Located on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, Sunset Beach is one of the island’s most famous surf spots.
It was legendary during the 50s and 60s and for a long time, it was thought to be one of the toughest tests in the world.
The history of big wave surfing at Sunset Beach dates back to the late 1930s, when Gene Smith, John Kelly, and Lorrin Harrison tackled the waves on old-school finless surfboards.
Today, the destination is open to surfers from all over the world and welcomes them to the north shore via a series of professional events.
Big Wave Surfing at Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is just a couple of miles away from Banzai Pipeline, another classic surf spot on the north shore.
Just like its big wave sibling, it has a dangerous reef and is best reserved for the most experienced surfers.
The surf wave peaks found at this iconic destination include The Bowl, Val’s Reef, West Peak, The North Wall, Backyards, and Sunset Point.
It has a reef and sand bottom and is also home to hazards such as rip currents and jellyfish, along with average waves of between 6 and 10 feet.
Surfing Sunset Beach is definitely not for the faint of heart!
Contests and Surfers
The Duke Kahanamoku Classic was held at Sunset Beach until 1985 and in the modern era, it hosts parts of the Triple Crown of Surfing.
The co-founder of Quiksilver America, Jeff Hakman, is known as “Mr Sunset” due to his previous performances here.
He was a natural on the waves at Sunset Beach and remains one of the greatest to have ever surfed here.
Joel Parkinson, Michael Ho, Sunny Garcia, and Mark Richards are also among the names to have delighted the crowd at Sunset Beach.