The Overwhelming North Shore

Sunset Beach. Photo: Bill Cleary
Woody Brown
Rabbit Kekai. Photo: Clarence Maki

Froiseth, Kelly, and a few others also began making day trips out to the North Shore, after hearing stories from visiting California surfers Whitey Harrison and Tarzan Smith about a powerful reef break near Haleiwa Town. The North Shore was about the same distance from Waikiki as Makaha, but much easier to get to: drive straight across the island on the well-paved Kamehameha Highway, through the cane fields and past the tent rows at Schofield Barracks, then bear right, about one mile inland, ...

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The North Shore squared up directly against both incoming waves and storms, which meant bigger waves, plenty of rain, stronger winds. A vast network of reefs began at the water’s edge and moved seaward in an irregular progression for up to a mile offshore, with breaks often shingled one on top of the other. It was overwhelming, particularly in the early years.