For many of us over thirty, the opening scene of the original television show, Hawaii 5-0 – a massive, perfectly rolling wave breaking to the Venture’s famous soundtrack comes to mind when we think of surfing in Hawaii. Ever wonder where these classic clips were filmed? You guessed it, Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu.
For those who prefer to admire such oceanic brilliance from the safe distance of the shore and this is highly recommended during the peak winter months dominated by unprecedented force, this beach will not disappoint. Only the bravest (and most talented) surfers are found tackling the elements of the Pipeline at its prime. And unfortunately, over the years, these waters have taken more lives than any other surf spot. But just like the other beaches surrounding the Banzai Pipeline, when summer rolls around, a sense of tranquility takes over this part of the sea. Regardless of the season, the Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park will leave an indelible mark.
Here’s our guide to enjoying the beach:
Expert-only surfing during the winter (Nov-Feb); but come late spring, bring your snorkeling gear as the conditions to explore the under water wonders are rivaled by few spots on the island. Check the surf forecast before going.
Unlike many of the long stretches of sand along these shores, you can find a great reprieve from the sun with a nice tree-shaded grassy retreat.
Directions and Parking
When plugging in your Google maps location, search under Sunset Beach Elementary, as signs are somewhat scarce. Parking is limited, so a small walk might be required to hit this destination.
If you enjoy hiking, follow the path for the Ehukai Pillbox Hike just across from the beach. Not only are the views breathtaking, but your 30-minute adventure will land you at the top hillside ridge which is where two military bunkers from World War II still stand.
If you enjoy surfing competitions, there are many held in the winter months at Banzai Pipeline including: Pipe Masters, Volcom PipePro, IBA Pipeline Pro and the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic.
What's in a Name
Back in 1961, when famed surfing movie producer, Bruce Brown, was in making a movie at Banzai Beach, there was one very obvious feature of the construction project on Kamehameha Highway that was hard to ignore – an underground pipeline. Decades later, this oddly practical nickname has stuck, and today, Banazi Pipeline is known to surfers around the world.