North Shore Oahu Surf Contests to Watch

Updated April 2024

Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and by default competitive surfing. Even people who are not fans of the World Surf League (WSL) plan their vacations around the Billabong Pipe Masters and the hoopla surrounding the events of the VANS Triple Crown. They are major tourism draws. But after a tumultuous 2020-22 the schedule has been thrown for a loop, and visitors are uncertain about where and when events will take place for 2024 and beyond. Fret not, because we have the inside scoop to make sure you don’t miss out on contests that happen to coincide with your plans to visit the North Shore.

Note: The calendar of events below begins with the winter “surf season” on the North Shore, which starts in late October of each year.

Updated Schedule of Pro Surfing Competitions Taking Place on the North Shore of Oahu this Year

Sunset Pro

Where: Sunset Beach

When: October 28 to November 6, 2024

The Sunset Pro is a World Surf League Qualifying Series event. Consequently, there won’t be many “big” names in the competition when compared to the others on this itinerary of North Shore surf contests. That being said, do you have a better way to spend the day on the island than by watching local wave warriors battle it out at one of the most iconic surf spots on the planet?

Haleiwa Pro

Where: Ali’i Beach Park, Haleiwa, Oahu

When: November 26 to December 7, 2024

North Shore Surf Competitions

The WSL cancelled the Haleiwa Challenger (pictured above) for 2023 and for the foreseeable future. The Haleiwa Pro has replaced the Challenger event as a Qualifying Series (QS) contest that is worth only 1000 points towards making the big league. The stakes may not be as high, but any surf contest in Haleiwa in the winter is a welcome addition to the schedule

Vans Pipe Masters

Where: Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: December 8-20, 2024

Back in August 31 2022, VANS announced the return of the Pipe Masters, which is a departure from the WSL WCT Billabong Pro Pipeline that is instead scheduled for the beginning of the new year (view below). VANS is introducing a new format to include equal representation for Hawaiian surfers. Before, they plucked competitors solely from the WCT and WQS, with only a few wildcard slots being afforded to island locals. Furthermore, they have opened up the competition to women. VANS has also changed the judging criteria that will reward moves beyond barrel riding. Attendees will witness high-flying antics and much more at this season’s Pipe Masters. Don’t miss it!

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

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

When: January 3 to 23, 2025

UPDATE: Unfortunately it was just announced that the VANS Triple Crown will once again be digital. That said,your favorite pros will be out filming at all three stops during the event period. Will we ever see a return to the iconic VANS Triple Crown of Surfing? The month-long event traditionally includes the Hawaiian Pro at Ali’i Beach, the VANS World Cup at Sunset Beach, and the Billabong Pipe Masters. Given the shake-up of late, we don’t think it will be back to what it was. Regardless, we’ll leave the listing here as it is, in the hope that it will become a part of the North Shore surf competitions agenda one day.

North Shore Surf Competitions
image: @marcus_ocean
North Shore Surf Competitions

The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational

Where: Waimea Bay, Haleiwa

When: December 8 to February 28 (each year)

North Shore Surf Competitions

The “Eddie” is the most meaningful of all surf contests. The Eddie Big Wave Invitational honors the life of Eddie Aikau, a champion, lifeguard (who saved over 500 people), a waterman, and a ohana-man who ultimately gave his life to save others. For all that Eddie had accomplished on this earth, he was perhaps best known for braving Waimea Bay waves in excess of 30 feet or more, when no one else would go out. That’s why the contest is only held when waves reach a height of 30-feet (Hawaiian) and when conditions allow. In doing so, the event also celebrates the current lineage of big wave surfers. While it can be hard to plan a trip to the North Shore when a contest is solely dependent upon Mother Nature, you should check out the Opening Ceremony which is held on the first day of the contest waiting period.

Billabong Pro Pipeline WSL Championship Tour Event

Where: Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: January 29 to February 10, 2025

This is different from the new VANS Pipe Masters event that has been added to the schedule for December 2023. As far as we’re concerned the more Pipeline, the better. The WSL has slotted the WSL Championship Tour event into the tail end of January, which typically equates better swell and ultimately bigger and more consequential waves. This is spectacular from a spectator perspective, so plan your days on the North Shore accordingly.

