The North Shore of Oahu is characterized by gorgeous white sand beaches, enormous waves in the winter and excellent swimming and bodyboarding in the summer. Most tourists stay in the Waikiki and Honolulu areas of Oahu, but you really must get out of the city and up to the North Shore. There, it is much more peaceful, natural and beautiful.
The North Shore of Hawaii has long been famous for its surf. You've probably heard references to Waimea in the Beach Boys song "Surfin' USA". If you're from a community where lots of people surf (like I am), then the North Shore is absolutely legendary. It's the place all surfers dream of going. Why? Well, in the Winter months when surf is high, waves may reach heights of up to twenty-five feet plus. Sometimes you'll even see fifty foot waves. It is an awesome sight.
Of course, these giant waves mean that the water is too rough for swimming in the winter. At this time the beaches will have warning signs posted and will even prohibit you from entering the water at places. This motto is often repeated: "If In Doubt, Just Stay Out!" That's okay... the real fun here is standing on the shore, watching the surfers take on the huge waves.
The most popular beaches along the North Shore include Sunset Beach, Ehukai (The Banzai Pipeline) Beach, KeWa`ena Beach, Waimea Bay Beach Park and Ali`i Beach Park.
Be sure to visit the North Shore while you're on Oahu and witness its spectacular natural beauty!
We went up to the North Shore in January 2005 to see the big waves that are so famous to these shores. Unfortunately, the day we went the waves were only about 10 foot but very choppy and the beach was closed off with yellow tape and signs.
Wow - this is the ultimate in protected & safe snorkel spots. It's like being in a natural aquariu-like setting with an abundance of sea life.
In an effort to keep this place under wraps and minimize the riff-raff, I am going to say that it is known for sharks! (who knows, that may be true!)
If you snorkel, are a beginner, or afraid of the ocean but want to see fish - this is well worth a stop!
Last February I was lucky enough to visit Oahu and traveled to the North Shore for the shark cage adventure. What a blast this was. I was a little apprehensive at first when the crew of two started throwing "chum" in the water to attract the 5 ft long Galapagos sharks. As soon as we entered the cage and were let out into the water my thoughts quickly changed. The sharks are stunning creatures and were not at all scary even though they were mere inches from our faces. It is such an exhilarating experience like no other I have ever had. We even saw the tail end of a Humpback Whale while on the boat. The crew members very knowledgeable and friendly. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. Best vacation memory ever!
I had the pleasure of doing the North Shore shark cage tour. The tours happen in the mornings everyday from about 6-12 every hour. They beging out of the Haliewa marina, slip 35. The marina is listed on most tourist maps and there is a yellow sign for the tours right out front. The tours are about 2 hours long. You go out 3 nautical miles off shore. I was amazed at how professional and organized this tour was. as soon as the boat stopped, sharks swarmed the boat. we could see about 10 swimming in the water around the boat. That was super exciting alone, and then we got in the cage. About 10 people were on our boat ride, but only four were in the cage, which was nice to have the cage with few people in it. The cage is up against the boat and you climb in and once everyone is in they let it float away from the boat, while it is attached by ropes. The sharks just swim very gracefully and calmly around the cage. You are given a snorkle and goggles andyou spend about 20 minutes in the cage. Its an incredible experience and one of the best things i have done in a long time. Its safe and unbelievably thrilling. They also have the option to make a video for you. Its expensive, 60 bucks, but you get in the cage alone, or with your party, and they film before you go in and underwater while you are in the cage. They sell t-shirts on board too for 20 bucks. The tour is a bit pricey, but I would say worth every penny. If you are going to splurge on anything, I couldnt recommend anything more. Its 110 dollars to get in the cage, and if you just wanted to ride on the boat as an observer, its 50. If you have anyway to get on the base and have MWR access, you can get the cage option for 85 bucks.
While on a tour group, our tour guide suggested that we stop here for a quick photo session. At first, though the beach was beautiful in itself, I didn't think it was anything special, till I walked on further and saw this amazing rock formation!!
