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Waves of the North Shore Series 3 – Backyards

Blog series for the best surf spots on North Shore: Backyards

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.

Location and Break

Located across the channel from Velzyland/Freddyland and just up the reef from Sunset Beach, Backyards is a bit like a poor man’s Rocky Point. A relatively nondescript stretch of reef that breaks north and northwest swells up into sometimes-serviceable peaks, “Yards” can feature both rights and lefts, although none of them actually break into a defined channel, so there isn’t much predictability behind the waves.

Backyards Northshore


Like Rocky Point, Backyards is best in the two- to five-foot range. Bigger than that, it starts to get a bit unruly—although you will occasionally see hell chargers up the reef at Yards on days when both the swell and crowd at Sunset are maxing out. Once swell hits the XL range, it gets broken up by a largely worthless outer reef situated outside of yards, that is essentially just a wash-through without much shape.

Wind Conditions and Wave Characteristics

Unlike Rocky Point, Yards doesn’t do very well with strong ENE trades. Whereas the left at Rocky’s offers up ramps straight into the ENE air wind, Backyards just tends to blow out and shut down, making it a better proposition on days with light or ESE/SE wind.

While Backyards is often thought of as a small-wave spot (at least relative to the rest of the North Shore), it still packs a punch and breaks over a pretty shallow reef—particularly down at the infamous Boneyards section, which sits right behind Sunset Point. While it is occasionally possible to navigate a wild double-up barrel at Boneyards, most of the time you are just asking to get axed straight on to a boiled-out, nearly dry reef.

Man Surfing

Generally speaking, Yards is a wave for high-performance shortboarders who are looking to escape the crowds at small to medium-sized Sunset Beach and nearby Rocky Point. While it won’t make anyone’s top 10 list of North Shore waves, it’s a serviceable alternative with numerous rippable peaks and the occasional barrel.


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