Turtle Bay Resort - Hawaii
Turtle Bay Resort is a luxury resort located on the North Shore of Hawaii's main Oahu Island. The area has some of the most famous surf breaks in the area with Sunset and Pipeline just down the road. From the challenging big wave surf to
From 919 pp for 7 Nights
Surfing was first documented here in 1779 but in all likelihood the Polynesian people had been surfing here since 400AD. Hawaii truly is the birthplace of surfing. Initially a sport reserved for royalty, the ancients would move from their winter homes in the north shore to their summer retreats in the south of the islands to pick up the best waves all year round. Surfing was popularised by Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku in the 1920's, whose statue can be found on Waikiki's waterfront.
Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island are the six main islands that create Hawaii and every one has it’s own distinct individuality that entice people for anything from the ultimate honeymoon, to adventure activities, or amazing shopping. Located in the Pacific, not too far off the shores of the mainland USA, Hawaii will offer a paradise like no other and should not be missed. You have not made it as a world class surfer if you have not made it on the North Shore. Look in any international surfing magazine and it will not take you too long to find a picture of a Hawaiian wave. It is a place truly blessed with top quality waves and swell.
Hawaii receives numerous swells from October to March, generated from deep lows tracking across the North Pacific. The swells can be anywhere in the region of 10-30ft - now that is big surf!
Unfortunately due to the surf size and the localism, a surf trip to Hawaii might be better spent away from the North Shore and there are no shortage of spots and less crowding elsewhere. The other side of the island gets frequent 3-8ft waves so you will not be missing out trying out other lesser known breaks. If you are keen for the North Shore, stay at Turtle Bay Resort so you can go out with their surf guide.
If you are travelling with a non-surfing partner or your family, and want to be closer to the 'non-surf' action, you are best off staying in Waikiki. Here there are plenty of tourist activities and amazing shopping to amuse your travelling companions. You can find surf at the local beaches or hire a car and go cruising the coast. For beginners, there’s no shortage of Learn to Surf operations in the main areas of most of the islands. More people learn to surf on Waikiki's beach than anywhere else in the world.
The United States of America comprises 50 states and a federal district. It is situated between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and is bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. At nearly 10 million sq kms and with about 308 million people, the United States is the 3rd largest country by total area and population. The United States of America is a land of multi-cultural diversity which has something for everyone from deserts, mountainous national parks, alps that will entice for skiing and snowboarding, and of course running down the west coast is the Pacific Ocean hitting onto some of the worlds best surf spots. The United States is home to some of the most influential surfers ever, including Laird Hamilton famous for his jaw dropping big wave surfing; and Kelly Slater - the 9 time world surfing champion who has got to be the famous surfer in the world.
California, down the west coast of the country, is generally the most popular place for travelling surfers to visit. Of this massive coastline, Southern California is the best area to find surf, with warmer water, and the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego offerring many activities for non surfing partners.
Central California is less commercialised, but the water is colder and the waves are heavier. There are lots of places to surf between Santa Barbara and San Francisco, but pack your wetsuit.
Northern California is greyer than the sunnier southern areas, sharks and really cold water rule in the north but if you’re a dedicated surfer you can find some good surf.
The swell that rolls into these islands is from the intense lows that circle the earth south of Australia, blessing the islands with a generous SE to SW groundswell (March to September), teaming this with some of the most consistent trade winds (South Pacific Trade Winds) generally from the east with slight variations. The North Pacific delivers some intense lows that send in NE to NW swells (October to March). This makes these island gems in the perfect position to make use of the swells with perfectly cut out bays, banks and reefs set up and waiting for you.
Oahu from October through to March is renowned for its monstrous waves and has hosted many a world surfing championship. Travelling surfers are attracted to Haleiwa, one of the surf capitals of the world and the gateway to Oahu’s famous North Shore breaks. Along the 7 mile stretch of beach there are some 40 surf breaks including Sunset Beach, Waimea and Banzai Pipeline - without a doubt the best known break in the world. For beginners head down to Waikiki Beach where you will find some of the easiest beach breaks to get your first ride.
Consistency on Kauai is awesome for beginners and reliable waves on the south coast at Poipu is fortunately protected majority of the year. But watch out for the winter months when the big swells hit as even the most experienced surfers will have a challenge.
Hawaii or the ‘Big Island’ is not as well known for its breaks however there are some excellent set ups at Waipio on the north coast and Papeekeo just north of Hilo on the east coast. There are scattered breaks around Keauhopu south of Kailua that will also keep you entertained for a while.
In Maui, the best spots for surfing are off the north shore between Hookipa Beach and Baldwin Park (summer surfing is good) and Napili Bay. Beginners will find Kealia Beach in Kihei (west coast) a great place to learn. Winds pick up in the afternoons so if you are not experienced, go early. Body surfing is good at Lahaina harbour.
North Shore Breaks :
- Haleiwa - First stop of the Triple Crown of Surfing Contest. The right is more consistent and can get hollow but some lefts come through that are fun and rippable.
- Waimea Bay - One of the first recognised big wave surf spots in the world, and site of the only ASP sanctioned big wave contest. When the North Shore is closing out, Waimea Bay starts to come alive. It is a right point break that holds swells up to 30ft. When it is not big enough to work, another right called Pinballs can be surfed on the inside close to the rocks.
- Log Cabins - Fast, powerful, very long and can get epic.
- Rockpiles - Hollow, ledgy and powerful right and left reef break.
- Off The Wall - Mostly a hollow, fast and powerful right tube, with some lefts but closes out on the inside.
- Backdoor - The same take off zone as Pipe, but a right hand barrel that breaks over very shallow reef. It's hollow, fast and powerful.
- Banzai Pipeline - Pipe is a legendary wave that demands a surfer’s respect. It is the final stop of the Triple Crown of Surfing as well as the ASP World Tour. It’s a super fast, ledgy left hand reef break with one of the best tubes in the world.
- Ehukai Beach Park - A hollow, fast and powerful right and left that can break furiously. When the sand bars have formed correctly this break will give you the tube ride of your life over shallow and soft sand.
- Rocky Point - A hollow, fast and powerful right and left reef break.
- Sunset Beach - Site of the second stop of the Triple Crown of Surfing, this wave is also one of the more famous breaks in surfing history. There is nearly a 200m takeoff zone, with three main spots: The Point, The Main Reef, and Backyards. Generally hollow, fast, powerful and ledgey right reef breaks, with some lefts at Backyards.
- Velzyland - This wave is an amazing right hander with rippable walls and long barrels. When it gets really big, there is a left called Freddies on the south side of the same bay, and behind them both is a big wave spot called Phantoms.
- Turtle Bay - On the west side of the resort, a hollow, fast and powerful right reef break when the swell is up, and a fun longboard wave that can take you over a hundred yards when its smaller. On the east side of the resort there is a right called Rainbows that gets fun when there is more east in the swell. Further east from Rainbows is Baggers, a very long and hollow left tube over shallow reef.
South Shore and Waikiki Breaks :
- Ala Moana Bowls - Long, hollow, powerful, fast and ledgey left tube.
- Kaisers - A ledgey, fast and powerful right and left reef break.
- Three's - A long, fast and powerful right and left reef break.
- Canoe's - Short, easy right and left reef break.
- Queens - A fun right and left reef break.
- Publics - A consistent long left
California - Along its 1700kms of coastline lie three distinct surf regions: Southern, Central, and Northern California. All three areas catch swells year round but autumn, winter and spring are the most consistent seasons. With the Pacific Ocean running down the western side of the country, California is a swell magnet with four different swell zones heading straight for the shores from the massive expanse of ocean. Also benefiting from the Aleutian lows that bring the big waves through to Hawaii, the Californian shoreline can expect massive well shaped powerful breaks from October through to February.
The hurricane storm cells near Mexico, push the swell north onto the shores of Southern California. During June to August (summer) the consistent wind swell collected from small bands in the north Pacific, and Santa Ana’s strong winds blowing straight offshore make it almost perfect conditions.
The best known area for surf in the US is the Trestles Surf Area - due to comps held there, and mainly known for it’s Lower Trestles point break which is one of the most consistent breaks in the nation. Other renowned beaches in Southern California include Rincon, home of a legendary and flawless right hand point break, Malibu Beach, Huntington Beach, and Black’s Beach in San Diego County.
Santa Barbara breaks :
- Jamala Beach - Excellent overall, consistent, generally hollow-shaped waves that peak left and right. Best in high-surf conditions, with outside swells producing big, aggressive waves.
- The Ranch - About a dozen reefs and points, many of which can be considered world-class. Swells hit smaller and are tide-sensitive, rarely get above 8 feet.
- Campus Point - Takes a big swell to really turn on, but when it does it can be considered one of the epic right pointbreaks of Santa Barbara. Has a fast moving wall on the inside during low tide.
- Rincon - The best right pointbreak in California. Rincon has three sections that all connect on the right days. The outside break is called The Indicator, and is the slowest of the three, the next one is the rivermouth, which can produce the best barrels, sometimes shutting out on you, and if you make it to the Cove next then your on till the end. The Cove is the most crowded and consistent of the three.
Los Angeles Breaks :
- Zuma - Mainly lefts, Zuma can get really powerful and gnarly as the size increases. At the south end of the beach is a spot called Drainpipes that is one of the heaviest surf spots in Southern California.
- Malibu Beach - Made famous by surf photographers over the years, Malibu is a lengthy right point break that holds all sizes of swell. The outside takeoff zone is a fast rippable wave dominated by a pretty tight pack of guys.
- Topanga - Lengthy and shapely right point break, can hollow out on big days. Not quite as nicely shaped as Malibu just up the way.
- Hermosa Beach - Your average California beach breaks. Fun lefts and rights breaking over shifting sandbars, best at low tide.
- Haggerty's - A high-performance left point break. Super clean lefts,
- Seal Beach - Conditions constantly vary here, but when the swell is closing out at Huntington, Seal Beach often will be peaky and very hollow. When the wind turns offshore and the swell is in the water, this place turns epic.
- Huntington Beach - Huntington Beach has always been a famous name in surfing history. Two main breaks. Right and left beach break offering several miles of peaky fast waves that sometimes close out. Mild to powerful.
- Newport Beach - Some of the best sandbars are formed off of these jetties, creating some of the best barrels in Southern California. 54th street is mostly a right, and 56th is an incredible left. The more northern beach breaks after 56th get really good and help spread the crowd out.
- The Wedge - A hollow, fast, powerful and ultra-ledgy left that breaks off a jetty, collides with a normal wave and creates a huge closeout on the shore. Epic. One of the most exciting shows to watch from the beach when it gets big.
- T Street - The main peak at T-street breaks over a reef pretty far out producing an awesome right and a sometimes equally amazing left. There are other peaks north and south of the main take-off spot that can get more hollow and bowled up than the main peak.
- Trestles : Surfing trestles is the ultimate California surfing experience. No lifeguards, beach crowds, blackballs, or spongers. Just perfect point break waves for miles. Lower trestles is home to the only ASP World Tour event in North America, and is a perfect peak sending surfers right and left. Churches is an amazing right, though a bit slower at times than Lowers. The rest of the breaks at trestles are very consistent, and make arguably the best collection of
San Diego Breaks :
- Oceanside Beach - The constantly shifting sandbars of Oceanside produce lefts and rights in a variety of areas. Both sides of the pier, and the north and south jetties produce the most consistent waves.
- Tamarack St - Because of a rivermouth in the area, sandbars form quite well making fun, rippable lefts and a few decent rights.
- Swami's - Swami’s is a right point break that can often produce some of the most amazing conditions of all Southern California surf breaks. The local guys on longboards normally control the wave, but sitting on the inside can get you some fun leftovers. There is also a short left for those who are tired of battling the crowd.
- Black's Beach - An underwater trench directs swell power to this region of coast, creating a break that hold big waves creating epic conditions. Three main peaks that produce several waves, hollow, fast-moving lefts and rights. One of the best surf spots in Southern California.
Season & Weather
With two distinct seasons, big wave season hits the north shores of all islands from November to April and is produced from the winter storms around Alaska. As there is no land mass between the continent and the islands, the waves grow in strength along their 5000km journey. By Summer, the north shore goes flat, and swell picks up on the south shores.
Tropical storms around the south pacific send the swell north in the Summer, reaching the exposed southern shores from May til October. These waves are not as intense as the winter waves that hit the north shores, but the south coast of Oahu (including Waikiki Beach) and Kauai (Poipu Beach) have particularly favourable conditions for surfing.
Summer temperatures are usually around 25-29°C, with June and July being the driest months. During the winter, the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler, with north westerly winds. Temperatures range from approximately 23-26°C and drop another 10° after the sun goes down.
Being one of the biggest countries in the world, the US also has various climates depending on where you are. California, the most popular destination for surfers in the US, is blessed with warm dry summers. LA County is situated in what is called a ‘Mediterranean’ climate. This type of climate experiences mild, reasonably wet winters and warm to hot, mildly humid summers. The weather is generally dry all year round, but can get cool in the winter. Breezes from the Pacific Ocean keep the beach communities cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
South of LA gets slightly warmer temperatures as you get closer to the equator, and north of LA gets colder.