Waimea Bay Travel Guide
Waimea Bay and its famous rock | Photo by Daniel Ramirez
If you’re a surfer looking to push your limits Waimea Bay has some of the most massive waves in the entire world. For this reason, if waves get large enough, the famed Eddie Big Wave surf competition is held at Waimea Bay Beach.
Surfing the Waimea Bay waves | Photo by Anthony Quintano
Of course, Waimea Bay Beach Park is a beautiful destination even if you aren’t a surfer or hoping to attend the spectacle surfing competition. The beach is gorgeous and, during the summer months, the bay is a great place to take a dip. You’ll probably also notice a line of beachgoers waiting for their turn to cliff jump on the nearby rocks. All that and more coming at you in this post!
Waimea Bay Surfing
Surfing at Waimea Bay is only for highly experienced veterans. The waves here are some of the largest most dangerous in the world. During the winter, swells increase to astronomical heights that even professional surfers approach with great respect and care.
Intermediate surfers may be able to catch a few waves during the more calm transition period between the flat summer waters and massive winter swells. If you’re looking for something moderate, we’d recommend visiting in March or October.
Are you brave enough to take on a 50 foot monster wave? | Photo by Fosterand Sons
Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surf Competition
The Eddie Big Wave Competition is one of the most renowned surfing contests in the world. It is named after the big wave surfing pioneer and Hawaiian cultural icon Eddie Aikau. For the Eddie competition to be held, waves must reach a minimum height of 20 feet, so the contest isn’t held every year. Sometimes, waves during the contest can grow to over 40 feet.
If the Eddie competition is going to be held, professional surfers might not know for sure until two weeks or less beforehand. But, when they catch wind of these giant waves, they flock to the contest from all over the world on a moment’s notice.
Waimea Bay Cliff Jumping
When waters are calm the rocky cliff to the left of the beach makes for an excellent cliff jump. You’ll likely see a line of people waiting to take their plunge, but if not, you can find the easiest climb up the rocks to the back left of the formation. Proceed across the rocks to the front right where the waters become deep enough for a jump.
Waimea Bay Weather
Most areas of Hawaii only receive two noticeable seasons. There is a wet winter from November to March when temperatures drop slightly, and a warmer, drier summer from April to October.
Temperatures at Waimea bay do fluctuate a bit more than other regions on the island. In the winter, highs can get down to the upper 70s, while summer highs can reach the lower 90s. Precipitation is also less predictable in this region with summer months sometimes receiving 16 days of rain.
Escape the summer heat and recharge your energy in the shades of trees | Photo by Stefan Ernst
Waimea Bay Parking
Waimea Bay has a public parking lot, but it usually fills up early. However, there are other parking options. Waimea Valley hosts paid parking for the beach at two locations, which costs $10 for the lot located off of the highway and $6 at the valley itself. If you’re looking for parking during the Eddie surf competition, arrive very, very early. Parking will fill up by 6:00 a.m. at Waimea and in the nearby neighborhoods along every single road for miles — good luck!
Waimea Bay Snorkeling
During the summer, when waters become extremely calm, Waimea Bay is an excellent snorkeling destination. At either rocky end of the beach, you’ll find an array of tropical fish thanks to the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District. You might also see Hawaiian sea turtles, or if you’re very lucky, Hawaiian spinner dolphins.
Sunset at Waimea Bay | Photo by Jordan Robinson
Shaka Guide Tour
If you’re looking to experience Waimea Bay and the surrounding area with a bit more guidance, Shaka Guide’s Circle Island Driving Tour takes you to Oahu’s North Shore with stops at Waimea Bay, Waimea Valley and an ancient Hawaiian heiau with a short trail that overlooks the bay. It features three hours of content across 140 points of narration and 26 stops.