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Oahu Beaches
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Mar 14 2011, 10:41 am - By Grapevine

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            &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                            &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                         &nb sp;                 Waikiki Beach


Waikiki,at night when the shadows are falling,

Ihear your rolling surf calling, calling and calling to me.

Waikiki,‘tis for you that my heart is yearning,

Mythoughts are always returning out there to you across the sea.

Yourtropic nights and your wonderful charms are ever in my memory.

AndI recall when I held in my arms, an angel sweet and heavenly.

Waikiki,my whole life is empty without you.

Imiss that magic about you, magic beside the sea.

“Waikiki”by Andy Cummings

©1947by Atlantic Music Corporation.

The magic of Waikiki has been attracting visitorsto its white sands, warm waters, and rolling surf since the late 1800s. One ofthe most famous beaches in the world today, Waikiki's proximity to the city ofHonolulu encouraged its development, and by 1900, many of O'ahu's affluent families,including members of the Hawaiian monarchy, had built large beachfront homes onits shore. In 1901 the first large tourist hotel, the Moana, opened forbusiness, Waikiki's fame having spread nation-wide with annexation in 1898.

In the century that followed, the Waikiki resortarea expanded around the beach to include three square miles of hotels,condominiums, shopping centers, and parks. Bordered on the east by DiamondHead, on the north and west by the Ala Wai Canal, and on the south by Waikiki Beach,Waikiki is the flagship of Hawai'i's visitor industry.

Waikiki Beach includes the two-mile stretch ofshore from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to the Outrigger Canoe Club, a privateclub at the east end of Kalakaua Avenue. Originally a barrier beach between theocean and a large wetland, Waikiki Beach is now almost entirely artificial,having been altered with imported sand and seawalls along most of its length.Early alterations of the shore were attempts to protect the beach homes and toreduce beach erosion.

     Waikiki means “spoutingwater,” and probably refers to the springs that were found in the wetlandsinland of the original beach. The Manoa and Palolo Streams flowed directly intoWaikiki, creating the wetlands, and after heavy rains, Waikiki was oftenseverely flooded. As more people moved into the area, the flooding became asissue. In January 1922, an extensive project was launched to transform Waikikiinto a dry, attractive, and livable community. Known as the Waikiki ReclamationProject, it included dredging the Ala Wai Canal and filling hundreds of acresof wetlands to create residential tracts. The tons of coral dredged during theconstruction the Ala Wai Canal were used to bury the former springs, ponds andmarshes, and by 1927 the newly completed canal was channeling the stream runoffinto the ocean at the west end of Waikiki. The canal became the inland boundaryof Waikiki and paved the way for the resort area's phenomenal growth followingstatehood in 1959. 

Waikiki Beach begins in the west at KahanamokuBeach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village and ends two miles to the east atthe Outrigger Canoe Club on Kalakaua Avenue. Between the Hilton HawaiianVillage and the Outrigger Canoe Club, the shore of Waikiki is backed by thefollowing properties: Kahanamoku Beach Park, Fort DeRussy, the Waikiki ShoreHotel, the Outrigger Reef Hotel, the Halekulani Hotel, the Sheraton WaikikiHotel, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel, the SheratonMoana Surfrider Hotel, Kuhio Beach Park, Kapi'olani Regional Park, includingthe Waikiki Aquarium and the War Memorial Natatorium, the New Otani KaimanaBeach Hotel, the San Souci condominium, and the Colony Surf condominium. High,vertical seawalls comprise the shore east of the Outrigger Canoe Club to theend of Kalakaua Avenue.

The Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel in the centerof beach is the oldest hotel in Waikiki. When it opened in March 1901, it wasknown as the Moana and a night's stay in one of its 75 rooms cost $1.50. TheMoana remained alone on the Waikiki shore for many years until the Halekulaniopened in 1917 and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened in 1927. Today, these threehotels are still the historic anchors in the heart of Waikiki Beach.


Kahanamoku Beach

     In 1955 Henry J. Kaiserconstructed Hawai'i's first visitor resort in Kalia at the west end of Waikiki.He dredged a swimming area and a lagoon out of the shallow reef fronting theproperty, and in 1956 lined them with imported sand, creating a new beach. InMay 1958 the City Planning Commission voted to name the new beach KahanamokuBeach in honor of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku (1890-1968), one of Hawaii's mostbeloved sons. Kahanamoku spent much of his childhood in Kalia at hisgrandfather's home, and it was here that he learned to swim, a skill that tookhim to four Olympic Games. In 1912 Kahanamoku won the gold medal in the100-meter freestyle. He also swam in the 1920, 1924, and 1932 Olympics andremained an active supporter of all water sports until his death in 1968.      

