Banzai Pipeline & Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Postcard: Banzai Pipeline & Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach are two of the most famous beaches for surfers and surfing enthusiasts from across the globe. Both beaches offer a surfing experience that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.

The North Shore is considered to be the surfing mecca of the world. Every December, the area hosts three competitions, which make up the Triple Crown of Surfing. The three men’s competitions are the Hawaiian Pro, the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing and the Billabong Pipeline Masters. The Pipe Masters was founded in 1971 and is regarded as the sport’s top surfing contest.

Banzai Pipeline
  • Banzai Pipeline is the most famous surfing spot on the North Shore and is consistently ranked one of the top surf spots in the world.
  • It is located off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea.
  • During winter, massive swells break on shallow reef, making it a dangerous beach for only the best and bravest surfers (and a great place for watching some of the world’s top surfing). 
  • The left wave (which means the wave breaks from left to right from the perspective of a watcher on shore) known as Pipeline (a.k.a. First Reef) is the most commonly surfed and photographed of the four waves associated with Pipeline.
  • The location’s compound name combines the name of the surf break (Pipeline) with the name of the beach fronting it (Banzai Beach). It got its name in December 1961, when surfing legend producer Bruce Brown was driving up north with Californian surfers Phil Edwards and Mike Diffenderfer. 
  • In summertime the waves go flat and you can experience some of the best snorkeling on Oahu.
Photo: Scholtz/ASP
Photo: Daniel Russo
Sunset Beach
  • Sunset Beach is considered one of the longest stretches of rideable surf in the world. 
  • It is located in the land division of Paumalū.
  • It is just a 5 minute drive, 3.3 km east from Banzai Pipeline.
  • It is a 3.3 km stretch of mostly beige sand.
  • In the winter months, you can watch big-wave surfing with swells up to 9 meters tall, along with the world’s premier surfing competitions, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau.
  • Sunset Beach is famous for its big winter surf, but it’s the endless beautiful sunsets in Hawaii that gives it its classic name.
  • Sunset Beach is a fantastic spot for snorkeling during the summer months when the surf tends to be flat.  The sharp jagged pinnacle reefs are fun to explore with a nice variety of colorful fish and Hawaiian marine life.
Photo: Jana Letonja
Photo: vincelimphoto @

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