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Exploring Hawaii's Best Surfing Spots In The Triple Crown
Exploring Hawaii
written by Rodrigo Diniz

on October 14, 2023

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii and seeking the ultimate surfing adventure? Did you know that Oahu's North Shore is home to some of the world's most legendary surfing spots such as Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, and Banzai Pipeline?

In this article, we will guide you through these iconic locations in what's known as 'The Triple Crown' of surfing hotspots.Stay tuned if riding the wave of your life sounds like paradise!

  Key Takeaways

  • Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing started by the Polynesians in the 12th century.
  • Oahu's North Shore houses top surf sites like Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay.
  • Stand - up paddle boarding, snorkeling and SCUBA diving are fun water things to do in Oahu.
  • It's best to visit Oahu from November to February for great waves and big surf contests.
  • Always think about safety when surfing on these powerful Hawaiian waters.
  • The North Shore has lots of places for you to stay or eat while enjoying your trip.

The History and Significance of Surfing in Hawaii

Surfing in Hawaii is more than a sport; it's an essential part of the culture, deeply rooted in ancient traditions and history, earning Hawaii its reputation as the birthplace of surfing.

Surfing Like Ancients
The history of surfing in Hawaii dates back centuries and continues to be a popular activity in the islands. California surfers introduced big-wave surfing to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 1950s.

Surfing Like Ancients

Surfing took root in Hawaii. It is a big part of its past. The Polynesians started wave riding long ago, around the 12th century. These are the ancients who began this ocean sport! Cave paintings here even show them surfing.

This fun water activity was an old custom for these indigenous people. Today, we still surf like them and keep their tradition alive! Enjoy being part of this ancient Hawaiian culture when you hit the waves in Hawaii!

The History of Surfing

Surfing started in Hawaii long ago. People can see its roots in the old times of Polynesia. The people living there showed great skill at this fun sport. They would spin on their boards as they caught a wave.

In the late 1950s, surfers from California brought big-wave surfing to Hawaii. This new type of riding wave made surfing even more exciting in Hawaiian waters. Today, the way these early surfers rode waves still shapes how people surf now.

The Best Surf Breaks on Oahu's North Shore

Known for its world-class waves, Oahu's North Shore is home to Hawaii's most iconic surf breaks - Sunset Beach with its powerful and daunting waves ideal for experienced surfers, Banzai Pipeline offering an intense challenge even for professional surfers due to its hollow tubes, and Waimea Bay which transforms into a surfer's paradise during the winter season with swells reaching epic proportions.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a top pick for big wave surfing. Found on Oahu's North Shore, it once was the ultimate test for surfers from the 1950s up to the 1980s. The renowned Triple Crown Surfing Contest happens here every year.

It's one of three places where this exciting contest takes place. Along with Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach is one of Oahu's best surfing spots. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing also calls Sunset Beach home.

This event brings some of the world's finest surfers together in a prestigious competition.

Banzai Pipeline

The Banzai Pipeline is a top surfing spot in Hawaii. It sits on the north shore of Oahu at Ehukai Beach Park. This left-hand break has some of the toughest waves in the world, perfect for brave surfers.

People love the Pipeline because it forms perfect barrels close to shore. But be careful! The waves crash onto a shallow reef. Some days, these big waves can reach up to 30 feet high!

Waimea Bay

Waimea Bay is a must-see place in Haleiwa. Big waves rule this bay, some reaching up to 50 feet tall! This makes Waimea Bay special and sacred for surfers. They love the thrill of riding these massive waves that few other bays can handle.

This bay also hosts exciting surfing games like "The Eddie". It has turned Waimea Bay into a hotspot for surf fans. If watching professional surfers ride giant waves sounds fun, then you should come visit!

Surfing Like Ancients in Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is located in Haleiwa, at the mouth of the Waimea River, and it's considered sacred in the surf community due to its ability to hold such massive waves.

Other Surfing Activities on Oahu

Aside from traditional surfing, Oahu offers a variety of other water activities for adventure seekers - explore the vibrant underwater world through snorkeling and SCUBA diving, or try your balance with stand-up paddle boarding in Hanauma Bay.

Snorkeling and SCUBA

Snorkeling and SCUBA diving in Oahu are fun things to do. Clear blue waters let you see fish and coral reefs up close. You can try these at almost 100 dive sites on this island. Popular spots for snorkeling include Hanauma Bay and Sharks Cove.

Remember, you need special gear for both snorkeling and scuba diving! So, get your gear ready to swim with the fish. This way, you get a chance to view over 1,200 miles of coral reef around Hawaii's islands.

Dive into this ocean adventure with us!

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Oahu is a hot spot for stand-up paddle boarding. This fun water sport draws both locals and tourists. Big waves roll in on the north shore, giving thrill-seekers an exciting ride. Waikiki too offers great SUP adventures.