Kahanamoku Beach lies between the Ala Wai SmallBoat Harbor to the west and the Hilton Hawaiian Village's catamaran pier to theeast. A shallow reef protects the beach and provides a popular swimming areafor families with children. Kahanamoku Lagoon is adjacent to Kahanamoku Beachwhere its shallow sandy bottom slopes to a depth of fourteen feet at itscenter. Kaisers, one of Waikiki's well-known surf sites, is on the west marginof the boat channel that passes through the reef.

Publicamenities: equipment rental concessions, parking, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.


Kahanamoku Beach Park

Kahanamoku Beach Park, named after Duke PaoaKahanamoku (1890-1968), is a half-acre, landscaped mini-park on the shore ofWaikiki between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Hale Koa Hotel in FortDeRussy. Located at the end of Paoa Place, a service road that commemoratesDuke Kahanamoku's middle name, the park is opposite the Hilton HawaiianVillage's catamaran pier. Number Fours, or Fours, a Waikiki surf site andwindsurfing site during southerly winds, is directly offshore on the eastmargin of the boat channel.

Publicamenities: restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: snorkeling, surfing, swimming, windsurfing.


Fort DeRussy Beach

     In 1904 the federalgovernment acquired the lands that make up Fort DeRussy and named the site theKalia Military Reservation after the Hawaiian name of the area. Inland of thebeach, the reservation was primarily a wetland consisting of duck ponds andmarshes, all of which were filled during construction of the fort. In January1909, War Department Orders 15 officially established the site as a militaryreservation, and in February 1909 it was named Fort DeRussy forBrigadier-General Rene Edward DeRussy, a member of the Engineer Corps who hadserved with distinction in the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

In keeping with the development of Waikiki as aresort area, the federal government developed Fort DeRussy into a visitordestination for military personnel. Today the fort is the site of the Hale KoaHotel at its west end and the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai'i in Battery Randolphat its east end.    

     Fort DeRussy Beach, anartificial beach that was dredged out of the original rocky shore and linedwith imported sand, is one of the longest uninterrupted sections of sand onWaikiki Beach. Although the beach is part of Fort DeRussy, the public iswelcomed to use it. Several popular surf sites are located on the reefoffshore, including Number Threes, or Threes.

Publicamenities: equipment rental concession, food concession, parking, picnictables, restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: outrigger canoe rides, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.


Gray's Beach

In 1912 La Vancha Maria Chapin Gray rented alarge, two-story beachfront home on the present-day site of the HalekulaniHotel. The home belonged to the J. Atherton Gilman family, and Gray convertedit into a boardinghouse she named “Gray's-by-the-Sea.” A small pocket of sandfronting the boardinghouse, a popular swimming area, was soon called Gray'sBeach.

Gray's by the Sea closed its doors when theGilmans sold their property to Clifford and Juliet Kimball. Earlier in 1917,the Kimballs acquired the Hau Tree Inn near Gray's Beach from Robert Lewers andconverted it into a stylish Waikiki hotel for wealthy vacationers. In the late1920s, they decided to expand and bought the Gilman property, includingGray's-by-the-Sea and an adjacent parcel belonging to Arthur Brown. When theirexpansion project was completed, the Kimballs had acquired over five acres ofprime Waikiki beachfront for their resort, which they named Halekulani, or“house befitting heaven.” Today the Halekulani, with its 456-room hotel, is oneof Waikiki's premier resorts.

An early guest at the Halekulani was Earl DerrBiggers, the author of a murder mystery called “The House without a Key.” Thebook's title came from Biggers' discovery that no one in Honolulu ever lockedtheir doors. The principal character in the story was the celebrated Chinesedetective, Charlie Chan, patterned after a Honolulu detective Chang Apana. Inmemory of the author and his novel, the Halekulani named its seaside bar andlanai The House Without a Key.

Today, Gray's Beach is also known as HalekulaniBeach or Sheraton Beach. A small pocket of sand nestled between the Halekulaniand the Sheraton Waikiki, it is shaded by a single hau tree and still a popularswimming area, especially for families with children. Hawaiians knew this shoreas Kawehewehe, or “the removal,” and they believed that the beach and the oceanfronting it were a place of healing. Populars and Paradise, two of Waikiki'swell-known surf sites, are directly offshore.

Publicamenities: equipment rental concession.

