Turtle Bay Resort is a luxury resort located on the North Shore of Hawaii's main Oahu Island. The area has some of the most famous surf breaks in the area with Sunset and Pipeline just down the road.
From 552 pp for 7 Nights
Hawaii and North America Overview
Surfing was first documented here in 1779 but Polynesian people had been surfing here since 400AD. Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing. Initially a sport reserved for royalty, the ancients would move from their winter homes on the north shore, to their summer retreats in the south of the islands to pick up the best waves all year round. Surfing was popularised by Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku in the 1920s, whose statue can be found on Waikiki's waterfront.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island are the six main islands that create Hawaii and each has its own distinct individuality that entices people for anything from the ultimate honeymoon, to adventure activities, or amazing shopping. You have not made it as a world-class surfer if you have not made it to the North Shore. Look in any international surfing magazine and it will not take you too long to find a picture of a Hawaiian wave. It is a place truly blessed with top quality waves and swell.
Hawaii receives numerous swells from October to March, generated from deep low pressure systems tracking across the North Pacific. The swells can be anywhere in the region of 10-30ft - big surf!
Unfortunately due to the surf size and the localism, a surf trip to Hawaii might be better spent away from the North Shore and there is no shortage of spots and less crowding elsewhere. The other side of the island gets frequent 3-8ft waves so you will not be missing out trying out other lesser-known breaks. If you are keen for the North Shore, stay at Turtle Bay Resort so you can paddle out with their surf guide.
If you are travelling with a non-surfing partner or your family, and want to be closer to the 'non-surf' action, it’s best to stay in Waikiki. Here there are plenty of tourist activities and amazing shopping to amuse your travelling companions. You can find surf at the local beaches or hire a car and go cruising the coast. For beginners, there’s no shortage of Learn to Surf operations in the main areas of most of the islands. More people learn to surf on Waikiki's beach than anywhere else in the world.
The United States of America comprises of 50 states and a federal district. It is situated between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and is bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. At nearly 10 million sq. kms and with about 308 million people, the United States is the 3rd largest country by total area and population. The United States of America is a land of multi-cultural diversity which has something for everyone. There are deserts, mountainous national parks, Alps that will entice you to ski and snowboard, and of course, running down the west coast, is the Pacific Ocean hitting onto some of the world’s best surf spots. The United States is home to some of the most influential surfers ever, including Laird Hamilton famous for his jaw dropping big wave surfing; and Kelly Slater - the 11 times world surfing champion who has got to be the famous surfer in the world.
California, down the west coast of the country, is generally the most popular place for travelling surfers to visit. Southern California is the best area to find surf on this massive coastline, with warmer water, and the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego offering many activities for non-surfing partners.
Central California is less commercialised, but the water is colder and the waves are heavier. There are lots of places to surf between Santa Barbara and San Francisco, but don’t forget to bring your wetsuit.
Northern California is greyer than the sunnier southern areas, sharks and really cold water rule in the north but if you’re a dedicated surfer you can find some good surf.
The swell that rolls into these islands comes from the intense low pressure systems that circle the earth south of Australia, blessing the islands with a generous SE to SW groundswell (March to September). Hawaii also experiences some of the most consistent trade winds (South Pacific Trade Winds) generally from the east with slight variations. The North Pacific delivers some intense lows that send in NE to NW swells (October to March). This puts these islands in the perfect position to make use of the swells with perfectly formed bays, banks and reefs set up and waiting for you.
Oahu from October through to March is renowned for its monstrous waves and has hosted many world surfing championships. Travelling surfers are attracted to Haleiwa, one of the surf capitals of the world and the gateway to Oahu’s famous North Shore breaks. Along the 10km stretch of beach, there are around 40 surf breaks including Sunset Beach, Waimea and Banzai Pipeline - without a doubt the best known break in the world. For beginners, head down to Waikiki Beach where you will find some of the easiest beach breaks to get your first ride.
Consistency on Kauai is awesome for beginners and you can find reliable waves on the south coast at Poipu, which is fortunately protected for the majority of the year. But watch out for the winter months when the big swells hit, as even the most experienced surfers will be challenged.
Hawaii or the ‘Big Island’ is not as well known for its breaks however there are some excellent breaks at Waipio on the north coast and Papeekeo just north of Hilo on the east coast. There are scattered breaks around Keauhopu, south of Kailua, which will also keep you entertained for a while.
In Maui, the best spots for surfing are off the north shore between Hookipa Beach and Baldwin Park (summer surfing is good) and Napili Bay. Beginners will find Kealia Beach in Kihei (west coast) a great place to learn. Winds pick up in the afternoon so if you are not experienced, go early. Body surfing is good at Lahaina harbour.
North Shore Breaks:
South Shore and Waikiki Breaks:
USA - Surf Breaks
California - Along its 1700kms of coastline lie three distinct surf regions: Southern, Central, and Northern California. All three areas catch swells all year around but autumn, winter and spring are the most consistent seasons. With the Pacific Ocean running down the western side of the country, California is a swell magnet with four different swell zones heading straight for the shores from the massive expanse of ocean. Also benefiting from the Aleutian lows that bring the big waves through to Hawaii, the Californian shoreline can expect massive, well-shaped, powerful breaks from October through to February.
The hurricane swells near Mexico, push the swell north onto the shores of Southern California. During June to August (summer) the consistent wind swell in the north Pacific, and Santa Ana’s strong winds blowing straight offshore, make almost perfect conditions.
The best known area for surf in the US is Trestles - due to competitions held there, and mainly known for its Lower Trestles point break which is one of the most consistent breaks in the nation. Other renowned beaches in Southern California include Rincon, home of a legendary and flawless right hand point break, Malibu Beach, Huntington Beach, and Black’s Beach in San Diego County.
Santa Barbara breaks:
Los Angeles Breaks:
San Diego Breaks:
With two distinct seasons, big wave season hits the north shores of all islands from November to April and is produced from the winter storms around Alaska. As there is no land mass between the continent and the islands, the waves grow in strength along their 5000km journey. By summer, the north shore goes flat, and swell picks up on the south shores.
Tropical storms around the south pacific send the swell north in the summer, reaching the exposed southern shores from May until October. These waves are not as intense as the winter waves that hit the north shores, but the south coast of Oahu (including Waikiki Beach) and Kauai (Poipu Beach) have particularly favourable conditions for surfing.
Summer temperatures are usually around 25-29°C, with June and July being the driest months. During the winter, the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler, with north westerly winds. Temperatures range from approximately 23-26°C and drop another 10° after the sun goes down.
Being one of the biggest countries in the world, the US also has various climates depending on where you are. California, the most popular destination for surfers in the US, is blessed with warm dry summers. LA County is situated in what is called a ‘Mediterranean’ climate. This type of climate experiences mild reasonably wet winters and warm to hot, mildly humid summers. The weather is generally dry all year round, but can get cool in the winter. Breezes from the Pacific Ocean keep the beach communities cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
South of LA gets slightly warmer temperatures as you get closer to the equator, and north of LA gets colder.