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- The heaviest, most reliable waves in the world
- Legendary Surf Culture
- Dreamlike surroundings
- Dangerous conditions
- Not beginner friendly
- Quite expensive
North shore of Oahu, Hawai’i… Just that first sentence should have sent most of the surf interested minds into a state of daydreaming mode. Imagine azurblue waves rising rhythmically from the oceanfloor, towering towards the clear sunfilled sky, moving towards the shore constantly growing in size until they peak in a display of pure power, leaving the spectators gasping for air.
Oahu NorthShore faces north-west, and consists of seven miles of legendary surf spots from Hale’iwa in the south, to Velzyland in the north. And if you consider these as the bottom and the top layer of the cake, you are in for a gastronomic experience when we take a look at the middle layers. With ingredients such as Waimea Bay, Pipeline & Backdoor, Rocky Point and Sunset, even the most spoiled feinschmecker’s tastebuds should be left feeling completely satisfied. Similar to the feeling you have after eating a whole bowl of almas or beluga caviar... you know how it is.
The surf zone is known for its fantastically strong waves, which come crashing in from the North Pacific. The waves can change from 2ft to 15ft within hours, depending on the swell direction. Western swells are the most ideal conditions for the North Shore, as it tends to generate cleaner sets compared to north or north-eastern swell.
October to March is considered to be the high season in Oahu, with 10-30ft swell thundering in consistently from the mighty North Pacific, with wave periods of approximately 15-20 seconds. It is a well-known fact that professional surfers travel to Hawai’i in the months November to January, leaving the less experienced surfers out in the line-up hungry for waves. In contrast, from April to September the wave conditions at the North Shore are generally flat. This time of year surfers generally seek refuge on other sides of the island, where NE windswell and SE-SW summer groundswell can be found quite frequently, often resulting in waves up to 8ft.
Waimea Bay, to say that this big wave surf spot is legendary would be one of the greatest understatements of all time. For over 40 years it has set the standards for big wave surfing, having helped shape and progress it into its modern form. It consists mainly of outer reef tow-in breaks, generating a heavy 20-25ft (6.6-8.3m) swell, which is sure to scare of even some of the more experienced surfers. Even the legendary Beach Boys pay their credits to WaimeaBay in “Surfin’ USA” in the fourth verse…
It should be said that the weather and temperature in Hawai’i are some of the most predictable in the whole world. Day and night, summer to winter, the temperature holds a perfect 25’c, plus minus. The water also holds approximately 24’c the whole year through, leaving you with perfect surfing conditions.
One thing though before you pack your bags, a three month visa is needed for most nationalities. So, be sure to plan ahead. You do not want anything coming between you and your romantic date with that 25ft killer wave in Waimea Bay now, do you? Another practicality is that there is only one hotel on the North Shore, the Turtle Bay Hilton ($150/double room). However, most people and surfers like to stay at the more economically priced Waimea Backpackers ($25/night) or B&B’s in Hale’iwa ($20/night). Surfers are the main tourist group here, so the prices have acclimatized over the years leaving food prices quite high.
Hope to see you in the magical blue stuff outside Hale-iwa some day.
Aloha nui loa. ...·¨¯(_....
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