Riding the Wave of Great Real Estate

The Hawaiian paradise is synonymous with surfing and many people who come here for the waves decide to stay permanently. Besides the fast barrels and finest breaks, what is it about a surf neighborhood that makes it great? It's the summation of lifestyle, local charm, adventure and investment. So if you're looking for the best neighborhoods to live in, so you can hang 10 on Oahu, we've got you covered!


Photo credit: Neal Kido

Located on the south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki is the birthplace of modern surfing and the old stomping grounds of Waikiki Beach Boy alumni Duke Kahanamoku. Like the bunny hill for skiers, the gentle slopes of these glassy waves are excellent for grommets, beginners or advanced watermen looking to have some fun.

Waikiki surf spots include: Queens, Canoes, Populars, Publics, Threes and Diamond Head, and all except Diamond Head are conveniently located right off Waikiki Beach with plenty of surfboard rental and lesson options. Because of the proximity to Waikiki, these surf spots are often crowded, but if you haven't surfed Waikiki, you owe it to yourself to jump in the warm water and ride the waves of Ali'i (Hawaiian Royalty) history.

Buying around Waikiki
The only single-family homes available in this area are in Diamond Head, and prices range from $1,800,000 to $15,000,000 and more. Condos in Waikiki are plentiful: you can find a two-bedroom/two-bath leasehold in the low $300,000s, and a two-bedroom/two-bath fee simple in the low $400,000s.

Cost of renting in Waikiki
Studio: $1,000 - $1,500
One Bedroom: $1,500 - $2,000
Two Bedroom: $2,000 - $5,000+

Vacation Rentals in Waikiki
Studios and One Bedroom: $4,000 - $6,000 a month
Two Bedroom: $4,000 - $7,000 a month


Photo credit: Neal Kido

Located next to Waikiki on the south shore of Honolulu is the popular surf neighborhood of Ala Moana/Kakaako. Known as "town" to locals, this area offers surfers of all levels a variety of waves from such surf spots as: Ala Moana Bowls, Tennis Courts, Concessions, Big Rights, Kewalo Basin and Point Panics. The waters here tend to be shallower and more reefy and powerful than Waikiki, and can bump up during south swells in the summer. Ala Moana Bowls is the premier south shore surf spot -- pure aloha.

Buying in Ala Moana/Kakaako
There aren't any beachfront single-family homes in these neighborhoods, but there are condos, condotels and many new construction projects in Kakaako. You can find a two-bedroom/two-bath/two-parking, fee simple condo in Ala Moana in the mid $500,000s and a two-bedroom/two-bath/two-parking, fee simple condo in Kakaako in the mid $600,000s.

Cost of renting in Ala Moana/Kakaako
Studio: $1,000 - $1,500
One Bedroom: $1,500 - $2,000
Two Bedroom: $2,000 - $5,000+

Vacation Rentals in Ala Moana/Kakaako
Studios and One Bedroom: $4,000 - $6,000 a month
Two Bedroom: $4,000 - $7,000 a month


Photo credit: Neal Kido

The Leeward Coast is only about 25 miles from Waikiki, but it feels like a whole island away. Located on the coastal side of the Waianae Mountains, this area is steep with Hawaiian history and offers intermediate and experienced wave riders a surfing oasis. Home to some of Oahu's most beautiful white sand beaches, spectacular sunsets and clear turquoise waters, the people, views, breaks and tubes on the Westside make wipeouts worth the commute.

Westside surf spots include Yokohama Bay, Ma'ili and Makaha to name a few. The Westside is blessed with surf year round because it gets South swells in the summer, and strong North and Northwest swells in the rest of the year. This area is very much a locals' surf retreat and the distance from town means fewer tourists.

Buying on the Westside
On the Westside you get exceptional bang for your buck. You can find a three-bedroom/three-bath single-family home in Makaha, with coastline and mountain views all within walking distance to the beach for around $650,000. You can find a three-bedroom/two-bath, fee simple condo in Ma'ili in the high $200,000s.

Cost of renting on the Westside
Apartment Studio: $700 - $800
One Bedroom Apartment: $800 - $900
Two Bedroom Apartment: $1,200
Two Bedroom Single-Family Home: $1,450
Three-Plus Bedroom Single Family Home: $1,700 - $2,600

Vacation Rentals on the Westside
One or Two Bedroom: $1,500 - $4,200 a month


Photo credit: Neal Kido

The seven-mile miracle. The quintessential surfing experience. The North Shore is the mecca of surfing and the big wave rider's playground. Located on the north side of Oahu, about an hour from Waikiki, this fabled stretch of sacred ground beckons surfers from around the world and offers some of the most spiritual, dynamic and powerful surf breaks, for every skill level, on the planet.

During the winter months, when swells can reach 30 feet or more, the North Shore is a surfer's paradise offering consistency and variety -- but on monstrous days, if you're not Kelly Slater, you should stay on the beach.

In December the Triple Crown of Surfing, the final leg of the ASP World Tour hits the North Shore, and the beaches buzz with spectators and fans watching the world's best as they challenge the blue monster.

Photo credit: Neal Kido

During the spring and fall the beaches are less crowded, and you'll find perfectly formed crests ideal for surfers of all caliber. The surf spots include: Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Leftovers, Laniakea, Haleiwa, Off the Wall, Rocky Point, Gas Chambers, Log Cabins and countless "secret spots," which you'll discover if you spend some time exploring the area.

Buying on the North Shore
If you're looking to buy a single-family home on the North Shore, one of the best surf neighborhoods is Sunset. You can find a four-bedroom/three-bath single-family pool home for around $1,200,000 or four-bedroom/four-bath single-family beachfront home for around $3,500,000. You can find a two-bedroom/two-bath, fee simple condo in Mokuleia for around $1,000,000.

Photo credit: Neal Kido

Cost of renting on the North Shore
One Bedroom Apartment: $1,500
Two Bedroom Apartment: $1,500 - $2950
Three-Plus Bedroom Single Family Home: $2,600 - $20,000

Vacation Rentals on the North Shore
One Bedroom: $4,200 - $12,000 a month
Two Bedroom: $5,550 - $14,000 a month
Three-plus Bedroom: $7,500 - $36,000 a month


What is your favorite Oahu or neighbor island surf neighborhood and why? Let us know in the comments.