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North Shore Oahu Surf Beach Guide [Infographic]

One of the most popular beaches in the whole island of Oahu is North Shore. Because of its undeniable beauty, pristine beach fronts, rich underwater biodiversity, and night life,  it is not surprising that most tourists visiting the island make sure to experience the life in the North Shore. If you will visit Oahu in the future, there’s one activity you shouldn’t miss out in North Shore, surfing.

The North Shore is in fact located on the Northern coast of the island of Oahu, Hawaii, hence its name. It is about an hour drive from Honolulu, the capital of the island. During the summertime, its waters are calm enough for swimming, snorkeling and diving. But, what most tourists look forward to when in North Shore is during the wintertime, when waves soar as high as buildings and surfers take up to the challenge.

Beginner’s Surf Spots in North Shore:

It’s no secret that the North Shore is home to some of the most famous surf breaks in the world. The waves on the North Shore are known for their power and magnificence, and surfing is a spectator sport.  Because of this, the North Shore of Oahu has attained legendary status as one of the most talked about spots for surfing due to its gigantic waves measuring to as high as 20-30 feet. Professional surfers from all over the world flock the area from November to January, during the peak of the legendary tidal waves.

Generally speaking, the North Shore is best fitted for experienced and professional surfers, especially during the winter, where waves are generally bigger and stronger. However, there are a few user-friendly spots for beginners and plenty of options to take surf lessons from experienced local guides.

Puaena Point in Haleiwa Beach Park

This is one of the go-to places for tourists and locals who are beginning to learn the sport of surfing. Many surf schools have established their business in the area because of its proximity to the town of Haleiwa and for the fact that the waves here can be much smaller during big swells than other spots. During the weekends, and especially on holidays, this surfing spot can be quite crowded. It is best that you contact your chosen surf school before hand and make reservations before coming to the area.

To Get Here: Puanea Point is directly north of the parking lot at Haleiwa Beach Park.  Look for food trucks and surf school vans.

Chun’s Reef

Chun’s Reef is one of the household names when it comes to surfing areas for beginners in the North Shore. Smaller waves come in this area of the beach; these allowing beginners and first timers not to feel intimidated and overwhelmed with the sport.

To Get Here: Take Kamehameha Highway from Haleiwa toward Waimea Bay.  Look for a white fence where cars are parked.  You will see a small river with a bridge – that is a good spot to head out to the beach.

Kawela Bay

Kawela Bay is one of the best spots for getting smaller waves. This makes it a perfect location for first timers who want to experience surfing just because.

To get here: Kawela Bay is almost at the top of the North Shore. If driving eastward on Kamehameha Highway, you’ll find it right before Turtle Bay Resort.

Turtle Bay Resort Pool Bar

For intermediate surfers, Turtle Bay Resort Pool Bar is the best area for you to practice your skills. This right-hand point break works great in small to medium sized waves. Due to it’s proximity to the northernmost point in Oahu, it picks up wraparound easterly swell from the trade winds. This wave breaks when the season has died down on other spots only picking up northerly and westerly swell.

Surfing Events

Professional surfer or not , surf competition on North Shore is an amazing, and definitely a must see when you’re in Oahu during wintertime.

Locals and visitors alike gather on the beach to watch the best surfers in the world pull into 20-foot barreling waves at the infamous gigantic waves which surfers ride for a few seconds or minutes.

Holding periods for men’s and women’s surfing contests, including the famous Triple Crown of Surfing Championships, start in mid-November each year and continue through March.