Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore

Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore

Picture of Grace Towle

Grace Towle

Living on Oahu, Grace Towle knows all the best places where locals go.

The mere mention of the North Shore immediately conjures up associations of massive surf with helicopters dropping dare-devils into the water (“tow-in-surfing”). At Waimea Bay Beach, this is completely valid from the November to February months, when professional surfers are the only ones encouraged to brave the elements of 20-30 foot waves. People travel worldwide to observe the best of the best tackle the tumultuous surf conditions. 

These showcase events not only entice the pro-circuit surfers, but they have actually inspired some of popular cultures noteworthy entertainment realms like the classic Beach Boys hit, “Surfin USA“, and the epic premiere of the Emmy-winning TV series “Lost.” The alter-ego of this 2-mile stretch of sand appears when summer arrives boasting much more amenable conditions for those of us lacking the “Point Break” surfing skills. Subdued summer waters provide plenty of fun in the sun for the average athlete seeking leisure activity.

Water Sports: 

Winter months are restricted to professional surfing only: summer encourages swimming, fishing, snorkeling, body boarding and surfing for all. In the summer it is an excellent spot for swogging, we give it a 10!


Shady spots are not easy to find on this expansive stretch of sand, so it is advisable to bring an umbrella along with plenty of SPF.


Local favorites within walking distance from the beach include:

  1. Foodland (0.6 miles) which offers any and all essentials (be sure to ask for a discount card).
  2. Impossibles Pizza Foodtruck (0.6 miles) is regarded as a staple stop along the North Shore.
  3. Waimea Falls Grill (0.2 miles) serves up simple but tasty items.


The precarious surf in the winter months is the most crucial warning. Always check in with the lifeguard before venturing into the surf. Valuables are never to be left unattended.


There is a large lot, which usually fills up pretty quickly. Parking is available on the street, just be careful as drivers are usually looking at the water, not watching for pedestrians.


Eddie Aikau is a legend at Waimea Bay Beach. He was the first lifeguard to guard these shores and a life was never lost on his watch. Due to his unwavering commitment to tackle harrowing conditions of 30-foot waves, the phrase was coined, “Eddie Would Go.” Sadly his life was lost at sea after his canoe capsized. Today, the surfing world honors this legend with the annual Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational.

What does it mean? 

Waimea means reddish water or water reddish if you want to translate in order. Across the street from Waimea Bay is the famous Waimea falls hike, these waters from the mountain come down to the beach and create a brackish pond.

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