Da Hui Backdoor Shootout

Where: Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: January 4-16 2025

The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout offers a unique take on the Pipeline surf contest concept. It begins with eight teams of four before whittling down to the finals. Further unlike WSL surf contests, which have a 10-point ride at the top of the scoring scale, the Backdoor Shootout recognizes that there needs to be room for those extra-throaty barrels, and therefore adjusts the scale to include 12-point spitters. Organizers awaited permit clearance until the last minute for 2024, but have now been cleared with an early to mid-January holding period. The event will run, thanks in part to new local sponsor Ke Iki Beach Bungalows.

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach WSL Championship Tour Event

Where: Sunset Beach

When: February 11-23, 2025

After cancelling the Sunset Beach WCT contest in 2021, the WSL announced the official date and waiting period for the highly anticipated event for 2023, which is once again carrying over into the 2024 season. Spend Valentine’s Day (potentially) on the sands of this legendary spot and fall in love with professional surfing all over again.

Volcom Pipe Pro

Where: Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

When: February 2025 (exact dates TBD)

Considered by some to be the best surf contest at Banzai Pipeline, the Volcom Pipe Pro runs each annum, but was sidelined three years in a row thanks to you-know-what. It is expected to return for 2024, but Honolulu City Council will have to cut some red tape to make it happen. We’ll be among the first to find out, so stay tuned as you’ll be next in line.

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  16. Are they having the Eddie event this year,? What day will the opening ceremony will be, 12/1/22??
    Someone had mention the 14th?

    • Aloha! The Eddie opening ceremony is supposed to run on Dec 1 BUT they called a last minute switch last year to Dec 3. I expect the same may happen again this year. Be prepared for it anywhere between Dec 1-5. The 14th is doubtful due to the running of the VANS Pipe Masters which (waiting period) runs through that date.

  17. Are there any pro surfing events (or recommended places to watch pro surfers train) on North Shore, Oahu between November 12 and 19, 2022? Thank you!

  18. Hello! What does it mean when you say the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is digital?

    We would love to go to a surf competition and we’ll be on Oahu from Jan 15-28.

    • Aloha Amanda! It means that aside from the VANS Pipe Masters, the rest of the Triple Crown (Haleiwa and Sunset Beach portions) will be judged by competing surfers video entries from “free surfs” (no scheduled time/day). But there’s enough going on in Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb that you’ll likely catch one of the events on the North Shore.

  19. Debbie Chase says:

    We are on island 11/29 and leaving 12/3. Which event(s) are best to watch this year?

    • Aloha Debbie! The Haleiwa Challenger will be running during you’re stay. Come on over to Ali’i Beach Park to check it out (when it’s running).

  20. I liked the way the Triple Crown of surfing was staged in previous years. Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline. Why did they stop having the contest in this order and going digital do you think they will ever change it back in the near future?

    • Personally I miss the old format too. I don’t think it will return anytime soon. There was a dispute between VANS (who owns the Triple Crown) and Billabong (who owns the rights to the WSL’s Pipeline event). Red tape, etc.

    • Aloha Chris! Nothing during that time frame, but if there’s swell all of the pros will be out at Pipe to prepare for the event to come. Sometimes (often) that’s more entertaining to watch 😉

  21. Aloha, are there any larger events to watch from dec 26 – Jan 2 2023? If so where – Sunset? Thanks or any other island happenings during that week ? Thanks so much – Is New Year’s eve a big event on the North Shore? Thanks so much

    • Aloha Mary! The are no surfing events during that date range. Your best bet for NYE on the North Shore is the New Year’s Eve Lobby Soirée at Turtle Bay Resort. Beyond that, plenty of locals will be igniting the North Shore skies with fireworks. It’s always fun on this side of the island during the Holidays, even if subdued compared to the bustle of the South Shore.