Oceanactivities: outrigger canoe riding, catamaran sailing, snorkeling, surfing,swimming.


Kuhio Beach Park

Kuhio Beach Park lies between the Sheraton MoanaSurfrider Hotel and the Kapahulu Groin. Prior to 1951, the east end of the parkwas fronted by a shallow reef and was called “Stonewall” for the verticalseawall that supported Kalakaua Avenue. The Waikiki Beach Improvement Project,completed in July 1951, changed the area dramatically when James W. Glover,Ltd., constructed a large pedestrian groin into the ocean. Officially known asthe Kapahulu Groin, the pier is an extension of a storm drain that runs underKapahulu Avenue. The project also included constructing the low retaining wallon the Diamond Head side of the groin and importing sand to create the beacheson both sides.

Kuhio Beach Park was named for Jonah KuhioKalaniana'ole, the youngest son of Kekaulike Kinoiki II and High Chief DavidKahalepouli Pi'ikoi. Born on March 26, 1871, at Hoai, Kualu, in the Koloadistrict on Kaua'i, his mother died soon after his birth. He and his two olderbrothers were adopted by Kapiolani, his mother's sister. Kapi'olani and herhusband Kalakaua had no children, so when Kalakaua became king in 1874, he gaveeach of the boys the title of prince.

In 1893, a revolution deposed Queen Lili'uokalani,Kalakaua's sister and successor. In 1895, Prince Kuhio and other Royalistsjoined Robert Wilcox in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Republic ofHawai'i and restore the queen to her throne. Prince Kuhio served one year injail as a political prisoner. He was released on October 8, 1896, the same dayas Queen Lili'uokalani and other Royalists who had also been arrested.

     In 1902, Prince Kuhiowas elected Hawai'i's second delegate to Congress and served until his death in1922. He is best remembered for his efforts to help the Hawaiian people, and in1921 he was successful in establishing the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, ameasure that opened public lands in Hawai'i for homesteading by nativeHawaiians.

     Kuhio Beach Park wasthe site of Prince Kuhio's home, Pualeilani, or “flower from the wreath ofheaven,” where he lived with his wife Princess Elizabeth Kahanu. On July 22,1918, he removed the high board fence around his home and opened this sectionof beach to the public.  When hedied of heart disease at Pualeilani on January 7, 1922, the property was givento the city. It was officially dedicated as Kuhio Beach Park in 1940.

     Waikiki's two famoussurf sites, Queen's and Canoes, are off the west end of the park. Queen's wasnamed for Queen Lili'uokalani, who had a beach home and a pier inshore of thesite, and Canoes was named for the outrigger canoes that are still used to surfits waves today. Waikiki's beach boys also teach visitors how to surf atCanoes, one of the best beginner's spots in Hawai'i. 

     Kuhio Beach Park is thesite of three well-known landmarks, the Stones of Kapaemahu, the DukeKahanamoku Statute, and the Prince Kuhio Statue. The stones represent fourlegendary men, Kapaemahu, Kahaloa, Kapuni, and Kinohi, who came to Hawai'i froma distant land. They were famous throughout the islands for their powers ofhealing and for their great wisdom. The Duke Kahanamoku statue, created bysculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer, was dedicated on August 24, 1990, the 100thanniversary of the Duke's birth. One of the greatest sports heroes in Hawai'i,Kahanamoku is recognized internationally as the father of modern surfing. Thestatue of Prince Kuhio, created by sculptor Sean Browne, was dedicated onJanuary 12, 2002.

Publicamenities: food concession, picnic tables, equipment rental concessions,restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: outrigger canoe riding, catamaran sailing, snorkeling, surfing,swimming.


Queen's Surf Beach

In December 1871, King Kamehameha V proclaimedJune 11 of each year as a public holiday in memory of Kamehameha I, the firstking to unite the Hawaiian Islands. In 1877, King Kalakaua celebratedKamehameha Day by opening a public park in Waikiki that he named in honor ofhis wife, Queen Kapi'olani. On December 31, 2002, the anniversary of her birth,a statue of the queen was dedicated in the park on Kalakaua Avenue near theKapi'olani Bandstand.     

During the early days of the Republic of Hawai'i(1893-98) nearly all of Kapi'olani Park's beachfront was sold to privateindividuals and many years passed before the city was able to re-acquire theproperties. The city's first re-acquisition came in 1908 when it purchased theKunst lot opposite the bandstand in Kapi'olani Park for a public beachfacility. Popularly known as the Public Baths, the facilities included showers,dressing rooms, and a dance pavilion. In January 1931, the aging structureswere torn down, and on November 9, 1931, Mayor Fred Wright dedicated the newPublic Baths, which were hailed as one of the showcases of Waikiki. Thesefacilities served O'ahu residents for thirty more years until they, too, weretorn down. Today, a popular surf site offshore known as Publics, short forPublic Baths, is the only surviving reference to the former facilities.

