The island of Oahu is a very special place, maybe my most wanted place to travel to since I discovered the sensational gift of riding waves during my early teens. The North Shore of Oahu is the birth place of surfing, nestled on it is “The 7 Mile Miracle”, a place with a diverse amount of wave types all clustered off the Kamehameha Highway. Here are also of the most dangerous and biggest waves in the world.

“A surfer is not complete until he rips/surfs in Hawaii” – Shaun Tomson, 1977 World Champion, Surfers the Movie.

Flying in:

I did not expect this trip to happen, I had work lined up in the States and the night before I left for the US, I stumbled upon a swell chart for Sunset Beach Oahu. It was late March and I knew all the crowds and heavy locals would not be a factor as it always is from November to February season when the Aleutian juice comes alive. (In summer its dead flat). There’s nothing more depressing to a surfer than a flat ocean or a bumpy onshore one.

I basically packed with 24 hours notice, no training, no step up / big wave boards and worst, the inability to hold my breath for some time.

Skyteam Priority as a Delta Platinum.


From Mainland USA its relatively easy to get to Honolulu, its even easier if you have miles as taxes are but a few dollars. From New York I used Delta as they also have some decent perks for their Platinum members. Hawaii is classified as Domestic / Regional even thought its halfway in the Pacific.

Delta’s lounge in New York. As its a ‘domestic’ flight the Platinum status does not get one access.. weird I know, but having an American Express Platinum Charge card does.

Landing in HNL.

OMG! Is it really Hawaii !!! and a full 12 hour time difference to South Africa.

First stop: Avis Car rental, boom, credit card declined. Had to wait for hours for SA banks to open to get it rectified, turns out whilst trying repeatedly to connect to on-board wifi for a $1 and getting error’s the bank auto cancels it for possible fraud. Frustratingly this also happened in New York due to a certain hotel group being loaded with a malicious card read virus.

Long story short when all was fixed all they had left was a Convertible, and this would make it my first in car rental history to get yet alone a complimentary upgrade to it. All smiles, there’s always sunshine at end of a rainbow when blended with a bit of patience.

Moana make wayyy

Places to stay:

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The start of Waikiki.

I initially booked Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki that also seemed to have a decent rate on points. There are so many brands here as Waikiki is one of the 5 most famous beaches in the world. Booking on points saves the taxes and as you may know taxes in some countries abroad is heavy.


The Upgrade.

As a Diamond guest I received an upgrade to the top floor in a Corner Ocean View Room. This came with a couple of vouchers and a Breakfast credit of $20.

PS3 with complimentary game rent vouchers.



That’s my pad right ontop left corner.

My $20 credit got me this + an omelette.

Soaking up some Hawaiian AM rays.

Off to The North Shore.

I sent a text to one of South Africa’s top professional surfers who has many Hawaiian seasons under the belt for advice on hotels as I could not pick up anything except a Marriott that was too far away on the East Coast side. No luck stay in Bed and Breakfasts on the beachas  there are no hotels except The Turtle Bay Hotel I was told. I had a look on Air BnB and went to see a place at Pipeline next to the current World Champions house John John Florence, eeeee turns out it was a room shared with the owner with communal use to kitchen, bathroom and lounge + they had some other bodyboarders in the other spare room. So off it was to book Turtle Bay via Rocketmiles to at least score some miles back on spend.

Finally. Been dreaming of this day since 1992.

Landing on the North Shore was not what I expected, 4 days prior they had heavy down pours resulting in the magnificent blue colour ocean changing to brown, a really ugly milo-like brown. This would be the colour for days if not weeks on end. Nevertheless as long as there’s waves, surfers will surf will get done regardless of hail, snow or chocolate colour water..

The Turtle Bay.

On check in I politely asked for a Vistana upgrade and was granted it, this was such a score as these top level rooms go for so much more as they include a concierge lounge and snacks with drinks.

Date with destiny – Off to surf Sunset Beach.

I made a huge mistake at breakfast, over eating and trying out everything not thinking in a hour I’d be paddling some of the worlds hardest waves.

Sunset Beach seemed like the right option for the day, Pipeline hell no, Rocky point was empty and Waimea had a few out too.

Sunset breaks really far off the shore.

Pulled up and this guy was paddling out. This is how you surf in Hawaii- Big board and helmet to protect your head from bashing into the shallow reef.

Me.. nice 6’3. That’s all nerves on face like never before.


So leashing up my 6’3 surfboard I could feel trembles in my legs, have not had this feeling in 20years and during paddling out I’m trying to practice holding my breath, this was the hardest ever, I couldn’t even do 10 seconds where on land I can usually do a minute plus.

Fear factor, nerves, stress, wild brown ocean, big wave men galore on the bowl and then it appeared.

A wave stood up and came straight at me close on the inside bowl, I swung around, paddled hard, got in and OMG the thing hollowed out and I couldn’t see any water down of the wave, for sure I was gona die, I put all my weight on the back foot and somewhat got to takeoff but half way down my front foot lifted up, for sure I was definitely going to die now, but for some miraculous reason and the inner voice saying ‘ stay calm’  the front foot planted back on the board on the bottom off the wave, I got my balance took a deep breath as the adrenal glans were maxing me out and swooped into a bottom turn through the section into a huge walled up wave all the way to the channel. Kicked out standing tall, big smiles. I done it. Now I want more.

Turns out I almost rode over a Ozzie surfer dropping down the wave with one foot on, he came over and tried to give me words as he must of gotten hammered by that wave. I just casually told him Im in awe, that’s my first ever Hawaiian wave dude and he must paddle wide, where I’m from we do late drops like breakfast.

Mr Pottz. Former 1989 World Champion, posted this in the week. He summed it up perfectly.


All smiles. I made it.

I survived.

Happy to be alive for another round later.

The Banzai Pipeline and Backdoor.

Aloha. Mahalo nui loa. This amazing spot right here, you can feel the mana. Its a special place. To get here and back home I flew 50,400 km over 4-5 flights per leg.

This is the worlds most famous wave. That every other wave is measured by.

Look at that right. Stuff dreams are made of and for.

Log Cabins. Death go- zone for certain.

Some empty late March lineups.

Where is everybody?

Waimea Bay.

The worlds most famous big wave spot that held the throne for the most years of big wave surfing.

Waimea really maxed out on the last day and was the only surfable spot. I like most, sat safely on the sand and watched in awe. This was the biggest waves I have ever seen in my lifetime with my own eyes.

The list of Pipleline champions over the years lies at the entrance to the Banzai.

Cant leave Hawaii without buying a Hawaiian shirt brah.

Plans to go back to Hawaii? Hell yes.