North Shore
Best months:
October to March

North Shore

Oahu, Hawaii
Travel article
LAST UPDATED 12/03/2008
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Latitude0116: Oahu; 29 April 2004

The North Shore is the north-facing coastal area of Oʻahu island between Kaʻena Point and Kahuku Point. The largest settlement in this area is Haleʻiwa. The North Shore is famous for its beaches and incredible massive surf that attracts surfers from all round the world.


Stan Sheb: Pipeline; March 2002

The 50 odd kilometres that comprise the North Shore of Oahu is pound for pound the most premium collection of surf spots on the planet. Unfortunately there is the crowd to go with it and some of the most unforgiving locals you will find should you indulge in any asshatery in the lineup.

October through to February sees a stready supply of North Pacific swell spray across the points, beaches and reefs of this coast. On offer is everything from big waves through to hollow peaks and everything in between, you just need to know where to look. Despite what you may read, it is still possible to find an uncrowded break in Hawaii. The bulk of the surfing tourists will mob the world famous lineups such as Pipeline and Waimea when they are firing, but with just a little bit of research it is very common to find a spot only one or two breaks down offering something very similar to the 5 star option with only fraction of the crowd.

Any swell from west through to East will ensure there is something breaking  - somewhere on the North shore. NW is your classic direction for places like Pipeline to be firing just like they do in the movies. If the swell is coming from the south then man, what are you doing on the North Shore, you need to be on either the West or South side of the island. The good news here is that those options are never more than 40 minutes away in any event. 

where to stay

Shane Dorian/Pipeline; Matt Smith/; Dec 2000

The North Shore of oahu, the laboratory of surf, and accommodation is more low key than you would imagine, which is a good thing. There is only one large resort, known as Turtle Bay Resort, which has two world class golf courses and is a very upmarket and exclusive place to stay. The most choices lie in privately run condos and house rentals.

A lot of surfers stay at the backpackers near to Waimea Bay on the Kamehameha Highway. It offers dorm rooms and private cabins for a very reasonable price. It has a great atmosphere and is a good place to mingle with like minded people.

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