The Different Sides of North Shore Oahu

It’s amazing how much Oahu’s North Shore changes in just a few months. As we transition from summer to autumn, Hawaii’s weather remains as perfect as ever, but the ocean on the North Shore? It’s just beginning to awaken from its seasonal slumber.

Big-wave surfers start getting pumped for some fun in the country sun. Even tourists and townies head North to enjoy the monster surf show. In August, I wrote about my snorkeling adventure at Sharks Cove. The calm crystal waters look nothing like that now. This weekend, the first sizable swell rolled through, sending 15-foot-faces (advisory-level) to the Cove and everywhere else on north-facing shores.

It can be awesome for experienced surfers but at the same time, very dangerous. I’m writing this from Pupukea Beach and kid you not, within the hour before sunset, the waves jacked up in size – from three feet to six. And there’s just no telling when a swell will arrive and how big. It’s one of the main reasons why those unexperienced shouldn’t risk it. Even I wouldn’t dare paddle out into an advisory-level swell. I’d say it’s better to watch from shore than put yourself in danger.

You might want to check out the shops and eateries in Haleiwa or Pupukea for more fun and good local finds. That, of course, would be after enjoying the big-wave show and basking in the Hawaiian sunshine.

If you’re dying to wet your gills, check out the inside waters of Haleiwa or maybe Mokuleia side. Sometimes, there’ll be a shallow-water sand pool to wade in, fronting Rocky Point. We always take our dog swimming there; kids splash around, as the pool water slowly sinks into the sand. The pool doesn’t remain for very long. It’s usually washed away after the first big swell. On big surf days, you’re bound to see photographers set up along the shore – decked out with 400 mm zoom lens, tripods and other expensive gadgets. They, too, have to keep on their toes; or more like, keep an eye on any waves creeping toward them.

No matter how you spend your day on the North Shore, just be sure to play it safe!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher