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Diamond Head
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Diamond Head has the best summer time surf sailing on the islands. Unlike Hookipa, Diamond Head catches the occasional summer-time big south swell perfectly. This place is a wave magnet and everything from east wind swell to a southwest ground swell hits the beach.

The east swell is mostly small short period wind swell that makes confused surf. But the cloudbursts of random small peaks are fun for jumping and slashing if not down-the-line sailing. These are the best days for beginning surf sailors since there are few distinct sets and falling does not include the dreaded clean-up set. The big south swell is well-forecast so the local hot shots almost own the surf. The reef topography creates 3 or 4 distinct breaks. The most upwind break is fast and over in an eye blink. The middle break, sometimes called Cliff�s, is the most popular break. The downwind break, known as lighthouse, offers the longest smoothest wave but leads into a near-surface reef minefield.

There are lots of surfers here, especially at Cliff's, here even on windy days. Always give them right-of-way. In Hawaii, mistakes are often punished in the parking lot.

Diamond Head is partly shielded from prevailing trade winds and it lacks the venturi effect that turbocharges Maui�s north shore sites. But, if you really don�t want much wind for surf sailing, then this is not a problem. What is a problem is the reliability of the wind. It just does not blow like the clockwork Maui winds. The best season for wind is from March to August with the summer being the peak. The northeast trade winds wrap around the island and end up being either side-off shore or side-shore in wave area. This means you are going left on the wave�yes left. This is tricky at first for most West coast sailors.

The wind is best when the trades are ENE since you have solid wind right to the beach and great wind in the surf zone. These conditions are a bit more common in the spring and fall. The NE trades partially blocked by Black Point upwind making for gusty wind and lighter inside.

You launch from a large sandy beach with some scattered loose coral, rock, and coral heads. You have about 300 feet of fairly flat water inside until you hit the surf zone. In a wide area directly in front of the launch you can work the waves and even go down in the impact zone with little fear since the reef is fairly deep and not razor sharp. Upwind, and especially downwind, the bottom gradually becomes a minefield of coral heads. Local knowledge is required to sail here especially at lower tides. When the surf big there is a strong longshore current running upwind inside the lineup. This current turns into an ocean-bound rip current in the channel to the left. If you lose your gear and end up in this rip, swim diagonally across it heading upwind while keeping your feet shallow.

The skill level required here varies with the swell size. On smaller swell days it is a fun place for beginner to intermediate surf sailors. But when it gets big it is advanced only.

The wind usually picks up around 10 am and peaks between 11 and 2 and then begins to fade by 3 or 3:30pm. It's a rare day that you can sail Diamond Head past 4 or 4:30 p.m.
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 Season: April to Oct. 
 Water: Warm 
 Ability Level: Intemediate. to expert 
 Familiness: Beach and great viewing 
 Parking: Crowded 
 Launch: Sandy 

From the Honolulu Airport take Hwy. 1 east. pass Waikiki then take the Koko head off ramp. Then take any road towards the water. Once along the water head towards Diamond Head. As you near Diamond Head take Kalakaua Ave to Beach Rd. to the parking area. At the right of the parking area walk down the paved trail to the beach.

The sensor in located on top of Black Point and is atop a home that sits the highest and is closest to the water and the sailing site. There is no other location for this sensor due to the trees and Diamond Head itself. Adjustments are as follows. N, NNE, NE 10%; ENE to W 20%; and WNW to NNW 10%. This is one of the toughest sites to get dialed in. With input from other sailors, if it is not already, this sensor can be set to represent the wind on the water as well as can be hoped.
From a local: "The sensor at Diamond Head is somewhat inaccurate. When it is 12, it's time to go sailing. 12 means about 19 I think. I sail a 4.7 when it is 12. Those that live here and use your system know this. "


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