You can’t miss “The Wall” in Waikiki. It’s almost as prominent as the Duke statue a couple blocks west on Kalakaua and protrudes into offshore waters as a pier-like structure. Daily, tourists shuffle through the sandy walkway for the picture-perfect vantage point and the glassy, reef barrels below as dare devils of all ages take a plunge from the 8-foot wall, timing their jumps perfectly with the swelling ocean waves.
The Wall extends into the ocean and borders the saltwater swim areas.
There’s definitely a trend here; people in Hawaii love jumping off of things – waterfalls, sea cliffs, seawalls, rocks. But that doesn’t mean it’s always safe or legal; in fact, many people have been paralyzed after jumping from this wall despite signs prohibiting jumping or climbing. Please think twice before mimicking the locals and use caution in anything you do here!
Built in 1951 as part of a Waikiki Beach improvement project, the Wall was originally called the Kapahulu Groin and served as an extension of a storm drain that runs beneath Kapahulu Avenue. Around the same time, the city also transported 100,000 cubic yards of sand from Waimanalo to create the manmade beaches on both sides of the wall. Lower seawalls running perpendicular to the Wall form saltwater pools and have become popular for families with children. No matter the ocean conditions outside of the barricaded pools, they can enjoy calm conditions for swimming and snorkeling.
Checking out the action in the shallow waters below.
Today it’s more commonly called “Walls” and can get overcrowded pretty easily, especially during the popular Sunset on the Beach event held on the adjacent Kuhio Beach. For the best views, people huddle under the sheltered pavilion at the end of the Wall or watch the big-screen movies from along the raised stretch of cement.
But nothing beats the panoramic view right behind them – fiery skies at dusk as the sun sinks deeper into the golden seas. That’s something you definitely won’t find anywhere else but in the heart of Waikiki!
Photo Credit (second): Kelci Renshaw
WAIKIKI WALLS • Located where Kapahulu & Kalakaua Aves. meet • Parking at the Honolulu Zoo or Kapiolani Park
Posted by: Bruce Fisher on May 3, 2012