Hang Loose - Surfers´ Paradise

The exact origin of surfing is unknown, but most historians believe that the Polynesians were already well versed in the sport by the time they migrated to the

Surfer at Maalaea Bay
Surfer at Maalaea Bay
© HCVB / Kirk Aeder
Hawaiian Islands some 2,000 years ago. Early Hawaiians called surfing "he'e nalu", which literally translates to "wave sliding". During this time, only high-ranking alii had access to the best surf spots. King Kamehameha himself was said to be an avid and skilled surfer.
Surfing really took off in the early 1900s. Riding boards made mostly from hewn redwood and balsa wood, early surfers risked their lives to take on these giant waves.

Surfboard Rack
Surfboard Rack
© HCVB / Joe Solem
Today, thanks to a number of modern innovations and inventions, the surfing population on the North Shore has exploded. Wave riders and spectators from around the world gather here from November to February hoping to catch that perfect wave. Winter wave heights can get as high 20 feet, with faces up to 50 feet! This extreme surf is for experts only, however, and even then conditions are considered highly dangerous.
Although winter on the North Shore may not be the best time and place to learn how to surf, the summer months provide safer, saner conditions.

Surf Events

  • Morey Bodyboards Worldchampionship: North Coast Oahu, January
  • Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic: Historic Surf Boards, Makaha Beach, Oahu, February
  • Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational: Waimea Bay, December
  • O'Neill Invitational: International Champioships, Hookipa Beach, Maui, March/April
  • TDK/Gotcha Pro: Sandy Beach, Oahu, July
  • Triple Crown of Surfing: North Coast, Oahu, November

"Eddie would go"

The Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is held in memory of Eddie Aikau — a legendary surfer who died in 1978.

Eddie was born to a large and exceptionally close Hawaiian family. He wasn't much of a student and dropped out of high school to work and focus on surfing, succeeding in becoming a champion known for his prowess on immense waves. He also found the perfect job as a lifegurard, assigned to the North Shore, and knew Waimea Bay, renowned for being a placid playground and merciless killer.

When the voyaging canoe Holulea was rigged for its maiden voyage to the Marquesas, sparking the movement that would be called the Hawaiian Renaissance, Aikau was a natural choice for the crew. He hung back from the first voyage, but was picked for the second crew.

Battling fierce weather, the canoe swamped before it even left the Hawaiian Islands. Aikau, who lugged along a board so he could surf in Tahiti and run watery errands, offered to paddle for help. That was March 17, 1978 and he was never seen again.