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North Shore Oahu Surfing: The Ultimate Guide

North Shore Oahu Surfing Spots Map


North Shore Oahu Surfing is an exciting adventure where safety, respect, and knowledge take precedence. This guide ensures your North Shore surfing experience is unforgettable and safe.


Why is North Shore so good for surfing?

North Shore surfing is globally recognized due to the clean, direct swells it receives from the North Pacific. These swells create diverse surf breaks that challenge the best surfers in the world, and at the same time, offer opportunities for beginners to find their footing.

North Shore surfing is steeped in tradition, history, and respect for the ocean. From the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing to the big wave surfing competition in honor of Eddie Aikau, North Shore is the host of some of the most prestigious events in the surfing calendar. These events are a testament to the allure of North Shore Hawaii surfing.

Additionally, the predictable surf season and favorable water temperatures allow surfers to plan their North Shore surfing trips with certainty. The direction of the swells in this region provides a unique surfing experience, which is both challenging and exciting.

Can you surf in the North Shore Hawaii?

Yes, you absolutely can surf in North Shore Hawaii! North Shore surfing caters to everyone, from professionals chasing barrels at the Banzai Pipeline to beginners learning to pop-up on their board at Puaena Point. It’s essential to be mindful of your skill level and choose the right spot for your North Shore surfing adventure.

However, it’s essential to be mindful of your skill level and choose the right spot. If you’re a beginner certain spots should be avoided consider taking some north shore surf lessons, to gain a local’s knowledge. If you are an advanced surfer without local experience consider hiring a local North Shore surf guide. They can show you all the sneaky reefs, hidden rocks, and strong currents that are part of North Shore Hawaii surfing.

North Shore Oahu Surf Spots Map

Where do surfers surf on North Shore?

There are several North Shore surfing spots, ONLY for surfers with local experience and advanced skills:

  • Haleiwa / Ali’i
  • Laniakea
  • Leftovers
  • Aligator Rock
  • Ehukai
  • Pupukea
  • Gas Chambers
  • Sunset Point
  • Monster Mush
  • Freddy Land
  • Venzyland

However, there are also  North Shore surfing beach spots that you should never consider due to their deadly dangers. These are strictly for professional surfers and include:

  • Waimea
  • Log Cabins
  • Rock Piles
  • Pipeline / Backdoor
  • Rocky Point

Can beginners surf North Shore Hawaii?

Yes, beginners can surf North Shore Hawaii. Here are beginner surf spots North Shore Oahu offers:

  • Pua’ena Point 
  • Chun’s Reef Beach

Depending on the surf school and current swell conditions, these spots are considered ideal for North Shore surfing lessons. They are tailored to the learner’s level, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment.

a girl riding a wave on a surf board on a body of water

Pua’ena Point, on the outskirts of Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore, is a favored destination for novice and intermediate surfers. It’s cherished for its sandy bottom and mellow waves, making it a safe and ideal spot for North Shore surfing lessons.

Beyond the surf, Pua’ena Point offers stunning natural beauty, with its picturesque shoreline providing a perfect backdrop for a post-surf picnic, and its waters often shared with the charming sea turtles.


a man riding a wave on top of a body of water

Chun’s Reef Beach offers an inviting North Shore surfing break characterized by long, rolling waves that break over a smooth, sand, and algae-covered rock bottom. The beach itself is idyllic, with wide white sands perfect for relaxing beach days, and frequent visits from sea turtles adding to the charm of this North Shore jewel.

What is the best month for beginners to go surfing?

The beginner spots on the North Shore are accessible all year round. It doesn’t really matter when you choose to start because either Pua’ena Point or Chun’s Reef will always deliver a manageable swell for beginners, making North Shore Hawaii surfing a year-round activity.

How big are the waves at the North Shore?

At beginner spots, you can expect waves of 2-4 feet in summer and up to 6-8 feet in winter. For the advanced spots, waves generally stay around 4-6 feet in the summer but can soar up to an incredible 30-50 feet in the winter, making North Shore surfing a thrilling experience.

What North Shore beach has the biggest waves? 

In the winter months, Waimea reigns supreme in North Shore surfing, with waves that can reach up to 50 feet. It’s a sight to behold, but it’s also lethal and only the domain of professional big wave surfers. If you’re there just to observe, it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance from the water. Waves can easily pull you in, posing significant danger. Extra care should be taken with children and pets, ensuring they are well away from the water’s reach.



What time of year is best to surf the North Shore?

For experienced surfers looking to challenge themselves with larger waves, winter from November to February is the prime time for surfing North Shore Oahu. However, beginners will find small friendly waves year around that are perfect for learning North Shore surfing.

Where is the best surfing on the North Shore?

For beginners, the best North Shore surfing spots are undoubtedly Puaena Point and Chun’s Reef, with their manageable waves and accessibility.

Advanced surfers with no local experience should consider hiring a local north shore surf guide to navigate the nuances of spots like Laniakea, Eahukai, and Freddy Land. The Banzai Pipeline, while being a celebrated North Shore surfing spot, is incredibly dangerous and strictly for professional surfers.

From knowing when to visit, where to surf based on your skill level, to understanding the significance and risks of some locations, we hope this guide helps you safely navigate the dynamic world of North Shore Oahu Surfing.

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