If planning a trip to Oahu has you dreaming of riding some of the most photographed waves in the world, you’re not alone. Oahu is a top surf destination, with world-class waves that attract surfers from around the world.
As the birthplace of surfing, Oahu boasts the best surfing in Hawaii and a culture where surfing is deeply ingrained. There are hundreds of surf spots across the island, with excellent surfing for all levels throughout the year. Whether you’re an expert surfer, can’t wait to take your first lesson, or just want to find the best spots for spectating, these are some of the best places to surf in Oahu. And they’re all under an hour from Hale ‘Oli ‘Oli, a luxurious six-bedroom Kailua villa that’s nothing short of spectacular.
Where to Stay for Oahu Surfing
Surf in Oahu by day, dream of surfing in Oahu by night at Hale ‘Oli ‘Oli. With surfboards artistically adorning the ceiling in this serene luxury villa, the design is any surfer’s dream. And with six amazing bedroom suites, a gourmet kitchen, a beautifully-designed private pool, a serene lanai, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Hale ‘Oli ‘Oli is the ultimate retreat after catching waves at Oahu’s best surf spots.
The Best Places to Surf in Oahu – North Shore
The North Shore of Oahu is known for big waves and professional surf competitions along its seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches – nicknamed the Seven Mile Miracle. Heavy-duty breaks attract expert surfers from around the world to the most popular surf spots in Oahu.
If your surf skills aren’t quite advanced, some of these Oahu surf spots are also perfect for a day of fun spectating. Watching expert surfers show off their skills can be seriously exhilarating!
Just 45 minutes to an hour from your haven at Hale ‘Oli ‘Oli, these North Shore beaches are worth a visit for some serious surfing.
Haleiwa Beach Park
Haleiwa is one of the best Oahu surf spots. With big waves breaking over a shallow reef and fast-breaking sections, this spot is perfect for experienced surfers who want to hone their high-performance techniques. In fact, if you visit in the winter, you may see some well-known surfers refining their skills. In the summer, when the waves are smaller on the North Shore, it can be a little less intimidating and easier to make your way out in the water.
Pua’ena Point Beach Park
While most of the North Shore can be classified as expert-only, Pua’ena Point Beach Park is one of the few Oahu surf spots on the North Shore that is beginner friendly. Because of the protected cove, there are smaller breaks and mellow waves, making it a popular spot for surf lessons. While it can be very popular during weekends and holidays, it’s less crowded than Waikiki, making it a great North Shore Oahu surf spot for beginners.
One of the most well-known Oahu surf spots is Sunset Beach, with one of the longest stretches of rideable surf in the world. In the winter, Sunset Beach boasts massive, challenging waves that are thrilling for experienced surfers. It’s actually a prime location for Triple Crown Surfing Content, and because surfers are closer to shore, it’s a great spot to watch big-wave surfers. In the summer, the water is calmer and ideal for surfing, and the wide sandy beach is perfect for families.
Another North Shore Oahu surf spot that’s great for spectating is Waimea Bay. This deepwater big wave spot is thrilling for experts and spectators alike. In the winter, the swells are their biggest. And when they consistently reach 20 feet, you’ll find surfing legends showcasing high-performance surfing in the annual Eddie Would Go contest (Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational), held every year in Waimea Bay in honor of legendary surfer Eddie Aikuau. In the summer, the waves flatten out and it’s the perfect spot for families.
One of the best surfing spots in Oahu is Banzai Pipeline, a world-famous surf spot that’s downright dangerous in the winter. With a sharp, shallow reef, huge, hazardous waves, and heavy barrels, it’s an expert-only surf spot. But watching the big-wave surfers close to shore is thrilling too – you’ll see lots of photographers lined up on shore to get the perfect shot of the world’s best barrel riders chasing picturesque waves.
Also along the North Shore, you’ll find Ehukai Beach, a little stretch of beach right next to the Pipeline. In this challenging spot, you’ll find experienced thrill-seekers catching waves that can be more than 30 feet high.
Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach
With waves up to 25 feet high in the winter months, Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach features dangerous rip tides and currents. The nature of this Oahu surf spot makes it an arena for high-performance surfing and a dream for thrill seekers. In the calmer summer months, this beach is great for families.
Best Places to Surf in Oahu – South Shore
Along Oahu’s southern shoreline, you’ll find plenty of beginner-friendly surf culture and smaller surf near Honolulu and Waikiki. With more of a city feel than the North Shore, Oahu’s south shore has so much to explore.
Between surf lessons, you can sample local Hawaiian cuisine, stroll through fun shops, and enjoy pristine beaches. From Hale ‘Oli ‘Oli, the best Oahu surf spots on the south shore are within a twenty- to thirty-minute drive, making them not only more accessible for beginner surfing but also a more accessible drive.
If you’re looking for a surfer’s paradise on the south shore of Oahu, Waikiki is it. An incredibly popular beach right in the heart of Honolulu, you’ll share the waves with many visitors who are taking advantage of the numerous surf schools and surf stands that line the sand. With beautiful blue water and plenty of surf breaks, Waikiki is known for consistent, leisurely waves perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. Plus, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city while you wait for the perfect wave. One of Waikiki’s most popular beginner surf spots is Canoes, where you’ll enjoy long rides and have fewer concerns about falling with a reef that’s deep underwater.
A little less populated and more peaceful than Waikiki, Diamond Head is one of the best spots for surfing in Oahu. Located in the foothills of Diamond Head, the crater of an extinct cone volcano, it offers unparalleled scenery. The pristine surrounding natural beauty coupled with an epic view from the Cliffs break makes surfing off of Diamond Head quite an enjoyable experience. With long gentle waves and deep waters, Diamond Head features great beginner to intermediate surfing. And for a bit more of a challenge, Lighthouse (near the Diamond Head Lighthouse) is a break with faster waves and shallower water.
One of the closest surf spots to Hale ‘Oli ‘Oli (just 11 miles) is Makapu’u Beach. This spot next to Sandy Beach (another popular but dangerous surf spot) is popular for hikes up to the Makapu’u Lighthouse. After visiting the lighthouse, enjoy the pristine sandy beach and its cove-like bay. With an exposed break that gets consistent surf year-round, Makapu’u is a prime surfing spot, and it’s one of the most well-known bodysurfing spots in Hawaii. While it is extremely popular, there can be strong currents, so always proceed with caution.
Surfing in Oahu with Cuvée
One with the ocean, you patiently wait for the perfect wave. The sunshine, the sparkling blue water, and a sense of peace mixed with excitement. When you pop up on the board, there is nothing like the rush and exhilaration of riding back to shore. Whether you’re chasing your biggest wave yet, just getting started, or looking to watch the biggest names in surfing do their thing, allow Cuvée to curate your ideal Oahu surf experience for a Hawaiian vacation you’ll never forget.