Hawaii’s Makua Beach

Hawaii’s Makua Beach

North of Waianae along Farrington Highway at the mouth of Makua Valley is a beautiful white sand beach that remains largely unknown to tourists. Even so, it was used as principal setting for the 1965 film “Hawaii” starring Julie Andrews.

Makua Beach is a pocket of a mile-long white sand beach curving between two peaks, which earned its nickname “Twin Pinnacles.” It has an interesting shoreline, with a width that varies seasonally. Though the shore is 200 feet wide, it is reduced in width during winter when high surf erodes the beach. During summer months, the sand accretes and the shoreline is again widened.

Like other beaches in leeward Oahu, Makua Beach is characterized by dangerous surfs particularly during winter. Protected neither by man-made breakwater nor natural reef, its foreshore is steep. Its powerful shore breaks, rip currents, long shore currents, and backwashes are not for weak of heart or for the amateurs.

During calm summer months, however, Makua Beach is a wonderful snorkeling spot. With an easy, sandy beach entry, a visibility of 15 – 50 feet, and abundant marine life that includes Moorish idol, giant parrot fish, barracudas, dolphins, and humpback whales, Makua Beach is a gem off the beaten track.

But while it is pristine, it is not completely unspoiled. On the shoreline, there’s a rock where surfers used to gather in the 1960s. During that period, youth surfers had a phrase called “Pray for Surf,” in which they pray to the kahuna of sun and surf for good wave conditions. One day, locals were surprised to see a “Pray for Sex” graffiti spray painted on the rock. The marks was indelible, and the phrase stuck. The rock came to be known as “Pray for Sex” rock and Makua Beach is locally referred to as “Pray for Sex” beach.

Services and amenities: no lifeguards, no facilities

5 unique things about Makua Beach

  • The Kaneana Cave located south of the beach was named after the Hawaiian god Kane. The cave is, according to one legend, the womb from where mankind emerged.
  • Makua Beach is the main setting of the James Mitchener’s 1965 film “Hawaii” starring Julie Andrews.
  • The beach has two nicknames: “Twin Pinnacles” and “Pray for Sex” beach.
  • Makua, in Hawaiian, means “parent.”
  • According to Hawaiian songs, Makua is the home of gods and demigods.
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