Waikiki Surfing by Moonlight

Waikiki Surfing by Moonlight
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Waikiki surfing is more than a sport or a tourist activity. For many, it’s a way of life. But moonlit surfing in Waikiki is a unique experience, drawing athletes from around the world who want to catch a wave after dark. 

The Search For Uncrowded Surf

Surfers are known, notorious even, for going to extremes to find quality, uncrowded surf. And as surf culture continues to spread across the globe, uncrowded surf is increasingly hard to come by. 

Surfers suffer endless air travel fraught with hassles, purposefully endure difficult conditions, and even brave perilous war zones in the pursuit of uncrowded perfection.

But some surfers in Waikiki have the savvy and the guts to take advantage of the night to enjoy (relatively) empty waves at one of the most crowded breaks in the world, Queen’s Beach. 

Dangers and Draws of Waikiki Surfing by Moonlight

Every moonlit surfer knows the frustration of waiting through the night during a good swell to get in the water. It’s dangerous to be out in the ocean at night for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s hard to see. In many places, you can’t see at all.

nighttime in Waikiki

But the beaches of Waikiki offer more advantages for night surfing than most other breaks around the world. Clear skies throughout most of the year allow starlight and moonlight to reflect on the surface. This helps surfers discern subtle changes in the shimmer that indicate an approaching wave at night. And the number of high-rise hotels greatly increases the amount of light at night. 

The biggest advantage, though, is the super-bright spotlighting that’s cast onto the break by the hotels fronting it.

For Experienced Surfers Only

It’s important to note that those who do surf at night in Waikiki are intimately familiar with the lineup at Queen’s. They know where to be and, more importantly, where not to be. There are several peaks at Queen’s, and it’s easy to be caught in a bad spot on even the sunniest afternoon. 

The people out at Queen’s at night could probably surf it with their eyes closed anyway.

Also, night surfers never paddle out alone. There are no lifeguards on duty. And it’s dark. If you get into trouble, you’ve only got your mates to look after you. Otherwise, you’re on your own. It’s cold, too.

Waikiki Surfing: Finding That Perfect Wave

There’s nothing quite like getting a perfect wave to yourself, and getting one at Queen’s Beach on any given day is a rarity, a unicorn even. Getting one to yourself under the light of the moon as the stars spin overhead and Waikiki bustles in the glow of streetlights and neon is an entirely singular experience.

Night surfing in Waikiki is no great secret. When the waves are good and the night sky is clear, and particularly when the moon is brightest, there will always be a group of surfers in the water after sundown and well into the night.

But it’s a fraction of the daytime crowd, and one that is categorically friendly. Maybe because everyone shares the feeling of getting away with something, scoring empty waves by simply taking a different approach.