Current conditions at Makapuʻu Beach Park

Beach & Nearshore

Caution

Approach the water with caution. Be aware that ocean conditions can change. This is the safest level of nearshore conditions.
Primarily for beachgoers and surfers

Offshore

Caution

Be cautious and maintain alert for choppy seas, currents, and breaking waves. Users of kayaks and other unpowered craft must be aware of strong wind, wave, and current conditions that can carry you offshore, and are capable of changing unexpectedly.
Primarily for boaters and kayakers
Learn more about these rating signs and alerts. Ratings updated Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 3:15am

Weather

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76°F
Overcast
Winds South at 6.9 MPH (6 KT)

Surf

SURF ALONG EAST FACING SHORES WILL BE 2 TO 4 FEET THROUGH TUESDAY.

Recommended Activities

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Amenities

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  • picnic tables Icon
  • restrooms Icon
  • showers Icon
  • The Bus Icon
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Beach ID: 48

Makapuʻu Beach Park is also known as

Makapuʻu Point State Wayside Park

Getting There

Makapuʻu Beach Park is located on the Oahu Windward (East) Shore.

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Background

Makapu’u Point, the easternmost point on O’ahu, is the site of the Makapu’u Lighthouse. At the base of the sea cliffs below the lighthouse, pounding surf has formed a large sea cave. A black stone with eight protrusions resembling human eyes once stood on a ledge near the cave. This stone was said to have been the kinolau, or physical manifestation, of a supernatural woman called Makapu’u, literally “bulging eyes.” In a November 1925 article in the Hawaiian language newspaper Hoku o Hawaii, the stone was described as follows:

“A hula expert had said that she had seen the stone of Makapuu with her own eyes and it layed close to the point that bears her name. It was a real stone and on the head were lumps of black stone like the haole’s coal. They resembled human eyes.” Although the name Makapu’u still remains, the Makapu’u stone disappeared many years ago.

Makapu’u Beach in the lee of the point is one of the most famous bodysurfing beaches in Hawai’i. When the coastal road between Sandy Beach and Waimanalo was completed in the 1930s, beachgoers from all over O’ahu began finding their way to Makapu’u to ride its waves. The Waikiki Surf Club held the first bodysurfing contest on August 16, 1953. Makapu’u became such a popular bodysurfing beach that board surfing was prohibited by regulation of the State Department of Transportation. Bodyboards and paipo boards are permitted, but only if they are less than three feet long and have no bottom fin.

Makapu’u Beach, a pocket of sand about l,000 feet long, is bordered by the high sea cliffs of Makapu’u Point and a point of lava rock that houses its showers and restrooms. Seasonal high surf causes dramatic changes in the width of the beach. During the summer the beach is wide and the ocean is usually calm. During the winter high surf erodes the beach, exposing large rocks in the pounding shorebreak, and generates powerful rip currents. Lifeguards make many rescues here every year.

This description is from John R. K. Clark’s book - Beaches of Oahu (Revised Edition) published and available for purchase from the University of Hawaiʻi Press. We thank John R. K. Clark for providing his beach descriptions for use on this site.
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