Catch That Oahu Surf! A Quick Guide

The history of surfing in Hawaii goes as far back as the 1700’s with explorers making notes of native Hawaiians on “wooden planks” in Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii Island. With its tropical climate and beautiful beaches, Hawaii has since become a world famous surfing destination in the last few hundred years. Before you head to Oahu, one of the state’s most popular surf spots, there’s a few things to know to ensure a great time while you hang ten!

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When To Go?

Well the swells on the North Shore of Oahu attract the most attention October through March, so if you’re an expert and want to try your hand at some of these waves, this would be the time. But if you just want to see a surf contest while on vacation, then you’re in luck since Oahu hosts surfing competitions year round. One of the most popular is the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which is this sport’s Super Bowl. It’s held every year in November and December at Waimea Bay, Haleiwa Beach and Ehukai Beach, all on Oahu.

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Where to Go?

Sunset is one of the most fabled right hand points there is, and thus attracts many a soul the world over, but it still is relatively uncrowded compared to other Oahu surf spots. This one is definitely for the more advanced surfer in your group since Sunset turns very fast and hollow as it emerges and walls up quick from deep water; famous inside bowl throws way out for a good, heavy barrel. Definitely don’t take this “small” wave lightly.

If you’re looking for something more tranquil in terms of wave size, then Canoes on the South Shore of Oahu is for you. It is overrun with tourists, but does make for a friendly place for a beginner or amateur surfer who wants a break, no pun intended, from the bigger waves of the North Shore beaches.

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Where Can I Learn?

So you’re not ready to brave the Banzai Pipeline just yet? Well no fear because there are plenty of surf schools and instructors who give private surf lessons in Oahu. Waikiki has always been a popular spot for tourists and beginners wanting to try this popular water sport. We suggest learning on a longboard in gentle waves to get your first break. Try to get recommendations from a local or someone who has already taken lessons from your instructor before running out into the waves.

If you’ve tried surfing on Oahu and loved it, we suggest trying some of the other watersports that the beautiful island has to offer: paddleboarding, kayaking, and even kitesurfing. Come visit Oahu and have fun!

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