Hawaii’s Famous Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline

The North Shore

The North Shore in Hawaii is known around the globe as one of the most famous travel destinations in the entire world and with good reason. The area has a unique beauty and tranquility all its own, while still offering plenty of opportunity for thrilling experiences and enough adventure for even the most daring of individuals. Much of the growing popularity of the North Shore area can be credited to the worldwide surfing community, which has long appreciated the beaches, big waves, and all the area has to offer.

The area has developed quite a bit in recent years and now has a large variety of shopping, hotels, and restaurants to meet the demand of the almost four million visitors that take the time to enjoy the area each year. Some locals and “traditional” Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline surfers may say the area has a different feel now and will never be the same, which is probably true. However, the mystique and character is still alive and well in the North Shore. All the famous surf sites are still waiting for surfers to experience waves of a size they have probably never even seen before, let alone surfed.

Famous Beaches at the North Shore

Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline are the two focal points in the area for surfers and surfing enthusiasts from across the globe. Both locations offer a surfing experience that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. While there are certainly plenty of good surfing locations around the world, the feel of Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline for surfers can be a life changing experience.

The community, culture, history, natural beauty and the entire package of visions and intangibles that each location offers are truly something special. Even if you are not a fan of surfing, both locations should be on your list of places to experience if you are ever in Hawaii.

Sunset Beach Hawaii

When surfing enthusiasts around the globe hear the words “Sunset Beach”, they can’t help but feel some level exhilaration with visions of big waves and a perfect day of riding the breaks. Sunset Beach is a vital part of the North Shore and the area wouldn’t be the same without it.

Sunset Beach acquired its name back in the early to mid-1920s during a planned development of the beach area. The land was divided into individual beach lots by a real estate developer with plans to sell the lots and build first-class beachfront properties. Thus, the name Sunset Beach was adopted by the developer for the area and from then on the area has retained the name.

The famous surfing area of Sunset Beach is towards the east end and plays host to some of the world’s most prestigious surfing events every year such as the Triple Crown of Surfing. Professional and amateur surfers alike frequently ride the waves all day long at sunset beach as you can find some of the world’s biggest and most exciting waves at this location.

During the winter months is when the surfing really takes off as between October and March is when the waves are at their biggest. It is very common to find surfers of all ages and experience levels at Sunset Beach, some to test their fate against some of the most challenging waves in the world and some simply to observe the scene. Of course, equally as popular and impressive is the Banzai Pipeline.

The Banzai Pipeline

The Banzai Pipeline is not far from Sunset Beach and just as big a part of the historic North Shore history and experience. Some locals call it simply “Pipe” as a nickname and it is located right at Ehukai Beach Park. The Banzai Pipeline is a demanding environment for surfers and well known for some the largest waves in the world with incredibly long tubes that offer a completely unique surfing experience.

The Pipe serves as home to some of the most exciting professional surfing competitions you can find and is a favorite surfing destination for highly experienced surfers from all across the globe. The location was actually named by Bruce Brown, a film director; over fifty years ago while working with several well-known surfers and making a movie. The movie may not have been a hit but the name Banzai Pipeline sure was, as the location has been called that name ever since Bruce Brown uttered the words.

Many refer to the Banzai Pipeline, and actually the North Shore as well, as the “Holy Grail” of riding the waves and the location is often looked upon as a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and experience the waves that have made history.

Surfing at the Banzai Pipeline can be dangerous and is only suggested for the most experienced surfers. The size of the waves certainly provides dangers on its own, but that is not the only element thrill seekers need to be cautious of. The undertow and tides at the location can be very strong and the speed at which the waves come into shore is much faster than most surfers anticipate. This provides a very powerful force, especially once the waves begin to break, particularly in shallow water.

These elements can lead to big trouble for surfers and in extreme circumstances even death. There have been a number of surfers killed while trying to tempt their fate against the powerful waves of the Banzai Pipeline.

However, if you find yourself in Hawaii, the North Shore and both beach locations are an absolute must see. It doesn’t really matter if you are a surfing fan or not as there is something for everyone from surfing fans, sports enthusiasts and even pure lovers of nature. Put the Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach on your “must see” list for your travels in Hawaii.