Spot Check - Haleiwa

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“When you’re in the lineup watching sets come from Avalanche and reforming at Hale‘iwa, you’ve got to really take your mind and put it in your pocket when it’s like that. Hale‘iwa is a serious wave when it’s on and it’s big and west. Those are the days when a lot of guys go to Sunset and Pipe. Very few would challenge Hale‘iwa. Rabbit took me down there a few times and it scared the bejesus out of me! It’s a wave to be reckoned with. You’ve got to have everything down pat to be right. It’s got so much rip pulling you out to sea and once you get past the takeoff spot the only way back in is to get annihilated back to shore and start again.” —Gary Elkerton

Ali‘i Beach, at the end of Historic Hale‘iwa Town, is home to the Reef Hawaiian Pro, the first stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. This technical and powerful right-hander is the ultimate venue for surfers to transition to the mid-winter power of the North Shore. It is a slab of sharp reef that exhibits characteristics of Sunset Beach and Pipeline, but with a few challenges of its own.

Joel Centeio  Photo: ©ASP/Cestari

Much like the raging ocean currents that sweep across Sunset Point, Hale‘iwa is famous for a strong rip that keeps surfers paddling fervently just to stay in position for the waves. With big open faces and a fast bowling section, Hale‘iwa also offers the potential for surfers to showcase the most progressive above-the-lip aerial surfing.

2011 Reef Hawaiian Pro Champion Taj Burrow, can he go back to back.  Photo: ©ASP/Kirstin

Hale‘iwa is undoubtedly the genesis of surfing’s greats on the North Shore. With its playful shorebreak and annual menehune contest, almost every homegrown Hawai‘i surfer can trace their involvement in the sport to a humble beginning at Ali‘i Beach. This wave is a right of passage and the perfect training ground for charging the North Shore’s heavy, intimidating and extra-large surf. Hale‘iwa can hold its own when the surf gets huge and this big-wave seasoning is a home-court advantage for local surfers looking to post a big result and gain precious momentum going into the next two events.

Photo: ©ASP/Kirstin