Summers on Oahu means one thing for surfers— it’s time to surf the south shore. During the winter, the North Shore lights up with powerful north swell that originates in the artic and detonates on the Seven Mile Miracle in full force, producing world-class waves at Pipeline, Sunset, and beyond. In the summer, south swells travel up from the Antarctic, past South America through French Polynesia, and collide with the island’s South Shore. The North Shore is by no means flat during the summer. We get fun-sized waves up and down the Seven Mile Miracle, and our home break at Turtle Bay remains the best learning wave on the island, no matter the time of year. But there is no better time to surf the South Shore of Oahu, aka the Town, than during the summer. Continue reading below for Our Favorite South Shore Oahu Surf Spots.
The world-famous Waikiki Beach, the home of the Waikiki Beach Boys, is one of the most famous waves in the world and perhaps the most popular of all the Oahu surf spots. Waikiki’s fame isn’t derived from its tenacity, like Pipeline, but rather its place in surfing history as the location where surfing blossomed from a dying national pastime to the sport it is today. Waikiki Beach offers lefts and rights amongst a hundred of your best friends. While most people think of Waikiki as a small wave/ longboarding spot, on a proper south swell, Waikiki produces quality waves with serious size.
Ala Moana Bowls
The gem of the South Shore, Ala Moana is the most high-performance and sought-after Oahu surf spot on the South Shore. Like many waves around the island, Ala Moana has a clear pecking order in the lineup with several locals and pro-level regulars. Ala Mo’s is a long, section(y) left with several peaks and serious barrel potential. During a large south swell, the outside bowl transforms into one of the best lefts on the island. The wave at Ala Moana can hold serious size. Several breaks line the surrounding reef shelf, including Big Rights, Tennis Courts, and Kewalo Basin.
Kaisers is another highly established Oahu surf spot near the Ala Moana reef. Kaisers is not for the faint of heart. The wave breaks over a shallow reef amongst a tense crowd. The wave at Kaiser’s is a bowly right-hander that’s steep and presents as good of a backdoor barrel opportunity as anywhere.
Canoes earns its name as one of the more popular Oahu surf spots for outrigger canoes. On smaller days, outrigger canoes litter the lineup and contend for waves far on the outside but often come charging through the lineup. On larger swells, Canoes evolves into a right-hand barrel that attracts the Town’s finest tube riders.
Publics offers long, consistent lefts that break over a shallow, uneven reef. Getting in and out of the water can be challenging, thanks to the lively reef in the area. High tide offers friendlier entries and exits but also mushier waves. Low tide produces a racing left with the occasional barrel.
Diamond Head, named for the towering mountain overlooking the lineup, contains a few different breaks, with the best being Lighthouse and Cliffs. Both Lighthouse and Cliffs are reef breaks that pick up a ton of swell. Unfortunately, they’re also the first to blow out with easterly trade winds. Cliffs may be the most popular peak at Diamond Head and offers surfers both rights and lefts with easy take-offs and cruisy rides. Lighthouse is a more high-performance, top to bottom wave. Diamond Head’s raw beauty makes it one of the most iconic Oahu surf spots.
If you’re not charging summer south swells in tow, head to the North Shore for a stay at Turtle Bay Resort and an unparalleled ocean experience. From surf lessons and surf guiding to turtle safaris and stand-up paddle yoga, Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience has you covered for all your beach and water activities during your stay on Oahu.