  22. Aloha I’m coming 12/21 -28 … where to go to catch some action contest or no .. just wanna watch the boards shred some gnar. 1

  23. Hey! We are planning a trip between Feb 15-25 2023. When and where would be our best bet to find some amazing surfing? (First timers 🙂

  24. I’ll be on Oahu from Jan 6 through 18. Any surfing competitions and where? My first time in Hawaii!

    • Aloha David! I heard that the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic would be on this winter, but have not received confirmation. Will shoot Mark C (tied for greatest bodysurfer of all time) a text and get to the bottom of it. Stay tuned….

    • Aloha!
      Here from January 8th-29th!
      Best beaches/dates to find some great competitions?

      • Aloha Sydney! All contest periods are referenced above. Unless they run the “Eddie” (hit to miss) there are no organized events in your window.

  25. Monique says:

    Hi all
    Is there an email list to get updates for the Volcom Pipe Pro (Banzai Pipeline) dates get posted? We’ll be visiting Oahu 3/3 -3/5 and would love to see all the fun! Thx

  26. Amber Gusti says:

    Hello, we are planning to be in Oahu for our wedding Dec 26th 2023 to Jan 6th 2024, are we likely to catch a north shore surf event? What dates during this period would be most likely ?

  27. Tim Ward says:

    We are staying in Honolulu 5-11 April from the UK and would love to catch a surf competition at the north shore or anywhere else on the island. Anyone help with any thoughts please.

    Thanks Tim

  28. lisa Chambers says:

    how far out are the waves “setting” or where can we find this information at? We will be in Hawaii North Shore Jan 22-29 and we need to figure out if a 500 MM lens is needed for taking pictures – way out- if waves are setting far away from the beach. We will be near Sunset Beach and Waimea area

    • Aloha Lisa! Pipeline breaks close to shore. Waimea is fickle, and Sunset breaks much further out so you’ll need a better lens for the latter. Since you’re not going to be here during the contest/s, be sure to head to Ke Iki Beach for up-close (be careful) photos of big waves.

  29. Any tips for spectators for Billabong Pro Pipeline? (Parking, arrival times, etc.) So excited, but can’t find any info on parking or start times. This will be our first time watching on Oahu.

    • Aloha Joanna! If the event is expected (no guarantees) to be called on for the day, you will need to already be on the North Shore at 6:30 AM to get parking. The best bet is to park at Shark’s Cove and make the 20 min walk (or 5 min bus ride) to Ehukai Beach Park. The odds of getting parking on a day of the event-running are slim to none. If coming from Waikiki, you might consider an early Uber ($60-80) as to be honest – driving and parking on a contest day is brutal. Come early, stay late, or you’ll be stuck in traffic forever.

  30. Connie Sawatzky says:

    We are looking at trips to Hawaii possibly April May Oct or Sept 2023. When are waves most prominent on North Shore?

    • Billabong Pro Pipeline will be on. Of course, it’s contingent upon waves/conditions. Right now, it looks like it could run Monday (Jan 30) then probably not again until after Feb 3rd.

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  32. Kelley says:

    Hi we will be in Oahu only a few days following a cruise, Oct 4-6. Is there anything happening during that time that we can see?


  33. Originally I thought that I found a competition that started on 11/26/23 north shore, but now I am not finding anything listed. Is there anything happening while we are there 11/26/23-11/28/23? Was hoping to see some competition.

  34. Brent Hamman says:

    Hi. My wife and I would love to attend the Billabong Pro Pipeline WSL Championship Tour Event. I see it is scheduled for Jan 29, 2024. Should we book hotels or are those dates tentative? Thanks!

    • Aloha Brent, please excuse the delayed reply. This one snuck by us. The waiting period is set in stone. The Pipe Pro typically takes four to five days to complete, so even if you don’t book until two days after the event window has opened, you’ll catch the heats that count as long as your stay runs through to the event window conclusion. And what’s wrong with a full two weeks on Oahu anyways??? 😉

  35. Leda SEDLOCK says:

    Aloha Brent,

    Are there any surfing events on Oahu Dec 25 – Dec 30, 2023?

    Mahalo in advance!

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