Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sandy Beach

Oahu's Sandy Beach is known all over the world as a top body boarding and bodysurfing spot. It's also known for its unfortunate high proportion of ambulance calls.

Sandy Beach, or Sandy's, as the locals refer to it -- is a wide golden sand beach that lies at the base of Koko Crater, which, at 1,208 feet, is the highest crater on the shoreline of Oahu. On its west end is the famous Halona Blowhole. Those mountains lead down to Sandy Beach with a moderately steep, sloping foreshore. However, what Sandy's is truly famous for is the ocean bottom that drops quickly beyond the shore to overhead depths. The quick change in depth creates steep, hard-breaking waves that form a pounding shore break. Many of the experienced shore break bodysurfers (locals and tourists alike) find that its waves have no equal anywhere. Be careful though if you're a newcomer. The locals will make it look so easy at times that many newcomers often seem to get hurt trying to emulate them.

Those Sandy breaks are the reason that this beach is so popular, and at times, slightly crowded. Shore break builds up quickly forming a tube that's perfect for an adrenaline-boosting fast ride. For the amateurs, the best time to test your skills at Sandy's is when the waves are two to four feet. Anything higher than that and you're advised to leave the water to those most experienced. Annually, Sandy's wins in the most injuries category, so it's smart to obey all posted warning signs.

If you're not looking to test those waters skills, this beach still gets a high rating at almost every other level including sunbathing and people watching. At the north/east end of the beach, waves also break on a rocky point and further offshore there's an outer reef that provides a base for local fishing. There's also a large kite-flying area on the east side of the beach with well maintained grass and a couple picnic tables. The beach is located only about 20 minutes from Waikiki and the beautiful drive along Oahu's east coast is a pleasure in its own. It is rare not to see crystal clear blue waters along your drive. The trade winds keep Sandy's comfortable and cloudless on many days so make sure you apply plenty of sun block.

There are no shops or restaurants near so pack a picnic unless you want to take your chances with the local lunch wagon. There are public restrooms and cold water showers to rinse of the sand when you are finished for the day. Parking is free but can get crowded, especially on the weekends.

Link to lots more Sandy Beach fotos

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Most of my favorite Oahu places for surfing, hiking and hanging out. The list has to include Waikiki and Honolulu but mostly centers around the Hawaii Kai - SE side of the island