Hawaii Beach Safety

HAWAII BEACH SAFETY

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There was also a trail called Kumaipo, that led up and then down to Makaha. The trail, Kumaipo, went down to the farms of Makaha and the homes of that land. People going on this trail could go down to those level and flat lands. There was also a canoe landing there, a sandy one, for there is a fine sand beach.

Kuokoa, Hawaiian language newspaper

Articles by John Papa Ii, 1868-1870.

Makaha, or “fierce,” is the name of one of the largest valleys on the O’ahu’s leeward coast. Makaha Beach Park, a narrow 21-acre park, lies on the shore of the valley. The park and its sand beach are bordered on the west by Kepuhi Point. Kepuhi, or “the blowhole,” the site of a blowhole at the end of the public right-of-way on Maka’u Street, is also known as Makaha Point.

Makaha Beach is famous worldwide for its surfing waves. During the winter surf season waves up to 25 feet high break off Makaha Point, providing some of the most challenging big waves in Hawai’i. Attracted by these waves, the Waikiki Surf Club established the Makaha International Surfing Championships in 1952, the first of the many international surfing contests that are now held in Hawai’i. One of the most popular events still held at Makaha is Buffalo’s Big Board Contest, an annual contest named in honor of Makaha lifeguard and surfing legend Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana.

When the surf is up, Makaha is also famous for its powerful backwash and rip currents. When the ocean is calm, scuba dive boat tours frequent Makaha Caverns, a series of arches, caverns, and overhanging ledges outside of the surfing area. One of O’ahu’s most popular dive sites, its location is marked daily by the positions of the boats moored offshore.

This description is taken from John R. K. Clark's book - Beaches of Oahu (Revised Edition) which is published by University of Hawai'i Press and available from University of Hawai'i Press. We thank John R. K. Clark for providing his description of Hawaii's beaches to improve beach safety.