Waimea Bay

Big-wave surfing in Hawaii has its roots here. The legendary Waimea Bay on Oahu’s fabled North Shore is one of the most famous big-wave surf sites in the world, with waves breaking on its northern point often reaching heights of 25 feet or bigger in the winter months. It’s also home to one of the most unique surfing contests: the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is held here in honor of veteran waterman and lifeguard Eddie Aikau. The contest is only called when waves reach 20 feet or higher. Because of this requirement, “The Eddie,” as it’s affectionately called, has only been held eight times since its inception in 1986. Each year, 28 surfers are invited to participate in the competition. They can’t use any personal watercraft to tow into these waves; they must paddle out entirely on their own. But beyond the surf, the bay is a gorgeous beach, wide and picturesque. While the winter brings huge — and treacherous — surf, the summer months are calm and tranquil, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.