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The big wave season hits Oahu November through February and it’s then that the world’s best surfers descend upon this Hawaiian island to catch their dream tubes.

North Shore, 55 minutes from Waikiki, holds down the title of having the best surf locations in Hawaii - and the world. Probably the most iconic is the Banzai Pipeline, or ‘Pipe’. It’s legendary in the surfing world, so it’s no wonder that it’s the final stop of the Triple Crown of Surfing Contest. The strong undertow and riptides are a threat, so it’s recommended that only experienced surfers take it on; but if the spectator sport aspect is your pace for the day, all are welcome.

Haleiwa is normally as crowded as Pipe, but the waves are better for an intermediate-lever surfer. And it’s a great destination for a day-in-the-surf-life, with a laid back attitude and delicious cafes.

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Waimea Bay is legendary because of its influence during the dawn of big wave surfing.

The East Shore isn’t frequented by surfers the way that the other shores are, mostly because of the populations of jellyfish and tiger sharks. But, in true surfer style, the most daring are out there, paddling out far for the best waves.

Waikiki, the most iconic beach on Oahu, has waves that are much gentler than other parts of the island. It’s because of the calm waters and breathtaking views that Waikiki is such a great location to learn to surf. And if the sport is too intimidating, other water activities such as stand-up paddleboarding or canoeing are just as enjoyable. 

For those who want to experience the white sand beaches and pure waters in other ways, head to Oahu’s Hanauma Bay in Honolulu for unbelievable snorkeling. Located in a volcanic cone, Hanauma Bay is truly one of the premier destinations in Oahu. For more wildlife, the Sea Life Park offers a dolphin encounter, shark trek, reef encounter and more.