     In 1946 a beautifultwo-story, beachside mansion next to the Public Baths was converted into arestaurant and named Queen's Surf after the famous surf site in Waikiki. It wassoon one of the most popular nightclubs in Honolulu. The city acquired theQueen's Surf property in 1953, but allowed the restaurant operation tocontinue. In 1961 the SpenceCliff Corporation became the final lessee and ranthe restaurant until the lease expired in 1970. The City demolished the Queen'sSurf restaurant in 1971 to expand Kapi'olani Park, but this narrow section ofWaikiki Beach is still known as Queen's Surf Beach. Sometimes the name isshortened to Queen's Beach.

Queen's Surf Beach is bordered on its west end bythe Kapahulu Groin and on its east end by the Waikiki Aquarium. When theKapahulu Groin was constructed in 1951, surfers promptly named it The Wall. TheWall, often shortened to Walls, is also the name of the adjoining surf site, abreak reserved exclusively for bodysurfers and bodyboarders. The ocean waterswithin 150-yards of it are off limits to board surfers and are marked by a lineof buoys. Cunha's, one of Waikiki's well-known big wave surf sites, is straightout from The Wall.

On June 25, 2003, the City and County of Honoluludedicated a bronze sculpture in the park near The Wall called Surfer on a Wave.Located at the intersection of Monsarrat and Kalakaua Avenues as a monument tosurfing in Waikiki, artist Robert Pashby, designed the sculpture to include aunique wave water feature.  

The Wall marks the west boundary of the WaikikiMarine Life Conservation District (MLCD), which extends east to the WarMemorial Natatorium. The State Department of Land and Natural Resourcesprohibits fishing, possessing fishing gear, and removing marine life in thewaters of the MLCD.

In the park across the street from the KapahuluGroin is a memorial, a raised stone octagon surrounded by a black wrought ironfence. Known as Kahi Hali'a Aloha, or "place of loving remembrance",the site is the resting place for iwi kupuna, or ancestral remains of nativeHawaiians, that have been unearthed during construction projects in Waikiki.Dedicated in December 2001, the burial complex was designed by KeaweKeohokalole, a lineal descendant of the Kalakaua family.

Publicamenities: food concession, picnic tables, parking, equipment rentalconcession, restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: bodysurfing, bodyboarding, fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.


War Memorial Natatorium

     After World War I, theTerritory of Hawai'i decided to erect a memorial to honor the island men whohad lost their lives while serving their country.  The Irwin property next to San Souci Beach was acquired forthe project and in 1920 on Armistice Day, a newly established national holiday,a ceremony was held to dedicate the site. During the late 1920s, City plannersdecided that a natatorium, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, would be a fittingmemorial. At that time all of Hawai'i's competitive swimming events were heldin the open waters of Honolulu Harbor, so an enclosed swimming pool wasconsidered to be a worthy public facility. The pool's length, 100 meters, wasthen the size of an official Olympic pool.    

The swimming area for the Natatorium was dredgedout of the shallow reef and the structure was completed during the summer of1927 in time to host the National Outdoor Swimming Meets. Governor Wallace R.Farrington was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony on August 23, andDuke Kahanamoku, Hawai'i's Olympic champion, opened the pool with an exhibitionswim.

     The Natatorium remaineda popular public swimming facility until it was closed for safety reasons in1979. At the direction of Mayor Jeremy Harris, the first phase of itsrestoration, the renovation of its bleachers, exterior façade, and artwork, wascompleted and dedicated on May 28, 2000.

     The Natatorium marksthe west boundary of the Waikiki-Diamond Head Shoreline Fisheries ManagementArea, which extends east to the Diamond Head Lighthouse. The State Departmentof Land and Natural Resources allows fishing in the management area duringeven-numbered calendar years and prohibits it during odd-numbered years,allowing fish and other marine life to replenish themselves.

Publicamenities: parking, restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing.


Kaimana Beach

A wide pocket of sand, Kaimana Beach lies betweenthe War Memorial Natatorium and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. The beachtakes its name from the hotel, which was named for Kaimana Hila, or DiamondHead. Kaimana Beach is also known to local residents as San Souci Beach, an oldname that goes back to 1884 when Allen Herbert bought several acres of landhere and opened a lodging house. He named it Sans Souci, French for “without acare,” after the palace of Frederick the Great in Potsdam. 

