Oahu’s Leeward Shore – the westernmost area of Oahu – is rarely visited by vacationers, even though it’s truly beautiful. (It was used for principal filming of the 1965 movie “Hawaii.”) It’s a long drive, and there aren’t many attractions apart from the beaches themselves. The loveliest among those beaches is the isolated Makua Beach, with its long crescent of white sand fronting a deep, wide valley that’s undeveloped and uninhabited – the only coastal valley on the island without housing or development projects. Local surfers don’t go there often because the surf is unpredictable, and when the surf’s up, it’s dangerous.

While the beach is isolated, it can’t exactly be called “unspoiled.” There’s a large rock at the shoreline where adventurous surfers used to gather, peer out at the ocean and pray to the kahuna of sun, sand, and surf for waves they could handle. The term “Pray for surf” became part of the youth lexicon, and surfers used it as a bidding when they parted at night. One morning in the mid-1960s, early arrivals at the beach discovered some garish, whimsical graffiti painted on one side of the rock. It read PRAY FOR SEX. The artist was never identified.

Now, some 40 years later, the words remain, slightly weathered but unaffected by any attempts to remove them. The rock is called the “Pray for Sex” rock and Makua Beach often is referred to as “Pray for Sex Beach.”

So if you hear that characterization while you’re on Oahu, you now know where it came from and don’t need to seek it out while you’re here.

Unless you’re really horny.


  1. The artist is my brother-in-law that has recently just passed away. his name is Oluf (Jr or Octune) a local from Waianae Hi. After spending the summer as a beach bum on Waikiki he learned to tag and left for home with with his first can of paint. The result is as you know (Pray for Sex). Ollie would never have let me post this but as he has passed i figured everyone should know. This is/was his home and spent most of his childhood there on this beach.

  2. Would love to see them !! Please let us know when you scan them and if you can put us in touch with his sister it would be most appreciated!! Mahalo nui Ron,
    @Aloha Bruce

  3. Thanks for stating how dangerous the SURF is there! I lived and surfed all along the West Side and Pray for Sex scares the hell out of me! When you pass Makua Cave and see it going off! WOW!!! If lucky to make the drop, you have no choice but to get tubed, but you’re reward is NO EXIT as it closes out at the shore! INSANE!!!

  4. I lived there for 12 years,  and what I had heard was that the term  'Pray for Sex',  is a modern, loose translation of the original Hawaiian meaning,  which was much more about 'Pray for fertility',  than anything to do with surfing or erotica.  It was a Spiritual Place.

  5. The Hawaiian last name is fast disappearing. Please encourage anyone with a Hawaiian family name (Grandparents or Great Grand Parents Hawaiian last name) to add it to their last name or change it altogether. Too many Hawaiian families with non-Hawaiian names.  The first identity of your Hawaiian heritage is your features then your name. Too many Hawaiian Smith and Jones walking around and not enough Kane and Wahines. Especially important for those who are activists for the Hawaiian people.

  6. The name of the rock is “Pohaku Kula’ila’i ” named by ancient Hawaiians…. graffiti is a criminal offense…. a common criminal put those words there…. and more common criminals continue to refresh it….beautiful beach, sacred beach.. stupid people…

  7. That rock has a name…”Pohaku Kula’ila’i ” If Are a Hawaiian and u call this sacred place Pray for Sex, u are stupid. dumbest person in the world put those words up there….. dumber people continue to call it pray for sex…. seriously …….. in the year 2014 we need to “UNSTICK ourselves off of STUPID!!

  8. Thank you Leilani for giving us Hawaiian history which gives a beautiful depiction of the spirit and heritage of the aina and the precious natives of these islands.

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