Riding the Waves: Exploring the Iconic Waikiki Surf Breaks

Waikiki, the world-famous beachfront neighborhood on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is synonymous with sun, sand, and, of course, surfing. For surf enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, Waikiki is a dream destination offering some of the most iconic surf breaks in the world. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the legendary surf breaks of Waikiki and explore what makes this place a mecca for wave riders.

Jamie O'Brien Surf Experience in Waikiki.

  1. Queen’s Surf Break:

Queen’s, named after Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, is perhaps the most celebrated surf break in Waikiki. Located right in front of the historic Queen’s Surf Beach, this break offers gentle, rolling waves that are ideal for beginners and longboarders. The consistent, mellow waves here make it a perfect spot to take your first surfing lesson or enjoy a relaxing longboard ride. The picturesque backdrop of Diamond Head adds to the charm of this surf break, making it a favorite for both locals and tourists.


  1. Canoes:

Just a short walk down the beach from Queen’s, you’ll find Canoes, another iconic surf break in Waikiki. Canoes, aptly named after Duke Kahanamoku’s legendary surfboard, is known for its long, slow-breaking waves. This break caters to all skill levels, from beginners to experienced surfers looking for a smooth, cruisy ride. Canoes is particularly popular for tandem surfing, where couples or surf instructors and students ride together on a single board, showcasing the spirit of aloha and unity in Waikiki’s surf culture.


  1. Pops:

Further along Waikiki Beach is Pops, a break named in honor of George “Pops” Ah Hee, a revered Waikiki beach boy. Pops offers more challenging waves compared to Queen’s and Canoes, making it a great spot for intermediate surfers looking to progress. On the right swell, Pops can deliver some long rides, and when the waves are smaller, it remains a reliable spot for learning and honing your skills. Its proximity to the Waikiki Wall, a protective seawall, makes it a bit less crowded than the breaks closer to the shoreline.


  1. Publics:

Located farther down Waikiki Beach near Kapiolani Park, Publics is known for its consistent and well-formed waves. It’s often less crowded than the breaks in the heart of Waikiki, making it a hidden gem for surfers seeking a quieter session. Publics can offer both left and right rides, catering to surfers of various preferences. Surrounded by lush greenery and the scenic backdrop of Kapiolani Park, it’s an excellent spot to enjoy nature and some great waves.


  1. Threes and Fours:

Just beyond Publics, you’ll find Threes and Fours, named for the numbered surf breaks along this stretch of Waikiki. These breaks are favored by more experienced surfers due to their more challenging conditions. Threes typically offers longer rides with a left-breaking wave, while Fours has a shorter, right-breaking wave. Both breaks can provide thrilling rides, but they are better suited for those with some surfing experience under their belts.


  1. Diamond Head:

While not located directly in Waikiki, the surf break at Diamond Head is within easy reach and deserves a mention. Diamond Head offers a more challenging wave for experienced surfers, with larger swells and powerful breaks. Surfers paddle out near the iconic Diamond Head Crater and enjoy rides along this picturesque coastline. The panoramic views and the thrill of conquering these waves make it a rewarding experience for those looking for a bit more adventure.



Waikiki’s surf breaks offer something for everyone, from beginners to seasoned surfers. The combination of gentle, consistent waves, stunning natural beauty, and the rich history of Hawaiian surf culture make these breaks truly special. Whether you’re taking your first surf lesson, gliding on a longboard, or seeking thrilling rides, Waikiki’s surf breaks beckon you to join the ranks of those who have come to experience the aloha spirit and the joy of riding the waves in paradise. So, grab your board, paddle out, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Waikiki surfing.