On the morning of December 28, 1902, an importantevent took place at the beach when the steamship Silvertown anchored offshoreafter a 12-day crossing from San Francisco. The Silvertown had layed asubmarine cable from California to Hawai'i and the end of the cable was broughtashore through Kapua Channel in a canoe steered by David Pi'ikoi Kahanamoku, anuncle of Duke Kahanamoku. The cable was the first telegraphic link betweenHawai'i and the mainland, an important event for communication and navigationin Hawai'i. The first message over the new system was sent on January 1, 1903to President Theodore Roosevelt in Washington.  Remnants of the submarine cable, abandoned in 1951 for newercommunication systems, still lie on the ocean floor in Kapua Channel. 

Many local residents consider Kaimana Beach one ofthe best family beaches in Waikiki. Protected by a wide reef, the nearshorebottom is shallow, sandy, and free of strong currents. Open ocean swimmers andkayakers also frequent the beach to access the waters beyond the reef throughKapua Channel, which also leads to Old Man's, a popular surf site.

Publicamenities: parking, restrooms (in the Natatorium), showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming. 


Outrigger Canoe Club

     In 1908, the foundersof the Outrigger Canoe Club leased some Waikiki beachfront property on the westside of the Moana Hotel, their mission to preserve and promote the sports ofsurfing and canoe paddling. The Outrigger Canoe Club remained at its originalsite from 1908 until the New Year's Eve of 1963. Four days later the clubopened its new facilities at its present home on Kalakaua Avenue at the eastend of Waikiki. The Outrigger Waikiki Hotel now occupies the club's formersite.

      The small pocket beach on the shore ofthe present Outrigger Canoe Club was created from sand on the club's property,primarily from the excavation for one of the buildings, part of which isunderground. This beach marks the end of Waikiki Beach. The shore from here tothe east end of Kalakaua Avenue consists of vertical seawalls.

Publicamenities: none.

Oceanactivities: boating, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.


 MakaleiBeach Park

     Makalei Beach Park, asmall, 0.7 acre community park at the base of Diamond Head, lies at theintersection of Diamond Head Road and Makalei Place. Makalei was the name of asupernatural tree that attracted fish. The park, formerly the site of abeachfront home, was purchased by the City and County of Honolulu in 1972. Parkfacilities include showers and picnic tables. The park's shore is a vertical seawall,but a small pocket of sand on its west side is wide enough for sunbathing. Inaddition to sunbathers, the park is a popular access point for a number of surfsites, including Ricebowls, Tongg's, The Winch, Radicals, Graveyards, Suicides,and Sleepy Hollows.

Publicamenities: Picnic tables, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.


Le'ahi Beach Park

Le'ahi Beach Park, a small, 1.3 acre communitypark, lies at the base of Diamond Head where it borders Diamond Head Roadbetween Makalei Place and Beach Road. Formerly the site of a beachfront home,the land was donated to the City and County of Honolulu by the Dillinghamfamily in 1976. Landscaped, but otherwise undeveloped, it is a popular locationfor commercial photographers. The park shore is a vertical seawall. Le'ahi,literally “forehead [of the] ‘ahi fish,” is the Hawaiian name of Diamond Head.

Publicamenities: none.

Oceanactivities: fishing.


Diamond Head Beach Park

Leahiuheuhene                     Thereis Leahi,

Kaimanahilauheuhene,               Diamond Head

Hokukau ale kai a o Mamala uheuhene.     Starof the waves at Mamala Bay.

“Leahi”by Mary Pulaa Robins and Johnny Noble

©1963by Miller Music Corporation.


One of the most famous landmarks in Hawai'i,Diamond Head borders the eastern edge of Waikiki, where its dormant volcaniccrater dominates the shore for miles in either direction. In 1825, Britishsailors saw small sparkling calcite crystals in its beach sand and named themountain Diamond Hill. This name was eventually changed to Diamond Head, “head”a shortened form of headland. Le'ahi, the Hawaiian name for Diamond Head, is acontraction of lae (point of land) and ‘ahi (yellow-fin tuna), and means “point[of the] ‘ahi fish.” The highest peak on the crater rim rises 760 feet abovesea level and from a distance resembles the dorsal fin of the ‘ahi fish. Theresemblance is mentioned in the legend of Hi'iaka, the youngest sister of Pele,the goddess of the volcano.

