Surf’s Up: Chasing Waves on O‘ahu

Gliding across the ocean on a surfboard is an exhilarating experience and one that’s highly recommended during your stay on O‘ahu. Surfing is a beloved activity in Hawai‘i, where the Pacific makes a bold statement with its consistently rolling waves. The year-round warm weather and ideal water temperatures make Hawai‘i a world-renowned locale for surfing. It’s the reason so many people uproot their lives to move to the Islands and why several surf competitions like “Pipe Masters” are held in Hawaiian waters at famous spots such as Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of O‘ahu.

“Wave sliding” dates back thousands of years throughout Oceania. The water sport stretched across communities in many regions, but gained notoriety in Polynesia, and more specifically Hawai‘i. Surfing is steeped in ancient Hawaiian history and was an esteemed activity once reserved for ali‘i (royalty).

In ancient Hawai‘i, surfing, or he‘e nalu, was enjoyed by men and women of all ages as a recreational, social and competitive activity. It was also spiritual — rituals were conducted such as wave chanting and paying homage to the ocean prior to a surf session. Another ceremonial practice included the shaping and carving of the wooden boards, which were made from trees such as koa and breadfruit.

Now visitors from around the world can gain a glimpse into the power of this ancient sport and its intimate and intangible connection to the Islands. And you’re in luck because O‘ahu is known for having some of the most ideal waves across the state.

The best spots for surfing are technically only known to locals, so if you really want to experience the finest advanced surf that O‘ahu has to offer, you must befriend kama‘aina (Hawai‘i residents).

Waikiki Beach is great for beginners and has easily accessible, gently rolling waves. What’s great about this South Shore locale is that there are several surf schools along the vast stretch of beach that offer private or groups lessons where a professional can help you learn the tricks of the trade. You’ll receive instruction on everything from how to stand up on the board and at what moment to start paddling in order to catch a wave heading in your direction.

Remember to always be aware of your surroundings and to be kind and courteous to everyone else chasing the same epic waves. Grab a board and get ready to experience the full force of the ocean and a thrilling ride unlike any other.

Photo by Shutterstock


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