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.
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Beaches and oceans are dynamic natural environments. Crowd conditions, currents, waves, wild animals, and other water and beach conditions can rapidly change. The risks and conditions shown on this site are informational only and not always real-time. Actual conditions may differ. Lifeguards are not always on duty or available. Always remain aware of your surroundings and exercise due care for your own safety and the safety of others around you.
Always check for water warnings or check with a lifeguard before you swim.