Surfing Hawaii Shines in Oahu’s Culture
Surfing Hawaii is etched in Oahu’s culture… the ocean beckons surfers with each rising swell. The sport of kings, surfing permeates the local lifestyle offering freedom from everyday obligations.
Local keiki’s… exposed to surfing as early as infancy… continue to ride waves well into their retirement years. You might spot a few young surfers skipping school mixed in with a handful of adults exchanging sick leave days for surf days when the waves are up!
Ira with Shortboard in Ewa Beach, Oahu
The easiest way to learn surfing in Hawaii is to start on a longboard. Long boards are much heavier, longer and thicker than shortboard surfboards making for easier balancing. Some local kids opt to ride shortboards from day one.Adults attempting to learn surfing on a shortboard quickly find this is not easy. My son Ira towers more than 6 feet tall and I can pick up his shortboard with 2 fingers and it only rivals his height. Imagine paddling and attempting to stand on a shortboard in breaking waves. Its kind of like trying to balance on a moving potato chip.
Most surfers use an extended leash with one end tethered to the surfboard and the other end strapped to the ankle with Velcro. This prevents a long swim to recover the board after a wipeout and helps prevent a flying board from injuring the surfer. Injuries still happen occasionally.
Oahu Surf Forecast
Locals frequently call the Surf News Network for the current Oahu Surf Report at (808) 596-SURF. The Surf News Network projects wave heights for Oahu surf spots island wide. You can also watch the local news stations which give surf reports during their weather forecasts and NOAA has daily wave heights listed at NOAA.gov.
See the NOAA surf forecast for Oahu in the upper right column.
Oahu Amateur Surfing Competitions
Oahu’s best young amateur surfers vie to become team riders for Oahu surf shops scoring themselves free custom-made surfboards and brand-name surf clothing. Their surfboards look like advertising billboards plastered with brands signifying allegiance to their sponsors.
In exchange, a team rider strives to advance to the final heat at surfing competitions on Oahu giving recognition to their sponsors. Competitors increase in point ranking throughout the surf season at HSA (Hawaii Surfing Association) and NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) events.
You can experience surfing Hawaii by watching competitions on Oahu up close and personal… call this hotline for dates and locations of HSA scheduled events 808-262-2488 or check their website at HasaSurf.org. The NSSA contests are spread over 4 islands, so they have fewer competitions on Oahu than HSA does, but you can find their contests listed at NssaHawaii.com.
I recommend Local Motion’s annual prestigious Surf Into Summer contest on Memorial Day weekend at Magic Island. It’s conveniently close to Waikiki and a coveted win in their Junior Men’s event is known to propel a professional surfing career.
Oahu Professional Surfing Competitions
Many of Oahu’s top amateur surfers achieve their childhood professional surfing dream by moving on to compete in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) events such as the Junior Mens division and the World Qualifying Series (WQS). Achieving top rank here qualifies surfers to compete with the top surfers worldwide in the World Championship Tour (WCT).
A coveted win in the Pipeline Masters and/or becoming the World Champion is the ultimate goal in competitive surfing. Your name makes history and is etched in the mind of pro surfing fans for years. You’ll be remembered with elite pro surfers like Kelly Slater and the late Andy Irons.
See the ranking of pro surfers at aspworldtour.com.
Want to Go Surfing Hawaii? It’s Not All About Competing!
Of course not all Oahu surfers compete. In fact some don’t agree with the competitive spirit… they just love the shear joy of the ocean, the thrill of riding waves and freedom! It’s an awesome way to stay in shape and affordable too… once you buy the board!
Get in on the local fun, try surfing Waikiki. Look for surf lessons on Oahu at surfboard stands along Waikiki Beach… most rent surfboards and offer surf lessons. Some North Shore surf shops teach surfing too.
WARNING: Do not attempt surfing Hawaii at Oahu beaches without lessons and advice from lifeguards and locals. Even expert swimmers and surfers can and do drown in rapidly changing ocean conditions. The waves are much stronger than they look from shore. Stay safe and heed warnings!
I recommend surfboard rentals at QSB Hawaii owned by former pro surfer Jason Gantz. QSB has awesome prices and is conveniently located across from Hilton Hawaiian Village next to Wailana Coffee House. QSB also offers surfing lessons.
Jason coached the Campbell High School’s Kalaeoloa surf team in the late 1990s helping them take 2nd place in the nation.
Catch some waves and see what surfing Hawaii inspirates in you!