2023-2024 North Shore Surfing Spectacle: Catch the Wave at Hawaii’s Premier Surf Contests

Hawaii, renowned as the birthplace of surfing, hosts a variety of prestigious surfing events each year, drawing both enthusiasts and casual spectators. For those planning to visit Hawaii’s North Shore and wanting to catch some of these exciting surf contests, here’s the latest schedule for the 2023 season:

Sunset Pro

Where: Sunset Beach

When: October 28 to November 6, 2023

The Sunset Pro stands out as a notable event in the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series. This means you might not see as many renowned surfers as in other North Shore competitions. However, what could be more exciting than spending a day in paradise, witnessing local surf talents showcase their skills at one of the world’s most legendary surf locations?

Haleiwa Pro

Where: Ali’i Beach Park, Haleiwa, Oahu

When: November 26 to December 7, 2023

For 2023 and the foreseeable future, the World Surf League has discontinued the Haleiwa Challenger. In its place, the Haleiwa Pro now features as a Qualifying Series (QS) contest, offering 1000 points for surfers aiming for the major leagues. While the point value may be low considering the prestige of the contest venue, any winter surf competition in Haleiwa is a much-anticipated event and a valuable inclusion in the season’s lineup.

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

Where: Ali’i Beach Park / Sunset Beach / Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: January 3 to 23, 2024

The VANS Triple Crown will continue in a digital format. During this period, top surfers will be capturing their performances at all three iconic locations. The future of the traditional VANS Triple Crown of Surfing, which historically encompasses the Hawaiian Pro at Ali’i Beach, the VANS World Cup at Sunset Beach, and the Billabong Pipe Masters, remains uncertain amidst recent changes. While it may not return to its former glory, we maintain its mention here, optimistic that it might once again become a key feature in the North Shore surfing events calendar.

The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational

Where: Waimea Bay, Haleiwa

When: December 8 to February 28 (Annually)

The “Eddie” stands as the most poignant among surf contests. This prestigious Eddie Big Wave Invitational pays tribute to the legacy of Eddie Aikau, a revered lifeguard credited with over 500 rescues, a celebrated champion, a dedicated waterman, and a family man who sacrificed his life for the safety of others. Eddie’s most notable feat was his daring conquest of Waimea Bay’s towering waves, often exceeding 30 feet, at times when others wouldn’t dare. Consequently, the competition is uniquely scheduled: it takes place only when the waves at Waimea Bay reach a minimum of 30 feet (as measured in Hawaiian scale) and conditions are favorable. This event not only honors Eddie’s memory but also shines a spotlight on the contemporary heroes of big-wave surfing. While timing a visit to the North Shore to coincide with this nature-dependent contest can be challenging, the Opening Ceremony, held on the first day of the waiting period, is a must-see event.

Pipe Pro Pipeline WSL Championship Tour Event

Where: Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: January 29 to February 10, 2024

This contrasts with the newly introduced VANS Pipe Masters event scheduled for December 2023. In our view, more action at Pipeline is always a plus. The Pipe Pro Presented by Yeti will not disappoint. The World Surf League has timed this Championship Tour event for late January, a period often associated with superior swells and thus, larger and more impactful waves. From a spectator’s standpoint, this promises an incredible experience. Therefore, it’s advisable to align your North Shore itinerary to make the most of this spectacular surfing showcase.

Da Hui Backdoor Shootout

Where: Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: January 4-16, 2024

The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout presents a distinctive approach to the Pipeline surf competition format. It starts with eight teams, each comprising four surfers, and narrows down to the final rounds. Unlike the World Surf League contests, which cap their scoring with a perfect 10-point ride, the Backdoor Shootout acknowledges the need to accommodate extraordinary performances, especially for those deeply impressive barrels, by extending its scale to include scores up to 12 points. For 2024, the organizers secured permit approval at the eleventh hour, setting an early to mid-January window for the event. This year’s competition is set to proceed, notably supported by the new local sponsor, Ke Iki Beach Bungalows.

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach WSL Championship Tour Event

Where: Sunset Beach

When: February 11-23, 2024

Following the 2021 cancellation of the Sunset Beach WCT contest, the World Surf League has confirmed the dates and waiting period for this eagerly awaited event in 2023, which is also extending into the 2024 season. Consider spending Valentine’s Day at this iconic location, where you might just rekindle your passion for professional surfing amidst the stunning backdrop and thrilling action.