The Ultimate North Shore Surfing Guide

Oahu’s North Shore surfing is some of the best in the world.

The clean and massive winter waves of this surf spot attracts surfers from all around the world.

No matter, if you're just beginning or aren't a professional surfer, there are still fun smaller waves in the summer.

North Shore surfing beach stretches for more than 7 miles.

Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach are perfect if you're exploring North Shore surfing for the first time, just want to fry in the sun, or walk the shore.

During November through February, North Shore surfing will only be for the most advanced surfers.

No worries, if you're not advanced, you can enjoy watching some legendary big wave surfing.

The large waves can get up to thirty feet. Interestingly, no matter the dangers North Shore surfing exhibits during these times, there will always be surfers facing these challenging waves.

During May through September, the waves calm down, creating a more peaceful atmosphere for less experienced surfers and those who just want to wade around in the water.

Only just a one hour drive from Waikiki, the North Shore has a huge variety of options for hotels.

From budget-friendly to extremely nice resorts.

When you're not checking out North Shore or surfing, most people drive down to check out Haleiwa Town.

In Haleiwa town you can shop local, or eat classic Hawaiian food options.

If you continue past Haleiwa to Laie, you can check out the Polynesian Cultural Center and the historical plantation town of Kahuku.

Regions of Oahu

  • Oahu
  • Honolulu
  • Central Oahu
  • Leeward Coast
  • North Shore
  • Windward Coast

North Shore Highlights

Haleiwa Town
Haleiwa is a chill surfer town with friendly  beaches, local restaurants, and classic food trucks.

Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is also an influential surf spot during the dawn of big wave surfing in the 1950s.

North Shore surfing competition

Vans Triple Crown
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is an elite surf competition title in the surf industry.

Especially for North Shore surfing locals due to the fact the surf competition takes place on their home surf break.

Vans Pro
The Vans Pro is a surfing competition in North Shore.

Attracting some of the best surfers (locally and from around the world).

The Vans pro is where North Shore surfing is the spot for surfers to qualify for their coveted spot on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition.

With over 100+ surfers competing, this competition is something you should watch if you're there in person.

Hawaiian Pro
The Hawaiian Pro is the first precursor event of the Vans Triple Crown.

Located at Ali’i Beach Park to the west of the boat harbor in Haleiwa.

Haleiwa is a where many surfers start their professional surfing careers.

Vans World Cup of Surfing
For the second competition of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the crew heads back to Sunset Beach for the Vans World Cup of Surfing.

By this event, all the pros are well warmed up from the previous two events and extra fired up to finish their last two events strong which makes for some exciting heats.

Billabong Pipes Masters
The final part of the Vans Triple Crown is at Banzai Pipeline.

This event is the final event of the World Surf League Championship Tour.

The Eddie Big Wave Invitational
Named after Eddie Aikau ,‘The Eddie’, is a big wave invitational surf contest.

Eddie is North Shore surfing lifeguard who sought out some of the biggest waves.

North Shore Surfing Oahu

Oahu has one main airport, Honolulu (HNL).

Honolulu is considered “Town” while the North Shore is considered “Country”.

Town is about a 30-minute drive from the North Shore.

It's usually a good Idea to rent a car at the airport.

Unfortunately, ride shares like Uber and Lyft are around $100 USD one way.

There is a fairly decent bus system but surfboards are not allowed on the bus. 🙁

North Shore surfing for none advanced surfers is best around the months of Spetember, October, March, and Apric.

It's also a lot less crowded.

Along with better prices on lodging. Keep in mind, if there is no swell on the North Shore, go to Town and find alternative North Shore surfing there.

It’s hard to get skunked on a surf trip to Oahu.

North Shore Waves Hawaii

Pipe/Backdoor & Rocky Point are usually crowded.

These North Shore surfing breaks are best avoided.

At nearby Backyards, you can score Indo-style waves with manageable crowds, if lucky.

While spots like Kammies and V-Land, timed right, can offer legit Hawaiian surf experiences without the masses.

When To Surf

The best thing about a North Shore surfing trip is the chance to all day long.

Especially if you’re staying on the beach side of Kam Hwy.

Logistically, there’re no other convenient option with having more accessible breaks.

Regular checks can allow you to slip in and out in between crowd peaks, with the constant perfect temperature only further facilitating multiple shreds.

The whether is always nice, it’s never cold, it’s always the perfect temperature for surfing, all day.

North Shore Oahu surfing lessons

North Shore Surf School

Providing beginner, intermediate and advanced surfing and stand up paddle lessons to all ages and experiences.

They are one of the only locally owned and operated surf schools on the north shore.

Promising to give you the best lesson possible.

As all the instructors being local born and raised in Hawaii with lifelong knowledge of our oceans who specialize in teaching surfing and who are also all up to date with lifeguard/CPR training.

North Shore Surf School’s head instructor and founder Kala Grace grew up surfing the north shore and has been teaching since the age of 15.

Kala comes from a long line of professional surfers with his uncle Derek Ho actually being the first Hawaiian world champ ever in 1993 and uncle Michael ho winning many events on the north shore like the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and Pipeline Masters.

Kala’s goal is to share his love and passion of surfing through teaching and making sure you get the best experience possible.