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Bodysurfing at Sandy Beach

The first wave after a lull.

Ah, Sandy Beach. The most beautiful sandy bottom beach on the Southeast side of Oahu. It looks peaceful and serene here, but those who know this beach know that this is not the typical scene.

The general public.

This is the typical scene. Utter chaos.

A competitor in the adult men’s heat.

But on Saturday, some of the chaos was controlled. There was a bodysurfing competition and the islands best bodysurfers charged this infamous shore break.

Most of you probably know where it is, but if not, you can get to Sandy Beach (or just “Sandys”) by driving Eastbound for 25 minutes from Town. It’ll be the first beach you see after you pass Hanauma Bay. If you’re looking for somewhere to swim and sunbathe, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. There are many better beaches for that. The parking lot is always full here, it’s not good for swimming and it’s swarming with genetically perfect local youths that will (unless you too have sub-5% body fat) make you feel like a fatty.

But if you surf, this place is awesome. And if you’re a bodysurfer or bodyboarder, this place is epic.

I cruised out here for a morning BBQ with some friends. The waves were too big for my taste on this day. I had my fins in my car and that’s where they stayed. My camera on the other hand got some good use. Check out the full post to see pics of some local men and women bodysurfers.

Typical of Hawaii, when I left Town in the morning it was pouring rain. When I got to Sandy Beach, it looked like this.

The surf was up.

I showed up at around 8:45 and the comp was already going.

I grabbed a seat next to the other spectators.

The caps let the judges know who is whom. People don’t usually wear them in Hawaii. I think the rule is: the big guy gets pink.

Guys from one of the men’s heats march to the break.

This is what they are marching in to.

Guess there’s only one thing to do … charge ’em.

An air horn blows to start the heat and the bodysurfers get busy.

There are 4 to 5 bodysurfers in each 15-minute heat.

That tan color in the wave is sand. This bodysurfer is dropping into water that’s 1, maybe 2 feet deep.


If you get caught in the wrong spot on a wave, it’ll suck you up and over and slam you into the water. It’s called going “over the falls” and it sucks.

Sliding down the face.

While this all looks crazy, you can tell by the expression on the competitors face, that he knows what he’s doing.

The girls came out to play too.

The waves picked up for a bit when the women’s open heat started.

Getting shacked.

She let this one pass.

But got a better one.

While the competition water-marshals kept the main break clear, there were plenty of waves for everyone else. This is just to the right of the comp break.

Plenty size too.

Awkward moments in bodysurfing.

Sandy Beach will do that to you. (She was fine, just a little shaken up from a wipe out.)


  • Get there in the morning so you don’t have to worry about parking.
  • Don’t swim unless you know what you’re getting yourself into. Not only are there mean waves, there’s a strong rip current.
  • The sun sets behind Koko Head a couple hours before the actual sunset and beach gets shady and chilly. Another reason to arrive early.
  • If you’re a tourist, you’ll stand out majorly. Just saying.

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This story was last modified on May 18, 2013. (Originally published in May 2011.)

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