     The federal governmentpurchased Diamond Head in 1904 for $3,300. Fort Ruger and a number of gunemplacements for coast artillery defenses were established in the 1930s.Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the mountain was heavilyfortified against further attack on O'ahu. Many of the gun emplacements,pillboxes, and fox holes still remain on the crater rim, and one undergroundfacility, Birkheimer Tunnel, houses the headquarters for the State CivilDefense Agency. The entire crater is a state park known as Diamond Head StateMonument. Except for a parking lot and a comfort station, most of the craterfloor is undeveloped.

     Diamond Head Beach Parkis the name of two acres of sea cliff on the south slope of the crater betweenBeach Road and the Diamond Head Lighthouse. A narrow sand beach fronted by arocky shelf lines the shore, a popular tide-pool excursion site.

Publicamenities: parking.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming, tide pooling.


Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park

     Kuilei Cliffs BeachPark lies on the south slope of Diamond Head between the Diamond HeadLighthouse and the residential community of Ka'alawai. It consists of elevenacres of undeveloped sea cliffs that are topped with three drive-in lookouts.Access to the narrow sand beach at the base of the sea cliffs is a pavedpedestrian walkway from Diamond Head Road between two of the lookouts.  Kuilei, the name of a former fishinggrounds fronting the park, is a combination of two words, kui (to string) andlei (garland of flowers), and means “lei stringing.”

The ocean bottom off Diamond Head is a shallowcoral reef, poor conditions for swimming, but ideal for surfing. The reefgenerates surf every day of the year, attracting many surfers from dawn todusk. During periods of strong trade winds, windsurfers line the beach and ridethe waves offshore.

     The middle lookout isthe site of a memorial to Amelia Earhart (1898-1937). She was the first womanto fly across the Atlantic Ocean; the first woman to fly solo across thecontinental United States; and in 1935, the first person to fly alone fromHawai'i to North America. Four years later, in July 1939, she attempted to flyfrom New Guinea to Howland Island, on her way to Hawai'i. Her plane failed toreach Howland Island, and she was never seen again. The monument to honorEarhart was made by Kate Kelly, Honolulu's leading sculptress of the 1930s andwife of noted artist John Kelly.

Publicamenities: parking, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming, windsurfing.



Iwaho makou i Kaalawai la          We were all there on Kaalawai'sshores

I ke i ka nani Kaimana Hila la       Andgazed upon the grandeur of old Diamond Head

Kaumai iluna.                    Somajestic.

“KaimanaHila” by Charles E. King

©1943by Charles E. King.


Ka'alawai, a residential community at the base ofDiamond Head between Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park to the west and Black Point tothe east, is fronted by a narrow sand beach. With a shallow reef offshore,swimming opportunities are limited to small pockets of sand scattered along thebeach. Brown's, one of the south shore's well known big wave surf sites, is offthe center of the beach, outside the reef.

Black Point at the east end of the beach formedwhen a volcanic eruption flowed back against the base of Diamond Head.Hawaiians called the point Lae o Kupikipiki'o, “point of [the] raging sea,” buttoday it is best known as Black Point, a name that describes its dark lava. Atthe bottom of Kulamanu Place, the primary public access to Ka'alawai Beach,freshwater surfaces among the rocks. Ka'alawai means “the watery rock,” and mayrefer to these springs.

Ka'alawai was a famous fishing site for mullet,the ‘anaeholo, a species that formerly migrated in the fall from Pearl Harboraround the east end of O'ahu to La'ie. In 1907 Thomas Thrum described theannual run in Hawaiian Folk Tales, Fish Stories and Superstitions: 

“The anaeholo is a species of mullet unlike theshallow water, or pond, variety; and the following story of its habit is wellknown to any kupa (native born) of Oahu.

The home of the anaeholo is at Honouliuli, PearlHarbor, at a place called Ihuopalaai. They make periodical journeys around tothe opposite side of the island, starting from Puuloa and going to windward,passing successively Kumumanu, Kalihi, Kou, Kalia, Waikiki, Kaalawai, and soon, around to the Koolau side, ending at Laie, and then returning by the samecourse to their starting point.”

In October and November, schools that numbered inthe thousands would begin their journey, and throw-net fishermen from all overthe island would gather along the route to catch them, including on the beachat Ka'alawai. Today, throw-net fishermen still come to the beach, but themassive seasonal schools of mullet have all but disappeared.

