The generous island of Oahu has much to offer and is full of beautiful surprises. Along the North Shore of Oahu, in Pupukea, lies a beautiful beach area known as the Banzai Pipeline. It is centrally located between Sunset and Waimea Beach Parks. Locals and visitors are constantly drawn to this famous pocket for the surfing, the view, and the rich culture.
The Banzai Pipeline area of Ehukai Beach is most popular for surfing. The winter waves that roll in are eagerly anticipated by surfers around the world. This surfing spot is the perfect climate for riding waves because they break into a shallow reef, a less than ideal landing spot.
Countless movies, television shows, and amateur videos feature the perfect waves of this roaring ocean town. Bruce Brown was one of the most effective and notorious filmmakers that captured the regal, raw power of the barreling waves in films like Surfing Hollow Days. Not only is this a well-liked hangout for local surfers, but it is also where professional sponsors like the Billabong Pipeline Masters, the Volcom Pipe Pro, and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing congregate semi-annually for surfing contests.
Phil Edwards is historically credited with the renowned surfing reputation associated with the area. He was the first person officially recorded as surfing the Banzai Pipeline in the 1960s, marking this now famous top surfing destination forever on the map. Incidentally, he also created the first known signature surfboard, creating a trend that continues to this day.
Gerry Lopez, aka Mr. Pipeline, was another surfing pioneer in Oahu’s history. As a well-known actor and author, he created additional interest in the Banzai Pipeline. These legends, along with many others, created a culture of wave riders actively seeking the perfect surf break and truly living life to the fullest.
Excursions and Activities
Aside from the surfing pipeline, this active area of Oahu has much to offer its plentiful guests. The tremendous wave breaks are a majestic sight, from shore or from the water. It is almost impossible to enjoy a vacation on Oahu’s North Shore without learning about the history of surfing and learning to admire some of the big waves. This island paradise also has offerings for the guest who wants to do and see more than surfboards. Daily tours and excursions depart from many of the local hotels, giving guests an opportunity to navigate this part of the island.
Helicopters, parasailing, and hot air balloons routinely hover over the Banzai Pipeline on sightseeing tours. This is a popular option for visitors who want a bird’s eye view. Guests can search the island underwater through snorkeling expeditions. Those who prefer the land can hike, camp, and participate in themed activities like plantation, photography, and cultural tours. The Polynesian Cultural Center is another great day trip for visitors interested in the history and current culture of the region.
Since so many people come to witness major surfing events each year, a designated parking area has been set up to accommodate the heavy volume of traffic. The small parking lot hosts drivers on a first come, first served basis. Overflow parking is available along the Kamehameha Highway, which runs parallel to the pipeline beach area. There are several miles of parking available here. Guests and drivers are strongly discouraged from parking at the Sunset Beach Elementary School, which is across the street from the main entrance to Banzai Pipeline. Even when school is not in session, local law enforcement tows vehicles.
Hotels and Lodging
There are a host of lodging options for visitors and guests along the North Shore. These range from simple guest homes and vacation sharing rentals to luxury five-star resorts. The Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging is a moderately priced option for visitors who are in town for various surfing expeditions. Large parties may prefer the Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging. This sprawled out resort area is dated but well maintained and private. The Turtle Bay Resort offers a slightly more subdued vibe than other area hotels and introduces affordable luxury. It is near the beach park, about five miles from the Banzai Pipeline, on a quiet cove near the mountainside.
The official international airport serving Honolulu is the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). Several regional airstrips carry guests between islands. Guests are requested to reserve car rentals well in advance of their trip. Navigating the island by car is quite simple. Two major roads are Highway 1, which runs east to west, and Highway 2, which runs north to south. Visitors take Highway 2 North to head towards the North Shore, then turn onto the Kamehameha Highway. This main thoroughfare changes names locally, but the official highway name is Route 83 and it leads all the way into the coastline along the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore.