PC: Surfline

Right at the end of the Kewalo Basin in Ala Moana on the island of Oahu is one of the most revered bodysurfing spots: Point Panic.  There might not be sand here, but the waves are never-ending.  Point Panic is a premier bodysurfing location on the Oahu's South Shore, and here are all the details you need to know before you jump in and shred.

Bodysurfing Point Panic: The Basics

This spot is especially awesome because it's for bodysurfers only.  That's right.  No boards of any kind are allowed in the water.  Of course, don't be surprised if you see people out there breaking the rules.  It's hard to pass up a hollow right like this.  Point Panic is an exposed reef break where the waves are best during low to medium tide.  The waves break into a channel, which is the reason that these waves are so great.  At least that's what author Rod Sumpter claims in his book, Surfing Hawaii: A Complete Guide to the Hawaiian Islands' Best Breaks.  "It's caused by the outgoing channel rip at 10 miles an hour, while more water holds back the incoming ocean swell at 8mph or so," (Sumpter, 169).

Brian Fannin bodysurfing Point PanicBodysurfing this beauty means you'll be riding a short burst of a wave almost right into a seawall.  This seawall is why the spot is aptly named 'Point Panic'.  Riding these waves will result in a 'point of panic' if you don't bodysurf and maneuver out of the way in time.  The summer months (April to September) offer the best bodysurfing at Point Panic, along with southern swells and northeast winds.

While this is a good spot to catch some waves and get away from the crowds at nearby Waikiki beaches, there's a reason that few bodysurf here.  Be careful of the rocks, weary of stray surfers breaking the "no boards" rule and respectful of the locals that frequent Point Panic.  Despite the dangers, Sumpter explains why bodysurfing at Point Panic is always worth it.  "The barrel hangs in the air, balancing as you slot into the vertical slope and feel the rise of the swell push you out into the clean green-blue face of a perfect right," Sumpter writes, "....and then, it happens -- you free-fall 3 feet down the face of the wave, where the push catapults you out from the barrel" (Sumpter, 169).  Sounds like Point Panic is the experience of a lifetime for bodysurfing enthusiasts and watermen/waterwomen alike.

February 06, 2014

Bodysurfing Spotlight: Point Panic, Oahu

                                                                                                                                   PC: Surfline

Right at the end of the Kewalo Basin in Ala Moana on the island of Oahu is one of the most revered bodysurfing spots: Point Panic.  There might not be sand here, but the waves are never-ending.  Point Panic is a premier bodysurfing location on the Oahu's South Shore, and here are all the details you need to know before you jump in and shred.

Bodysurfing Point Panic: The Basics

This spot is especially awesome because it's for bodysurfers only.  That's right.  No boards of any kind are allowed in the water.  Of course, don't be surprised if you see people out there breaking the rules.  It's hard to pass up a hollow right like this.  Point Panic is an exposed reef break where the waves are best during low to medium tide.  The waves break into a channel, which is the reason that these waves are so great.  At least that's what author Rod Sumpter claims in his book, Surfing Hawaii: A Complete Guide to the Hawaiian Islands' Best Breaks.  "It's caused by the outgoing channel rip at 10 miles an hour, while more water holds back the incoming ocean swell at 8mph or so," (Sumpter, 169).

Brian Fannin bodysurfing Point PanicBodysurfing this beauty means you'll be riding a short burst of a wave almost right into a seawall.  This seawall is why the spot is aptly named 'Point Panic'.  Riding these waves will result in a 'point of panic' if you don't bodysurf and maneuver out of the way in time.  The summer months (April to September) offer the best bodysurfing at Point Panic, along with southern swells and northeast winds.

While this is a good spot to catch some waves and get away from the crowds at nearby Waikiki beaches, there's a reason that few bodysurf here.  Be careful of the rocks, weary of stray surfers breaking the "no boards" rule and respectful of the locals that frequent Point Panic.  Despite the dangers, Sumpter explains why bodysurfing at Point Panic is always worth it.  "The barrel hangs in the air, balancing as you slot into the vertical slope and feel the rise of the swell push you out into the clean green-blue face of a perfect right," Sumpter writes, "....and then, it happens -- you free-fall 3 feet down the face of the wave, where the push catapults you out from the barrel" (Sumpter, 169).  Sounds like Point Panic is the experience of a lifetime for bodysurfing enthusiasts and watermen/waterwomen alike.

Sarah Webb
Sarah Webb

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