     One of Honolulu's mostfamous shoreline landmarks lies at the east end of Ka'alawai, a mansion calledShangri-La, the former home of Doris Duke. Duke was the only child of AmericanTobacco Company founder James Duke and became one of the wealthiest women inthe world upon the death of her father. In 1936, she built a fortress-like homeon Black Point and used it as a retreat until her death in 1993. Today, thehome is maintained as a museum by the Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Art.During the construction of Shangri-La, a natural bay at the foot of the4.9-acre property was converted into a small boat harbor by constructing twobreakwaters. Subject to heavy surge during periods of high surf, the harbor wasnever used for its original purpose. Instead it became a popular swimming andfishing site.

Publicamenities: none.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.



     Kahala Beach is anarrow sand beach that fronts Kahala, the residential community between BlackPoint to the west and the Kahala Oriental Mandarin Hawai'i Hotel to the east.With a shallow reef offshore, swimming opportunities along the beach arelimited to small sand pockets in the reef. The sand pockets at the intersectionof Hunakai Street and Kahala Avenue are the most popular. Collectively known asMothers' Beach, they are often frequented by mothers with young children.Mothers' Beach and the rest of Kahala Beach are accessed by publicrights-of-way on Kahala Avenue and through Wai'alae Beach Park.

     Kahala is the name of adeepwater fish, the amberjack, which is common around O'ahu.

Publicamenities: none.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.



Wai'alae Beach Park

Theahupuaa (land division) of Waialae takes its name from the stone-encasedspring, which may be seen today just above the highway. From the spring runs a streamwhich watered terraces that are now largely covered with grass raised fordairying and by the golf links.


Handyand Handy, 1972.

Wai'alae means “water of the mudhen” and was thename of a fresh water spring. According to tradition, the spring water wasreserved for the ruling chief of O'ahu in this formerly hot, barren area.Kamehameha III (1813-1854), while on a tour around the island, is said to haveasked an old couple living in Wai'alae where he could get some water to drink.The couple was the guardian of the spring and told the king that the onlyreason they stayed there was to guard it and revealed its location to him. Thespring was hidden, sealed by a large stone slab that was covered by pohuehue,or beach morning glory. Today its location is unknown.

     Kapakahi Stream, anintermittent stream, runs through Wai'alae Beach Park and empties into theocean where its waters have cut a wide, sand-bottomed channel through theshallow reef. The narrow sand beach fronting the park is covered with coralrubble from the shallow reef offshore. The park is frequented by picnickers,surfers, and windsurfers. Razors is the name of the surf site on the west sideof the channel.

Publicamenities: parking, picnic tables, restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming, windsurfing.


Kahala Oriental Mandarin Hawai'i Beach

     The Kahala OrientalMandarin Hawai'i Hotel opened in January 1964 as the Kahala Hilton Hotel.Subsequently purchased by the Oriental Mandarin chain in 1996, it was renovatedand reopened in 1998 as the Kahala Oriental Mandarin Hawai'i. During thehotel's construction in 1963, the saltwater lagoon and the beachfront swimmingarea were dredged out of the shallow nearshore reef. The small offshore islandwas constructed at the same time. The 800-foot-long beach was created byshipping 18,000 cubic yards of sand from Papohaku Beach on Moloka'i.

     Kahala is the name of adeepwater fish, the amberjack, which is common around O'ahu. It is also thename of the residential community and beach between the hotel and Black Pointto the west. Hilton's is the name of the surf site fronting the hotel.

Publicamenities: none.

Oceanactivities: fishing, snorkeling, surfing, swimming.


Wailupe Beach Park

     Wailupe Beach Park ison the shore of Wailupe Valley and adjacent to the Wailupe Peninsularesidential community.  Developmentof the valley began in 1924 when Robert Hind purchased 2,090 acres andestablished the Hind-Clarke Dairy. In 1946, after World War II, Robert Hind,Ltd., sold the dairy operation and in 1947 developed the valley into aresidential community known as ‘Aina Haina, literally “Hind's Land.”

Shortly after work on ‘Aina Haina began, theHawaiian Dredging Company began filling in Wailupe fishpond, one of only threefishponds on O'ahu's east shore. In 1932 Gilbert McAllister described the pondin his book Archaeology of Oahu:

The pond is 41 acres in area. The wall isapproximately 2500 feet long. The west side is a broad sandy area, at least 50feet wide, through which four outlets (makaha) now pass. The remainder of thewall is 12 feet wide, with waterworn basalt faced higher on the outside thanwithin. The central part is of dirt and sand fill.

Hawaiian Dredging pumped more than 500,000 cubicyards of coral into the pond, the fill coming primarily from the dredgingoperations that created the adjacent boat channel. The reclamation projectcreated Wailupe Peninsula, a residential community, on the site of the formerfishpond, and a small public beach park, Wailupe Beach Park.

