6 Lame (but rad) Surf Spots On The North Shore
Words by Craig Jarvis, Photos by Spencer Suitt Surf media likes to elaborate on the drama of the Hawaiian winter. Drownings at Pipe, closeout sets at Waimea, violent locals, death at Alligators, The Volcom House, ice heads on the bike path, and the equally scary Foodland. But this is a ploy to keep people away […]
Words by Craig Jarvis, Photos by Spencer Suitt
Surf media likes to elaborate on the drama of the Hawaiian winter. Drownings at Pipe, closeout sets at Waimea, violent locals, death at Alligators, The Volcom House, ice heads on the bike path, and the equally scary Foodland. But this is a ploy to keep people away and forever ill-informed about this miraculous little stretch of reefs and channels and sand bars. Behind all this theatre, there are actually a number of run-of-the-mill and fun little surf spots where any surfer, from shit to average in skill-set, can have some delightful North Shore sessions.
#partywave… here a grom there a grom.
When the swell is down, a wonky little righthander forms up on the point at Waimea Bay, and trickles along the rocks before dying out in deep water about halfway through the bay. When small it is a pathetic little wave, frequented by girls, longboarders, SUPs and hardcore big wave surfers swimming across The Bay in training for the Eddie or the next Superbowl Sunday 40-foot closeout session. It’s only tolerable because of the perpetually warm water, and the easy paddle out, and if push came to shove you could honestly say one day to your kids that you paddled out at The Bay.
Andy Irons whips on the inside while Ford Archbold pops on the outside at Gums.
Just to the right of Pipe, looking out, Gums is pretty much the smaller, toothless version of Pipe. On a west swell Pipe can be 10 feet and Gums two feet. Also frequented by bikini chicks and bodyboarders, it is a safe, sand bottom wave and the type of place that you can paddle out on a warm day and catch more waves than probably anywhere else on the North Shore. It’s pure quantity over quality here. The best thing about Gums is how to get there. If you stand directly in front of Pipe and launch, on your 7’8” or whatever your supposed Pipe board is, the rip will wash you so fast towards the east that you can just kind of stroke a few times and be away from the fear of the Pipe reef and in the warm embrace of the gentle Gums lineup, while still being able to tell your kids one day that you ‘paddled out at Pipe.’ There’s a bit of a theme developing here.
Mr Jack Freestone making the most of a leftover section.
This surf location, breaking mainly left, (duh) used to be the go-to spot for every average surfer and longboarder on the North Shore. That was before a decent sized shark came and ate a poor fellow’s leg off recently, and it instantly became one of the heaviest spots on the North Shore. It’s generally a soft left-hander with a big flat wall on the outside and a little zippy section on the inside, and it’s one of the places that your car will get ripped because you can’t see it from the water, but it’s really not worth a surf if you’re at any sort of risk of a shark attack.
The blood orange clouds set the sun on Hiromi Hasegawa’s session at Kammieland.
On a small to flat day at Sunset Beach, a little left and right reef called Kammies starts showing a few little corners. It’s a soft wave, and you’re going to do a lot of cutbacks, but it’s generally a mellow vibe out there. Rule of thumb on the North Shore: the shitter the wave, the mellower the vibe. There are also usually a couple of groms, a few longboarders and quite a crew of young girls surfing out there, and everyone is relaxed. A far cry from a legitimate Hawaiian wave, the best thing about surfing Kammies is that you can paddle out from the Sunset channel and drift across, therefore being able to legitimately tell your girlfriend that you paddled out at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
One fine day at Army Beach.
If you keep going past Haleiwa, heading out towards Kaena point, and as you marvel at the sprawling tent cities, the living dead meth-head junkies stumbling along side the road and sizing you up as if for supper, you’re heading down towards a decent sized beach called Army Beach. There are a few waves down there, including a lefthand pointbreak kind of wave without a real name and then an open beach called Army Beach. It’s a decent-sized stretch with shifty little waves here and there depending on the tides and the sandbars, and for some reason it feels sharky. Might be because of the unsophisticated local tent city down the road using that very stretch.
Kalani David practicing dance moves at turtle bay.
There are actually a couple of mediocre waves around the hotel, including one righthand pointbreak on private land reportedly owned by Fast Eddie (you can see it from the lobby coffee shop), but the main Turtle Bay surf spot is the point wave that breaks directly in front of the hotel gym and wraps into the bay. The wave is a soft, fading closeout that is frustratingly weak, irritatingly crowded and one of those places that you just don’t want to acknowledge having ever surfed. The other bummer is that there is a perfect jump spot on the point, but the hotel security doesn’t let anyone jump it because of possible liability. You have to walk all the way down to the beach, and tread over the coral for a hundred metres at low tide before you can get paddling. Even worse is the fact that while you’re paddling out at this poor excuse for a real wave, the best surfers in the world are usually at the beach bar or on the grass verge overlooking the wave and having a Bikini Blonde Lager or a rum-based cocktail and glowing in their recent World Title win, Triple Crown victory, Pipe Masters trophy or qualification for next year’s World Tour. While you do the ignominious paddle of shame, you can listen to them chinking their Mai Tais and laughing at their good fortune and their glorious lives.
Fear And Loathing in Mainland Mex
Parker Coffin, Harry Roach, and the Roark crew embark on an authentic Oaxacan (surf) trip.
While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay
...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.
Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?
Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.
Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers
An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.
PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua
Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.
Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine
Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.
The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo
Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.
The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast
Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.
Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”
"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…
How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months
Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.
Sweeter Than Stolen Honey
A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.
15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event
And Clay Marzo takes the dub.
Are We Looking At Reef Sculpting The Wrong Way?
The pros, cons, possibilities, and mechanisms of changing reefs to suit our surfing desires.