If you are driving around the North Coast, its definately worth a visit, it doesn't take long :)
Jumping off the cliffs at Waimea Bay is a MUST. If you aren't sure where to jump, just wait for some other people and then jump where they do. Most people jump to the right side (toward the northeast).
Although it is virtually impossible to think of Hawaii without thinking of beaches, I feel that a case can be made that Oahu tourists can be divided into two groups. Those who tend to stay on the south end of the island have major interests in shopping and history (and of course Waikiki) while those who head north have major interests in surfing and partying.
The area generally referred to as the North Shore is actually a continuum of eight beaches and six unbelievable surfing sites. Think Waimea, Pipeline, Sunset Beach, Sunset Point, et al.
Pipeline is home to the World Championships of Surfing and Sunset Beach and Sunset Point are home to the world championships of sunsets.
Often during the winter season, they will have surfing contests held along the north shore. I went check out a sunset surfing contest.....beautiful view sitting on a bleacher seat comfortably on the beach.
While touring the north shore with our friend Judy, we discussed different things we wanted to do on this trip (e.g., go to the beach, have lunch at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, go ATV'ing, etc.). Judy mentioned that ATV'ing would be better on the other islands, and suggested that we try going up in a glider instead.
Hmmm, that would be exciting, so the wheels started turning and we made reservations to go up in the glider to see Oahu from a different prespective. What was even better is that Judy was able to get us the "local discount price", so off we went. The company we used is called Honolulu Soaring and the owners Bill Star (aka Mr. Bill) and Steve Wood (aka Woody) are fantastic to deal with as well as very funny.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but all I have to say is that we had a blast!!! The views are amazing, being pulled behind a plane is definitely different, but a great experience and the views, WOW!!!
You must see it with your own eyes and hear it with your own ears. The formation of the North shore naturally was created in such way that there are large (huge waves) despite the strength of the wind. You cannot swim there, because the beach is rocky. I imagine the boats in storm crashed on those stones. It would be not a pleasant scene.
Stand-up paddle boarding is a variation on surfing that is becoming very popular in the islands and is one of the fastest-growing watersports. In stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) riders stand upright on wider, longer boards and use a paddle to maneuver. Great for a core muscle workout, SUP is often used for fitness rather than for riding waves. Lessons are highly recommended for your safety and for the safety of your fellow beach goers and surfers.
Note: Heed all warning signs. Talk to your instructor about changing conditions, strong currents and reefs. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a particular beach is appropriate for your ability level.
Uncle Bryan's Sunset Suratt Surf Academy
"Stand-up paddling is a lot of fun! And if you're looking to learn while you're on the North Shore, you've come to the right place. We do tours and lessons for all ages and skill levels—from kids to adults and from beginners to experts."
Surf & Sea Stand Up Paddle Lessons
Call 808-637-SURF (7873)
Hours: Mon - Sun 9:00am - 7:00pm
Hawaii's oldest surf and dive shop opened in 1921, a variety of items for sale from boards to musical instruments. Excellent instructors.
Lessons and anything for the surf
Honu Hawaii Activities
Phone: (808) 633-8904
Goofy Foot Stand Up Paddle Lessons - Lahaina $100.00
Stand Up Paddle Lesson & Rental - Maunalua Bay $ 49.00
Stand Up Paddle Lesson - Maunalua Bay $115.00
Stand Up Paddle Tours, Lessons & Rentals - Kailua Bay $ 59.00
The North Shore of Oahu is where all the biggest waves are and where all the world class surfing action take place from Waimea onwards.
It is the home of the famous Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park, one of the biggest wave in the world.
Also don't bypass the small town of Haleiwa
Hawaii usually seems to be expensive, and in fact it's. but is not all that bad, in Oahu's North Shore it's quite ok to stay, there's a few hostels (i went in 99, there were only 2 if am i right...) and there's a good market, and you dont need much to go from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach, bike is the best way to hang out from these 2 points, local bus is also interesting, though... if you really wanna have a hawaian experiece, go to big island or maui, oahu is quite too much, but still has beautiful beaches and hikes !!!
The North Shore from Kaweia to Halewa is the surfing capital of the world. Here are where the big world class waves are.