel like you are about to catch one yourself.
This spot is very popular with bodyboarders. They avoid hitting the rock wall, even though it appears they will.
You can also feel the local culture while watching the children run and play. You can be sure that someone is playing the ukulele during all this.
You can find a small beach to the left of the wall. Then, you can relax and go into the water to cool off.
You’ll also see locals riding their bikes effortlessly while catching waves in the distance.
Waikiki Beach & Diamond Head Beach
Surf spots in Waikiki Beach on the South Shore of Oahu and Diamond Head beach are best surfing in oahu for all levels. Diamond Head Beach can be found at the foothills of an extinct volcanic crater known as Diamond Head.
Waikiki Beach attracts many people, while Diamond Head Beach is more tranquil and less crowded. This point is a popular spot for surfing in South Oahu, with both east and south swells.
Makapu’u Beach can be found just southeast of Oahu. It is well-known for its hikes to the Makapu’u Lighthouse. You can also surf here, similar to Sandy Beach Park. From Waikiki, on the Kalaniana’ole Highway, it takes approximately one hour to drive to Makapu’u Beach. The area is well-known for its body surfing and strong currents.
Ala Moana Bowls
Sharp, shallow reef break on the left. The surf spots south shore Oahu is known for its long hollow barrels that drain quickly and the high-performance surfing. Ala Mo, or Bowls, is one of the most popular waves in “Town” Honolulu. It has a prestigious reputation and attracts a large crowd, particularly non-locals.
Bowly hollow right has a soft left. The right goes into a channel, while the left crosses a shallow reef. Highly competitive and busy. Intermediate to expert level. Best on a mid-tide.
A right-hander who is fast and hollow. The lineup has all levels of surfers.
Reef break. Enjoy calm waves and fun on shorter days, with many outriggers and ocean kayaks cruising through any moment. A decent south swell draws more local rippers who want to get a piece of the draining right-hand barrel.
Reef break. Sharp, shallow reef break. This is one of the most popular and longest left, best surfing in Honolulu. Getting there is a bit of a paddle, and the water is dangerously low at low tides. Higher tides will produce a softer wave, and lower tides will cause waves to be hollower.
3. West Side Oahu Surfing Locations
Makaha Beach Park
Makaha is where Hawaiian surfing began on the island. Rell Sun and the Keaulana brothers, among others, were born here.
Here is where the Buffalo Big Board Surfing Classic contest occurs every year. Pros such as Lessa Quizon or Sunny Garcia started their careers.
There are no big-money contests, fancy prizes, or fancy this and that. However, if you want photos to show where the real money is paid without the glamour of surf magazines, click here.
This is the most western tip of the island. It’s a small, tight-knight community that has been surfing for generations. People fish old-fashioned-style, standing on slippery volcanic rocks to catch fish.
This is common for everyone, from children to aunties and uncles. It’s almost like everyone is part fish as they move through the water.
You’ll find warm smiles, big families, and people camping out on the beaches with tents to block the sunlight. They will grill their friends and family while they catch waves with loved ones.
A distinctive rock is located on the beach’s side. This makes it a dangerous place to ride giants.
This is the place to go if you want to feel true Hawaiian sportsmanship and a lot of Aloha.
My advice? Smile, be friendly, and be respectful. This will ensure that you receive lots of kindness.
Yokohama Bay is located on Oahu’s northwest tip and is sometimes called Keawa’ula Beach. It is about an hour and a half from Waikiki. It is a great spot for surfing year-round.
Yokohama Bay, located in the remotest part of Oahu, is not crowded. Winter from November to February can bring dangerous waves, so beginners need to be aware of strong currents and the rocky bottom.
White Plains Beach
White Plains is located on the west side of Oahu. It has manageable A-frame waves surfers can catch moving left, right, or straight towards the beach. White Plains’ inside break has a sandy bottom, a great perk for learning how to surf the waves.
Falls are unlikely to leave you any injuries, but it is not an invitation to dive every wave. Starfishing is the best way to avoid injury from falling off your surfboard.
4. East Side Oahu Surfing Locations
Sandy Beach, East Side, is where I love to see bodyboarders surfing waves. This is a famous spot for its steep waves that rise just feet from the shore, then crash down with incredible force.
Imagine yourself standing or sitting just feet away as this unfolds before your eyes.
It is captivating and exciting to watch, like watching an IMAX movie live around you.
You’ll love the fact that there are many photo-worthy moments along the way.
Hanauma Bay will be open on Tuesdays for photographers to take photos from the lookout. After that, you can continue along the rocky cliffside road to capture images of the Halona Blowhole.
You can capture the water erupting from the rocks just above Sandy’s.
You can also enjoy the essence Of From Here to Eternity beach, which was made famous by the movie. These two highlights are linked by one parking lot.
Sandy’s also has a parking lot where you can enjoy the daredevils’ action while getting a taste of local life.
Many people fly their kites or spend the day with their families. Surfers can ride the waves to Sandy’s left if the conditions are right.
You can drive around the island or turn around to eat lunch in Hawaii Kai. It is only 15 minutes away. I think Teddy’s Bigger Burgers serves the best burgers on the island and milkshakes.
Mexico Fiesta, located right on the channel in Hawaii Kai, offers Mexican food. It is very picturesque, with Koko Head in the foreground and waterfront homes along the edge.
While you eat, boaters and kayakers pass by as you enjoy the music and the breeze gently ruffles your cheeks as the music plays in the background.
It is truly perfect. It is something I have never stopped doing, and you will too.
After much research and deliberation, we have come to the conclusion that the best place to watch surfing in Oahu is from the cliffs at Waimea Bay.
The cliffs offer a stunning view of the bay below and the waves crashing against the rocks. There are also several restaurants and cafes nearby, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the show.