Sunset Beach is one of the premier stops along the North Shore's world-famous shoreline. It is a huge white sandy beach that is flat, open, and easily accessible. One of the three stops of the World Triple Crown of Surfing, it has the reputation of putting up some of the biggest waves in all of Hawaii. Sunset Point breaks further out than some other nearby spots, so it's a good place to bring some binoculars. During the flat days of summer there is actually decent snorkeling here, but don't bother unless it's a lake. Keep an eye out for the shorebreak any time of year, and there is always a strong current. Just like any spot on this side of the island, there is a certain pecking order that needs to be respected for everyone's safety if you attempt to surf here. This break is only for those who really know what they are doing out there, even on smaller days.
Sunset Point break sits between Backyards and Velzyland to the east and Rocky Point to the west. The wave forms in a shifting peak, and its rights are world renowned. You can get caught inside because the point moves around a bit, so keep your eyes on the horizon. The waves can pick up here fast, and it's pretty notorious for lulling people to sleep and then just cleaning them all out. You'll often need a bigger shortboard to ride here, and expect lots of guns in the water looking for the deep setup as it gets bigger.
Sunset Beach was home to the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surf Competition until 1985. Duke was the preeminent Hawaiian of his day, won 5 Olympic medals in swimming, and literally introduced surfing to Australia. Aussies are surf fanatics, and it's all thanks to an exhibition Duke performed in 1914. A true waterman and gentleman, he is no doubt the most famous Hawaiian of all time. Possibly the second most famous Hawaiian is Eddie Aikau, who won the Duke Invitational in 1977. It was an important moment for the local people, who were used to seeing mainlanders pioneering the early days of big wave surfing and winning the big contests. "Eddie Would Go" bumper stickers are still seen on many parked cars at Sunset Beach, referring to Eddie's willingness to drop in on big waves and his willingness to risk his own life to save another. Eddie is famous for being the first lifeguard willing to work the North Shore. His territory was a ridiculous stretch from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach, and he still did not lose one life under his watchful eye. Eddie and Duke are two of the most important figures in Hawaiian life, and they are huge inspirations for young people growing up on the North Shore.