The North Shore, Oahu
Although my efforts as a surfer were somewhat futile as a teenager, I love surfing. I could spend hours watching the gods and goddesses of the surf, carve waves, ride barrels, layback, kick-flip, kick out or even wipeout!
Our home for the next 6 days is the Turtle Bay Resort on the island of Oahu. It is the only resort on the North Shore and for a fussy 5 star traveller like me, is the perfect base to explore some of Oahu’s hidden gems and some of Hawaii’s biggest surf! It also hosts the Annual Surf Awards and of course that makes it all the more exciting for me.
Turtle Bay Resort has a variety of Accommodation options, hotel rooms, suites, ocean villas and beach cottages for those that want a bit more space and privacy. With 2 Championship Golf Courses, an award winning spa centre and activities galore it was the ideal place for our whole family.
Our room overlooked the pristine waters of Turtle Bay and every morning the sun would rise with a tint of orange in the sky. My morning meditation was filled with the natural sounds of the waves rolling into the shore line. No greater sound for a meditation junkie.
There are two beaches either side of the main resort. Turtle Bay and Kawela Bay. Turtle Bay is significantly sheltered and the waves and current are much more moderate. Kawela Bay on the other hand is a surf beach and a great place to surf.
Our first night on the North shore was magical. The surf at Kawela bay was about 10 foot and there were surfers a plenty navigating the big waves. With the fiery red sun disappearing behind the horizon, I couldn’t think of a better place to be than with my family and a cocktail of course!
On a mission to visit some of the world’s most famous surf beaches, I coaxed my husband and kids to go exploring on day two. Not well known for my ability to wait, I had us in our convertible jeep (yep, I really wanted to look like a surfy chick) straight after breakfast. To say that I was a little excited to visit the 7 mile stretch of surfing goodness was an understatement.
Our first stop was Waimea Bay, one of the first places that the surfer’s began to ride the waves in the 50’s. Renowned for its monstrous swells, Waimea did not disappoint the day we went. 20 foot waves and massive shore breakers were enough to make the heart of this try hard surfer sing. It was certainly too dangerous for a swim and a jump off Waimea rock (sorry kids) but to watch the pro’s catch some of these powerful swells was amazing.
Located half way between Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach (our next stop) on Kamehameha Highway, is a place called Sharks Cove Beach. It’s a great little beach spot and across the road are the North Shore Food Trucks. Having a Mother who is a nurse, I am prone to worrying about germs so first glance at these mobile food units, did send my mind into a bacterium figment. Not allowing my false fears to get the better of me and three hungry boys in tow, we had lunch at the North Shores Fish Taco’s and it was delicious.
Conscious not to use up all my surfing credits on day two, I agreed that we would only visit one more spot for the day – Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach. This is where they hold the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The massive tubes and sharp reef make it one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world and this is where some of my greatest surfing heroes have conquered some pretty big feats. Again like Waimea Bay, Pipeline did not disappoint. The sets were huge and the waves were powerful. There were only a handful of surfers attempting the sizeable crests and very few people swimming. Once more it was fascinating to watch.
With our surfing agenda ticked (well mine really), we were free to enjoy the rest of the fabulous things that the North Shore has to offer:
~ A trip to Waimea Valley for a swim under the 45 foot waterfall
~ Mountain bike riding through the lush bushland adjacent to the beach,
~ Stand up paddle boarding,
~ Yoga on the beach
~ Massages at the Nail Kinetic Spa
And of course a game of golf or two for my husband.
Whilst it has a laid back vibe and there are very few shops and resorts on the North Shore there is lots to do. The historic town of Haleiwa is a must as is the Polynesian Cultural Centre. Haleiwa has some fantastic art galleries and places to eat. And be sure to try the very colourful and famous shaved ice – it is delicious!
Aside from my obsession with surfing and surfers (think Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning) our trip to the North Shore was certainly one of my favourite parts of our Hawaiian Holiday. In fact I might go as far to say that it is up there in my top 10 places to take a vacation and it is highly likely that this old skeg will be back.
Hang Loose and Cowabunga Dudes
Ps – We saw a Turtle too!
By Kylie Paatsch
National Leader of Flight Centres Leadership Academy