Beautiful Waimea Beach marks the start of the North Shore and the rolling swells that attract big wave riders and pro surfers from around the world. Divided by the outflow of the Waimea River which is ideal for tubing, the golden sands are punctuated by rocks at the south end of this pretty cove, including the huge Waimea Rock which is popular for scrambling up and jumping off.
A part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District, the bay includes an eroded coral reef with some hardy wave-resistant corals that sustain a variety of marine species. The shallow waters quickly drop over a ledge to a sudden depth of 20-feet or so. However, the ever-present North Pacific Swell means the waters are rarely clear enough to see what inhabits the depths.
While the summer months have generally calm waters, the winter months produce turbulent currents and dangerous wave conditions at times.
The scenic bay is overlooked by beach houses and the landmark Mission Church of St Peter and St Paul. There’s a convenient car park and grassy area at the clifftop Waimea Beach Park. It’s always popular when the surf’s up with spectators watching some of the best surfers in the world compete on waves that often exceed 30 feet. In fact, the road is sometimes closed when wave action is particularly rough as the waves wash right over the highway!
Pay your respects at the memorial to legendary Oahu surfer Eddie Aikau who risked his life as a local lifeguard, saving over 500 people during his career. His presence lives on at the annual Eddie Aikau Big Wave Challenge that takes place in Waimea Bay each winter.
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