Many find joy in renting a paddle board and heading out onto the blue Hawaii waters. Though born in Maui, this sport has a rich history all over the world! Whether you're new or skilled at it, Oahu's beaches will give you an unforgettable experience with stand-up paddle boarding!

Tips for Exploring the North Shore of Oahu

Plan to visit between November and February for the best surf conditions; immerse yourself in surfing culture by attending competitions like the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing; prioritize safety by staying within your skill level and always checking wave conditions; explore other activities such as hiking, and local food tasting; finally, choose accommodations close to your preferred surf break while considering dining options that suit your palette.

Best time to visit

Surfing is best on Oahu's North Shore from November to February. Summer months like July, August, and September are warm but big wave season begins in October and lasts until April at Sunset Beach.

This beach is the top spot for surf enthusiasts looking for large waves. The weather conditions can change fast during this peak time so always stay alert. In case you plan a visit in November, get ready to ride some of the greatest waves hitting the north shores of Oahu!

Surfing competitions and events

Peak winter months turn North Shore into a surfing hub. World-class competitions such as The Vans Pipe Masters and The Billabong Pipe Masters take place here. Over seven miles of coastline is home to the best surfing spots in Hawaii.

One prominent event, the annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing lures in large crowds. This contest has three events at different North Shore beaches and takes about two weeks to finish.

Safety tips for surfing

Going out to surf in Hawaii is fun. But you need to be safe too. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. Learn about surfing rules: Surfing etiquette is key. Avoid taking the first wave or set.
  2. Save your power: Paddle hard to catch a wave but take breaks too. This helps save your energy for more waves.
  3. Know the surf spot: Before hitting the water, spend time learning about the surf spot.
  4. Leave big waves for pros: The North Shore of Oahu has huge waves perfect for professional surfers only.
  5. Watch out for hazards at Banzai Pipeline: This area can have sharp, shallow reefs and dangerous waves in winter times.
  6. Enjoy multiple breaks: Oahu's coastline lets you try different types of surf breaks all in one go.

Other activities to try at the North Shore of Oahu
While Waimea Bay is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and cliff jumping during the summer months, its breathtaking sunsets are an unmissable spectacle.

Other activities to try in the area

You will find many fun things to do while visiting Hawaii. Here are some of the activities you can try apart from surfing:

  1. Enjoy beach activities. You can play volleyball, build sandcastles, or just relax under the sun.
  2. Try out different water sports. Kayaking, jet skiing, and windsurfing are all exciting options.
  3. Go on an outdoor adventure. Hiking and biking trails offer scenic views of the Hawaiian landscape.
  4. Explore the coast. This can be done on foot, by bike, or even by horseback.
  5. Visit scenic spots for a picnic or photo session. Hawaii's natural beauty is perfect for capturing memorable moments.
  6. Plan nature excursions to enjoy Hawaii's rich flora and fauna.
  7. Experience cliff diving at Waimea Bay during the summer months.
  8. Snorkel in clear waters teeming with tropical fish.
  9. Scout diving spots for an underwater adventure.
  10. Attend one of many surfing contests held at Sunset Beach in winter.

Accommodations and dining options.

The North Shore of Oahu blooms with many places to stay and eat.

  • Lodging Options: You find luxury resorts for a plush stay. There are also budget-friendly options for those watching their wallets.
  • Places to Stay: Enjoy beachfront homes that give you direct access to the sea. Many tourists like local guest houses too.
  • Affordable Accommodations: There are low-cost hotels and inns around the area. Some travelers even rent local homes for a more home-like feel.
  • Dining Establishments: Culinary choices here range wide. You get everything from farm-to-table spots to vintage eateries.
  • Restaurant Choices: Dine at popular seafood joints or try out Hawaiian cuisine at local bistros. Bakeries and cafes here offer quick bites on the go.
  • Culinary Options: Food trucks and open markets offer fresh, affordable meals. Local fruits and snacks are a must-try too.


Surfing in Hawaii offers the best. You will have fun. See great spots like Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach. This is where you learn, see pros surf, and join cool events. Come, ride waves at these world-class beaches!


1. What is the Triple Crown in Hawaii?

The Triple Crown in Hawaii is a series of three professional surfing contests held on the North Shore of Oahu every year.

2. Where are these surfing spots located?

These top-rate surfing spots are located at Haleiwa, Sunset Beach, and Banzai Pipeline all on Oahu's North Shore.

3. What time of the year is best for surfing?

The best time for surfing in Hawaii, particularly during the Triple Crown event, is from November to December.

4. Are these surf sites suitable for beginners?

No, due to high waves and strong currents, these surf spots are better suited for seasoned or professional surfers.

5. Can I watch the Triple Crown events if I'm not participating?

Yes! You can join thousands who gather along the shorelines to enjoy watching some of the world's top surfers ride giant waves.