If you're looking to check out Hawaii's famous waves but beat the touristy crowd, head to the North Shore of Oahu. This pristine coastline is famous for its coconut palm trees, clear, warm turquoise water, beautiful white-sand beaches and world-class waves. It's also home to some of the best surfing spots in the world, such as the Ehukai Beach Park, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach.
Ehukai Beach Park is located about 100 yards (91.4 meters) from the Pipeline where waves form an almost-perfect tube. World championship surf competitions are often held here. You can find wave swelling from 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 meters) at nearby Sunset Beach. And Waimea Bay is home to some of the world's largest recorded waves.
During the winter months, waves in Oahu can reach over 25 feet (7.62 meters). As with any big-wave surfing spots, surfing can be extremely dangerous for both the experienced and the beginners. Surf here can quickly rise from 2 feet to 25 feet (0.6 to 7.62 meters) in the course of a day. In fact, during the winter in Waimea, waves have been recorded at 50 feet (15.2 meters). Luckily, Oahu has many guarded beaches, and it's best to ask a lifeguard about conditions. Even the pros do it. But if you want to take a more laid back approach to surfing at Oahu, you can ride the waves near caves full of Hawaiian sea turtles.