Located on the west side of Wailupe Peninsula, thepark is fronted by a shallow coral reef and is frequented primarily byfishermen and surfers who wade across the reef to fish and surf offshore.Surfers ride a number of sites at the edge of the reef, including Kim's,Wailupe, Bones, Suicides, and Lefts.

Publicamenities: parking, picnic tables, restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, surfing.


Kawaiku'i Beach Park

     Kawaiku'i Beach Park ison Kalaniana'ole Highway at the foot of Hawai'i Loa Ridge. Kawaiku'i, the nameof a freshwater spring at the east end of the park, means “the united water.”One explanation for the name is that the spring is on the beach where its freshwater “unites” with salt water. Another is that Kawaiku'i was where travelers,area residents, and fishermen came for drinking water, so people congregated or“united” at the spring. Kawaiku'i was formerly noted for its limu ‘ele'ele, adark seaweed with fine strands that grows where fresh water mingles with saltwater.

     The beach fronting thepark is a narrow strip of sand, most of which disappears at high tide. Frontedby an especially shallow coral reef, it is a marginal swimming site, but apopular picnic site. Surfers use the park to access several surf sites at theedge of the reef, including ‘Aina Haina, Secrets and Toes. Windsurfers alsofrequent Toes during high tides and periods of strong trade winds.

Publicamenities: parking, picnic tables, restrooms, showers.

Oceanactivities: fishing, surfing, windsurfing.


Niu Beach

Thenarrow trail began at Niu and led through the valley of Kailiiliiki till itwent up a Koolau mountain and down into Waimanalo. It was said that Hawaiianstraveled on this trail from Waimanalo to Niu, and from Niu to Waimanalo. The populationwas large in these places in centuries past. It was about seventy-five yearsago that the Hawaiians stopped using the trail.

Kuokoa,Hawaiian language newspaper

February10, 1922.

Niu, or “coconut,” is one of three large coastalvalleys on O'ahu's east shore between Kahala and Hawai'i Kai. Beachfront homesline the shore of the valley, but a public right-of-way on the west side of NiuPeninsula leads to the narrow sand beach. Fronted by a shallow reef flat, thebeach is used primarily as an entry point for surfers heading out to Blue Holeand other surf sites at the outer edge of the reef.

Niu Peninsula is one of three former Hawaiianfishponds on the shore of Maunalua Bay. In 1932 Gilbert McAllister describedthe pond in his book Archaeology of Oahu:

Kupapa fishpond, Niu. The pond is now filled inand has been used for agricultural purposes. The wall, of waterworn basalt, wasthree feet high by eight feet in width and formed a semi-circle 2000 feet long.It enclosed several acres. The name was given to me by Kalaluhi Akana Kapiiohe.

Construction crews filled the pond in the 1950s tobuild Niu Peninsula.

Publicamenities: none.

Oceanactivities: fishing, surfing.



When Joseph Paiko died on June 1, 1942, theHonolulu Advertiser printed an obituary the following day titled, “JosephPaiko, Son of Early Settler, Dies.” The obituary gave the history of the Paikofamily.

“Mr. Paiko, kamaaina Honoluluan, was born in thiscity on July 19, 1852, and was almost 90 years old. His birth occurred twoyears before the death of King Kamehameha III, who was best known to his peopleas Kauikeaouli and who granted the great mahele or division of lands betweenthe crown, the nobles, and the people.

“Death came to Mr. Paiko at 5:25 a.m. yesterday atSt. Francis hospital after an illness of several years duration.

“Mr. Paiko's father, Manual Paiko, came to Hawaiias a whaler in the 40s of the last century. He was from the island of Pico inthe Portuguese group of the Azores and became known here as “Manual do Pico,”the name in time becoming “Hawaiianized” into Paiko.

“The original Paiko, one of the first Portugueseto settle in Hawaii, in time acquired one half of the ahupuaa of Kuliouou, landwhich runs from the sea to the crest of the mountains which top Waimanalo. Heengaged in cattle raising and was one of the first on Oahu to go into thisbusiness on a commercial scale.

     “The elder Paiko's son,the late Joseph Paiko, after his father's death, engaged in shipping and at onetime owned the schooner Domitila, which he sailed between the islands andengaged in freight carrying. Captain Paiko retired from active work 40 yearsago.

     “Surviving Mr. Paiko isa son, Joseph Paiko, Jr., now in his seventy-second year.”

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