It’s not aaaallll about surfing out here. Oahu is world famous for its waves, but its also famous for its diving. If you come to The North Shore during the summer months (May-Aug) you most likely wont see giant waves, but rather calm, clear, tropical water. It’s the perfect place for diving and snorkeling.
Luckily for us the best places to dive and snorkel on Oahu are right at our doorstep, literally.
Don’t worry there aren’t any sharks, or at least that’s not what gives it its name. If your looking at it from a birds eye view it looks like a big shark took a bite out of the rock, giving the cove its shape and its name. Sharks cove is home to a whole bunch of marine life and is a protected as a marine sanctuary. Think of it as a fish sanctuary where they never have to worry about being caught. If you go snorkeling here there’s about a 90% chance that you will see a turtle hanging out.
Sharks cove also has a network of underwater caves that if you are daring enough you can swim through. Carved by ancient lava tunnels it has left dozens of caves beneath the surface. Some you can do in a few seconds, others you wouldn’t dare doing without a scuba tank.
During the weekends Sharks Cove can get a bit crowded so its best to come during the week.
Three Tables Beach
Located right down the road from Sharks Cove and a bit less busy, Three Tables Beach is a local favorite when it comes to diving and snorkeling. Protected under the same sanctuary as Sharks Cove, Three Tables is teeming with life. Best thing about Three Tables is it is literally our front yard. Come and grab some a mask and some fins from us and get out there!
We all know that the North Shore of Oahu is pumping in the winter. The question is, once the surf dies down and the boards are packed away for the summer, what is there to do? Easy question. Check out our Top 10 North Shore activities!
10) Eat! – The North Shore is riddled with famous food trucks throughout the year but it’s still worth the mention! Our favorite ones are located a short (5 min) walk from Backpackers Hawaii in Pupukea click here for directions.
9) North Shore Ehukai Pillbox Hike– The Ehikai Pillbox Hike is probably better known has the Sunset Pillbox hike referencing its amazing views of the Banzai Pipeline and located high above Sunset Beach. The trail head is a short bus ride or bike ride down Kamehameha Highway and begins in the parking lot of Sunset Elementary School.
8) Paddle Boarding – Head into Haleiwa town and rent a couple of Stand Up Paddle Boards from one of the many surf shops and explore the Haleiwa river.
7) Zipline – Check out the longest Zipline on Oahu at Climb Works. This 3 hour tour offers amazing views of the North Shore and is well worth the spend!
6) Ka’ena Point – Ke’ana Point is where the North Shore meets the West Coast but you have to walk about 3 miles to get to the point. Ke’ana Point is a bird nesting area and often home to resting Hawaiian Monk Seals.
5) Cliff Jumping – There are a few amazing spot to Cliff jump on the North Shore. Waimea Bay is a 5 minute walk down the road and offers one of the best cliffs (…. well it’s actually a rock) to jump from. A little further down the road in Liae is a great place to go on a calm day. You may actually remember this particular cliff from Forgetting Sarah Marshall…. you know, when Mila Kunis tells Jason Segel that she can “see his vagina from here.”
4) Sky Diving – Hands down one of the most beautiful drop zones in the world is located just down the road! Our friends at Sky Dive Hawaii offer our guests a great discount when you book at the our front Desk.
3) Sharks Cove – Located across the street from Backpackers, Sharks Cove is home to some of the best snorkeling, free diving and Scuba Diving on the island. You can book your Scuba Adventure with our friends at Hawaii Eco Divers.
2) Learn to Surf – The summer season is a great time to learn to surf on the North Shore! There are lots of small breaks that are perfect to learn on. Our friends at the North Shore Surf Girls give lessons and instruction to all levels of surfers.
1) Pick a Beach, any Beach. There are so many world class beaches just a walk, bike ride or drive away!
Ahh… Waimea Bay. Rarely do you hear of the North Shore and not also hear of this iconic beach. It became famous in the 1950’s as big wave riders like Greg Knoll travelled to Hawaii to surf the big-waves of the North Shore. Waimea was the big-time for them… and boom big wave surfing was born. Waimea Bay has kept its reputation and is still one of the largest and well known paddle-in big wave surf spots in the world. With storms crossing the Pacific and slamming into Oahu, waves can get as big as 50 ft. It’s host the legendary Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational every year, however the contest is only held when it gets 30 ft or bigger. Sometimes it is years before Waimea gets that big, but when it does man it is some spectacle.
O But thats not all…
Besides the massive surf and legendary history Waimea has a lot more to it. When the surf is flat Waimea has a jumping rock cleverly named “Jump Rock”. Great name, I mean its what you are suppose to do on it… or off of it rather. Reaching about 20 ft at the highest point and about 5 ft at its lowest, anyone can enjoy it and jump at their own comfort zone. Be sure to jump though, growing up as kids it is said to be bad luck to climb back down. DunDunDun.
Another thing to do when the surf is flat… make surf. Cause God forbid us NOT to surf for more than a week. Plus its just awesome. My words would not suffice, so check out this video and you will see what I am talking about.
Waimea is a beautiful and sacred place to us here in Hawaii and we are lucky here at Backpackers to have it so close to us. Aloha!
Hands down the most famous break in the entire world, ladies and gentlemen, Pipeline.
Pipeline, Banzai Pipeline, Pipe, it doesn’t matter how you say it, the name conjures images of giant barrels breaking over shallow coral. It has a reputation as one of the most dangerous waves in the world and many have ridden their last wave here. It wasn’t ridden until the 60’s, but it wasnt until the 70’s when surfers like Gerry Lopez, aka Mr. Pipeline, when Pipe started popping off.
It’s known as a proving ground here on the North Shore and people from around the world test there skill on this legendary wave. However, don’t think you can just paddle right out in the line up and start catching waves, and really you shouldn’t. You have to put in your time out there. There are guys who have been surfing out there for decades and respect is huge out there. The wave itself is dangerous enough then add about 60 surfers into the line up with half of them not knowing what they’re doing, and its a recipe for disaster.
Pipeline is the location of one of the most legendary surf contests, the Triple Crown Pipe Masters. It takes place December 8-20 depending on the swell. You will know when the contest is on because of the line of traffic in both directions for about 10 miles. People who live on the North Shore know better than to drive a car during the Triple Crown. Once your on the beach it is one of the biggest spectacles in the surfing world. Thousands of people on the beach, photographers, girls in Brazilian bikinis… o yah and some of the best barrel riding in the world.
Check out this amazing arial footage of Pipeline to really get a feel for it!!