Sandy Beach, Hawaii

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Hawaiʻi Kai's Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach, also referred to as "Sandy's" and known to Hawaiians as Wāwāmalu, is a beach on the southeastern shore of Oʻahu in Hawaii. It is known for its excellent bodyboarding and bodysurfing opportunities due to its peaky shore break and consistent barrels. Consequently, Sandy Beach has one of the highest incidences of water related spinal cord injuries in Hawaii,[1] earning it the infamous nickname, "break-neck" beach.[2] The water is especially dangerous during high surf, when powerful waves break over shallow sand and slabs of underwater lava rock. In certain conditions, strong rip currents are also present. The beach park is located between Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to the west and Makapuʻu Point to the east along Kalanianaʻole Highway.[3]

Due to the geography of Sandy Beach, the surf zone spanning approximately 2,500 feet contains individual surf breaks. This makes Sandy Beach somewhat unique from other shore breaks on Oahu, such as Makapuʻu Beach Park and Waiamea Bay, where the waves largely do not break in consistent locations.

  • At the eastern end of the beach park is Full-Point, an offshore reef break which is surfable by board surfers.
  • Moving west, the next break is Half-Point, which is also an offshore reef break that is closer to shore and more dangerous due to the wave breaking over shallow reef, resulting in a short, hollow tube-ride type of wave. Half-Point breaks both left and right, with the right ending in a channel and the left running into the shore break.

According to the legendary waterman, Mike Stewart, Sandy Beach is the birthplace of progressive bodyboarding.[4]

In October 2014, Honolulu City Council member Stanley Chang proposed changing the name of Sandy Beach to "President Barack Obama Sandy Beach Park." The plans were dropped due to opposition from the public. [5]


  1. ^ "Spinal Cord Injury - Neurotrauma Program". State of Hawaii, Department of Health. Retrieved 2023-10-20.
  2. ^ Barbash, Fred. "Why this treacherous Hawaiian beach, Obamaʻs favorite, keeps breaking peopleʻs necks". Washington Post. Retrieved 2023-10-20.
  3. ^ "Sandy's Beach". Oahu Beaches. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  4. ^ Riptide in Hawaii - The history of Sandy Beach with Mike Stewart, retrieved 2023-10-21
  5. ^ "Honolulu officials drop plan to name Sandy Beach for Obama". Retrieved 2014-10-23.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sandy Beach at Wikimedia Commons