Sandy Beach

Looking out from atop their tower, the lifeguards have the best view of Sandy Beach.  The most consistent surf on Oahu.  It catches wind swells, south swells and north swells.  You can surf it over three hundred days a year. Sandys is mostly known for its shorebreak and, for the inexperienced, the power can be not only incredible but incredibly dangerous, as well.  Sandys incurs more spinal injuries than any other beach in the United States:  about one a month, on the average.  It's ironic that Sandys is a place that should be attempted only by those who know the ways of the ocean well plays host to many inexperienced visitors.  Sandys demands respect and caution.

Sandy Beach is the epic center of bodyboarding.  Jack Lindholm, J.P Patterson, Pat Caldwell, and Ben Severson grew up surfing here everyday.  Other pro riders have migrated to Sandy's after cutting their teeth at other spots most notably the Wall in Waikiki.  Such names like Keith Sasaki, Kainoa McGee, Dean Marzol, Kavan Okamura, Jacky Buder and others.  With Mike Stewart coming from Kona to round off the heaviest crew anywhere.  With all this talent in the water in one place it's no wonder Sandys has and will continue to produce world class talents like Seamus Mercado, Haouli Reeves, and Shawnee Oide to name only just a few.  Sandys offers such a variety of waves all year long that it is an ideal training ground.   In this one 1/4-mile stretch of beach there are actually seven different breaks, each with its own characteristics.

Working your way from left to right, looking toward the ocean, the first place you come across is Gas Chambers a completely unforgiving break that has more water in the lip than the rest of the wave.  After a guillotine-like lip has split the water, the resulting explosion is often twice the height of the wave.  It is a generally unmakeable but incredibly exciting, three-second ride.

Middles is next.  It's a peak that caps on a reef, creating a mushy, bumpy takeoff that soon hits the shorebreak and hollows out quite nicely.  Middles is at its best when it's three-to-four-feet.

Cobbles is a right and left with a strong rip moving through the line-up keeping the crowd down.  Cobbles gets it's name from the small to medium stones that are often mixed with the sand bottom.  It's best for bodysurfing and bodyboarding, but is also increasing in popularity with the skimboarding set.

Pipe Littles is a left-hander breaking over a very shallow, lava rock reef.  It barrels over the reef, and then flattens for a second just before jacking up on the shorebreak.  This is where all the kids practice and learn about Sandy's power.

Half Point is the shallowest reef at Sandys.  Breaking left and right, it's very deceptive.  On a good day it has more power size for size than any wave I have surfed.  Although it can only handle up to three feet of swell it allows for extremely radical maneuvers.                     

Full Point is dominated by surfboards.  On days when the whole island is flat, Full Point will still be a couple of feet and surfable.  On the other hand when the conditions are right it offers long lefts, up to eight feet.           

Last, and definitely least, is Generals, which only breaks at five feet or bigger, and is usually nothing more than a bouncy, straight-off ride to the beach.

An average day at Sandys goes something like this:  The mornings are peaceful and quiet.  The sun rises right off Molokai as Shorty, the fisherman, is casting in the Gas Chambers area.  Royal soon arrives, to take care of the park and clean up the beer bottles from the day before.  By nine-thirty the lifeguards are set up and ready, and there are twenty people in the water.  The crowd increases steadily, tourists and locals alike, until about one o'clock.  All the kids are in school so it's still easy to get waves.  This is when the Sandy Beach main men are out in force.  By three o'clock, all the kids are out of school and in the water.  They are the lifeblood of Sandys, and they carry with them the future of bodyboarding.  With this spot acting as bodyboarding headquarters, the young guys get to watch and learn, then go out and push each other to new heights.  Soon, most of the tourists have left.  The parking lot is still full, but the crowd in the water has been pared down to the more serious riders.  By six o'clock, everything's pretty quiet.  Only the regulars are in the water, enjoying the last few waves before dark.  Just another day at Sandys.