I will be the first to admit it: I have a thing for surfers. I could sit and watch them glide over the waves all day and then some! So obviously I was beyond excited to pay a visit to Oahu’s famed North Shore, one of the biggest surfing destinations in the world. And even better, we were there in the winter which is the prime time to visit. This is when the waves are the biggest, with waves reaching between 20-50 feet high!! I couldn’t wait to see the gigantic, thundering waves, and even more importantly, I wanted to see a surfer surf a pipeline (for those not familiar with surfing lingo, that is when the top of the wave crests over the surfer, forming a sort of wave tunnel in which the surfer surfs).
Once you get farther away from Honolulu, the drive to the North Shore is rather scenic, with lots of places to park your car to snap photos of the coast. Here are some of the pretty views we passed on the drive from Honolulu to the North Shore:
Along the way, we also passed several cute towns that looked like they would be fun to explore, but we started our journey late in the day and wanted to reach North Shore in time for sunset, so we couldn’t stop. For travelers heading on this journey, I would recommend allotting more time for the trip so you can check out the cool places you will see on the way.
The three main surfing spots on the North Shore are Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, and the Banzai Pipeline. We ended up at Waimea Bay, cause it was the easiest to find.
The North Shore!…. where are the big waves??
Turns out, the giant formidable waves I had hoped for are not a guaranteed, daily occurrence. Storm systems were not in our favor the week we were there, so the waves were smaller. Boo. Mother Nature can be so fickle. However, even with that being the case, the waves were still bigger than any I have ever seen off the coast of southern CA. The pictures absolutely do not do the waves justice. Hearing the waves break sounded like thunder, and seeing the power of the ocean was incredible and left me awestruck.
And the sunset… amazing.
For the record, I did indeed fulfill my goal of seeing a surfer in a pipeline. Successful visit to the North Shore? Heck yes!!