While Oahu’s North Shore is home to some of the best surf breaks in the world, island residents know that Honolulu’s South Shore holds its own share of treasures too. Just across the street from Ward Village and miles in either direction are perfect waves for surf and play. Below is a breakdown of some of South Shore’s best ocean breaks, with Ward Village as the starting point.
Straight Ahead: Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park encompasses the view immediately in front of Ward Village. Before it became a popular weekend destination for local residents, the area was a wetland covered in coconut and kiawe trees. It wasn’t until 1931 that the area was designated as Moana Park and debuted three years later to much fanfare, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in attendance at the opening festivities. The park was given its recognizable name, Ala Moana, meaning “the path [to the] sea,” in 1947. Today, that path fronts some of South Shore’s best surfing sites, and it’s not at all uncommon to see surfers walking across the shallow reef to reach such breaks like Courts and Concessions, named for the landmarks they front, and Big Rights, immediately to the right of Concessions.
Just West: Kewalos
A favorite of two-time world-champion surfer Carissa Moore, Kewalos is located just west of Ala Moana Beach Park and directly in front of Kewalo Basin Harbor, which will become a gathering place for the community (Check out our Kewalo Basin Harbor celebration here. The break’s name means “shark’s hole,” because sharks occasionally frequent the boat channel that separates Kewalos from popular bodysurfing spot Point Panic, just off Kakaako Waterfront Park. Make sure you’re familiar with this spot before paddling out, especially at dusk, when sharks are most active. With a variety of good right and left breaks, Kewalos is great for surfers of all kinds, from stand-up paddleboarders to bodysurfers to shortboarders and longboarders.
Looking East: Diamond Head
Found at the base of an extinct volcanic crater, Diamond Head Beach Park provides a long stretch of sandy beach accessed by a paved trail leading from the road down to the shoreline. Hawaiians named the iconic landmark Leahi, meaning “brow of the tuna,” likely for its resemblance to a tuna’s dorsal fin. It wasn’t until the 19th century, when British sailors mistook calcite crystals they found on its slopes for diamonds, that the landmark was given its iconic name. Today, the spot is a favorite for surfers of all skill levels and provides some of the island’s best wind and kite surfing. On many a blustery day, colorful sails can be seen skimming across the water or soaring high into the air.
Image by John Hook