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Waves of the North Shore Series 10 – Ke Iki

Blog series for the best surf spots on North Shore: Ke Iki

This winter, Hawaiian South Shore will be presenting a series of blogs about the best surf spots on the North Shore, sharing a bit of their history, how they break, and what makes them tick. From small longboard waves to the original big wave spot—not to mention the deadliest barrel on the planet—the Seven-Mile Miracle has it all. Whether you are new to the Country or have surfed these waves your entire life, join us as we dive into the best spots on the North Shore.

Ke Iki Beach Hawaii

Ke Iki: The Deadliest Barrel on the Planet

On a coastline known for having some of the best waves in the world, Ke Iki is certainly not one of them—unless, of course, you are a pro bodyboarder or suicidal bodysurfer who thinks mutant shore breaks are the definition of epic.

Breaking just north of the rocky lava outcropping that lies between Sharks Cove and the beach stretching all the way down to Sunset, Ke Iki is a spectacle in every sense of the word. Pretty much every day of the year, there are scantily clad influencers posing on the beach and rocks photos, taking advantage of the scenic backdrop and the best sunset views on the North Shore. But between October and April, when north swells consistently buffet the coast, Ke Iki turns into another sort of freak show. 

Oahu's Gnarliest Shore Break

The sand bar sits three feet from the shore and twists incoming swells into some of the thickest, deadliest shore break on the planet. From 2 foot to 10, this virtually unsurfable, backless “wave” heaves itself onto dry sand, the multi-level lip thicker than the actual barrel below it. Oahu is home to three of the most dangerous shore breaks in existence (the other two being Sandys and Waimea Shorebreak), but Ke Iki is unquestionably the gnarliest of the three.

Over the years, a handful of the world’s heaviest chargers have built reputations around Ke Iki. Clark Little spent his formative years riding Waimea Shorebreak on a surfboard (no one is really sure why), but eventually took his shore break game to Ke Iki, where he created an entire career (and a generation of imitators) by lying on the sand with a water housing and shooting freakishly beautiful images from inside the twisted barrel. His images have been exhibited just about everywhere (including the White House), and Clark now has his own store front in Haleiwa Town, where his photos sell for prices almost as heavy as the wave they depict.

Multiple-time bodyboard world champion Andre Botha has also spent a lot of time packing closeouts at Ke Iki, although he does so on a bodyboard instead of a with a camera. Some of the heaviest drops ever made have involved Botha and Ke Iki, and it’s really sort of a miracle he hasn’t broken his neck yet.

Jamie O’Brien loves freak shows (in fact, that was the name of one of his first surf films), and he was instrumental in bringing stand-up surfing to this freakiest of wave with his quiver of soft tops. Every grom under 20 years of age seems to copy JOB, so the lineup at Ke Iki was quickly overrun by surfers on soft tops, turning the circus into a full-time affair. But maybe the most successful stand-up ride at Ke Iki was by Tahitian waterman Matahi Drollet, who paddled into an actual makeable wave two winters ago during a weird week when the sand bar at Ke Iki almost resembled a real wave.

Whether you are looking for eye candy, carnage, or a chiropractic adjustment, Ke Iki is the best place on the North Shore to find it. Head down next time you feel like doing something novelty—just make sure you have the skills and the health insurance to handle it. 

 

MORE TO READ📚🔎

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 1 – VELZYLAND

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 2 – SUNSET BEACH

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 3 – BACKYARDS

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 4 – PIPELINE

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 5 – ROCKY POINT

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 6 – PUPUKEA

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 7– EHUKAI BEACH

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 8 – OFF THE WALL

WAVES OF THE NORTH SHORE SERIES 9 – LOG CABINS