North Shore of Oahu

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Quite possibly the most famous surfing beach in the world, Oahu’s North Shore is one place that any Hawaiian trip must include. Whether there to view the world famous winter surfing competitions or to learn to surf yourself during the calmer summer months, a visit to the North Shore is always a treat.

North Shore History

The name North Shore is geographically-based since the North Shore area can be found on the northern part of the Island of Oahu. About one hour north of Waikiki, the North Shore stretches for more than seven miles, from Kahuku Point to Ka’ena Point. It is home to several famous beaches and other surfing spots including Sunset Beach, Waimea Beach, and Ehukai Beach (home to the Banzai Pipeline.)

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North Shore is a mecca for surfers from the world over and as such hosts several international surfing competitions during the winter months (when the waves are the biggest). This includes what is known as the “triple crown of surfing.” All three men’s competitions, Reef Hawaiian Pro, the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing, and the Billabong Pipeline of Masters are all held on North Shore. Two of the three women’s competitions, Reef Hawaiian Pro and Roxy Pro Sunset, are also held there with the third women’s competition, the Billabong Pro, held each year on Maui.

In addition, when the surf permits (a minimum of 20-foot waves are required) Waimea Bay hosts the annual Quicksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau. This is one of the most intense surfing competitions in the world that is held by invitation only and a truly amazing spectacle to witness.

Because of its prominent role in the surfing scene as well as its accessibility and beauty, North Shore has often been featured in television shows and movies either shot or set in Hawaii. This includes the now-defunct Fox show North Shore as well as season one, episode six of the remade Hawaii Five-Oseries. Both ABC’s Lost and Fox’s Baywatch were shot at North Shore along with the movies Blue CrushForgetting Sarah Marshall, and North Shore.

North Shore: The Main Attraction

When travelling to Hawaii in the winter, checking out the schedule of events for surfing competitions on North Shore is an absolute must. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see professional surfers in their element at one of the best spots to surf in the world.

However, the value of North Shore is not limited to pros alone. There are several surf schools located along North Shore beaches that specialize in beginner-level instruction. During the winter, the instructors take visitors to calmer water and in the summer, the surf is much calmer all over the North Shore, allowing for swimming as well as entry-level surfing opportunities.

Those who are not into the surf can still find a lot to do along the North Shore. This includes a trip to the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center, dining in one of the many authentic Hawaiian restaurants in the area, or taking a hike to breathtaking Waimea Falls. The only major downfall of the North Shore experience is the lack of commercial accommodations in the direct vicinity. Other than the world-class Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore is all condos and house rentals. Therefore, visitors may want to plan the trip from nearby Honolulu.

Why the North Shore is a Must-See

The North Shore of Oahu is a legendary place among surfing enthusiasts. As the permanent home of the triple crown of surfing as well as a beautiful 7-mile stretch of beach, visiting North Shore offers tourists the opportunity to experience one of the cornerstones of Hawaiian life, its national sport, as well as some of the most beautiful and picturesque coast line that these islands have to offer.