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West Side Oahu Surf Guide: Tracks, Makaha, Ewa Beach & More

The West Side of Oahu is home to the most beautiful sunset spots on the island and some of the most luxurious resorts. 

The culture here is quite localized, but as with any place, respect is earned and not given. 

Be open and polite, and you will have no problems with locals on the West Side.

Oahu's West Side Surf Guide 

Waves in Oahu's West Side 

The West Side has everything from longboarding long open-face waves to peaky and bowly waves that can get quite heavy. 

Due to the shielding of the Ka’ala mountains, the West Side is typically well shielded from wind and often blows offshore from the East.

Surf Culture at Oahu's West Side 

Culture and surfing are intertwined in Hawaiian culture. The two are embedded into the ancient and modern Hawaiian lifestyle. 

Chiefs and nobles would ride Olo boards, which were around 16 feet in length. 

Commoners would ride Al’aia boards; both kinds of boards were made from Wili Wili, Ula, and Koa trees. 

This was almost entirely stripped from the Hawaiian people by colonizers coming to the islands and claiming it as their own. 

Today, much of this culture is trying to be revived, and locals/natives embody this culture.

Gear Needed to Surf In Oahu's West Side 

Hawaii, in general, is one of the best places to surf in the world, and the warm water makes it even more enjoyable. 

Don’t think that it is an entirely inviting place to surf, for when the waves get overhead high, it does get heavy and sketchy. 

You can find longboardable waves at Ewa Beach, primarily on the West Side, but all spots can be longboarded if the waves aren’t pumping. Shortboarders will have a blast in this paradise of surf.

Remember, respect is not given; it is earned.

The Best Waves in Oahu's West Side 

Spot 1: Tracks

Located north of Electric Beach Park and right in front of Tracks Beach Park is the Tracks Break. It is an exposed beach and reef break, typically with lefts but can have both that run into the sand. The best wind is NE, swell from W/SW, and mid-tide.

Spot 2: Makaha

Makaha has a rich history and culture that should be read up on prior to surfing the break. It has four breaks: Point, Bowl, Blowhole, and Inside Reef.

The point break sits off Kepuhi Point, with the subsequent breaks stretching south along the beach. Not for beginner surfers, as the localism here is quite heavy.

The ideal conditions are swells from NW/SSW/SW, wind from NNE/SE, and medium to high tide.

Spot 3: Ewa Beach

Ewa Beach is an exposed reef break that sits on Mamala Bay, just east of Pearl Harbor. It can be a mellow wave for surfers of all levels, both shortboarders and longboarders.

Ideal conditions are swells from SE/SW, wind from WNW/N, medium tide, and size from shoulder high to double overhead.

The various peaks are spread throughout Mamala Bay and hold lefts and rights with a mix of wedgy and open-face waves.

Spot 4: Yokohama Bay/Keawa’ula 

Yokohama Bay is home to white sand beaches with the backdrop of the Ka’ala rainforest and mountain range.

The break sits in front of Keawa’ula Beach and is a left-handing rolling wave that can get bowly with occasional barrels.

The best swell direction is NW/SSW/SW, wind from ENE/NE, and tide medium going high or high going medium.

There is a small lot situated near the middle of the beach on the side facing the mountain.

Spot 5: Barber Point

Barber Point sits right in front of the lighthouse in the industrial area of Kapolei.

It is a long paddle from the beach, but once you are out there, it isn’t bad.

The break offers various peaks for all levels, depending on the size. The ideal conditions are SE/SW swell, NNE/ENE/NE wind direction, and medium tide.

What To Do In Oahu's West Side When the Waves Are Flat 

Besides catching the best sunsets on the island, there are various activities to do on the leeward side (west) when the waves are flat. 

You can hike the Waianae Mountains, bring the kids to spend the day at the Aulani Disney Resort, and relax on the quiet and pristine Maili Beach. 

If you are looking to scuba dive or snorkel, head to Electric Beach, as the water is warmer and attracts more sea life due to the nearby power plant.

The Bottom Line: Surfing in the Oahu's West Side 

The leeward side of Oahu is breathtaking, with golden sand beaches, clear blue water, and endless hikes through the various mountains that tower over the shoreline. 

Check surf forecasts and buoys to know how the various surf spots will be. 

It is thought that the leeward side is not welcoming to visitors, but that could be farther from the truth. 

Locals just don’t want people coming in and taking advantage of the area. Treat the area and people with respect, and you will be just fine.


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