About Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is the king of the North Shore Beaches, attracting locals and tourists to its beautiful shores that open up into the Pacific Ocean. Located just below Waimea Valley, Waimea Bay is home to the infamous Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, which has only been held seven times since 1984. Why? The winter waves need to reach a Hawaiian height of 20 feet, which is roughly half the height of the face where surfers ride. In 2009, Waimea Bay saw waves with faces up to 50 feet!
In the summertime Waimea Bay is tranquil and serene. At the left of the bay is The Rock, a popular hangout for swimmers who seek an added thrill to their ocean adventure. You can watch people jump off into the ocean, or climb to the top and join the fun!
Waimea Bay is the original big-wave surf spot. It was pioneered in November of 1957 by surfers Greg Noll, Peter Cole, Fred Van Dyke, and Mickey Munoz. Once the first wave was caught and the break was seen as ridable, the flood gates opened and big-wave surfing was born.
Waimea Bay is also an important place to Hawaiian history. After Captain James Cooks death on February 28, 1779 while at the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay, Captain Charles Clerke took control of his expedition and made only one stop on Oahu, Waimea Bay. Previously an ahupuaa (land division) of Koolauloa, Waimea was re-designated in 1886 to become part of Waialua district, most likely due to the growing sugar cane industry in Waialua. The industrial impact to the Waimea area caused a devastating flood that demolishd an entire village in the area, which changed the landscape of Waimea Bays beachfront. In the 1960s, excess sand was transported from Waimea Bay to help fill the shores of Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana Beach Park.
Facts & Trivia
- Island: Oahu
- Duration: Tours stop at various beaches along the North Shore are not guaranteed and are time permitting. Approximately 5-10 minutes when time permits.
- Amenities: Restrooms availble to use during stops.
- Insider Tip: To the left of The Rock is a quieter section of the beach, a little getaway from the populated shores.
- Fun Fact: Over 200,000 tons of sand were removed from Waimea Bay in the 1950s and 1960s.
- What to Expect: People diving off of 'The Rock', views of Waimea Valley, the biggest waves of the year in the winter.
- Pop Culture: Waimea Bay was made famous in the 1960's by surfers like Greg Noll who pioneered big-wave surfing.