A Perfect Day of Kona Winds at Oahu’s Pounders Beach

by: Evan Fa

When one thinks of paradise beaches on the island of Oahu, he or she traditionally envisions crystal blue and emerald waters with coarse sand encompassing the shoreline. And, of course, the sun piercing and bronzing any skin tone to perfection. Typically such beach days are found on the west facing coastlines, such as the North Shore, but on those rare occasions the east facing coastlines are the prize.

For those that may not realize, wind is the big factor to weather, geography, and ultimately the place a vacationer should head to for the day. The predominate winds within the Hawaiian islands are the tradewinds, which blow from east to west. Hence giving meaning to the terms windward side (east facing coastline), where the winds blow onshore from the ocean to land, and the leeward side (west facing coastline), where the winds blow offshore from the land to the ocean. For these reasons, the windward side receives the blunt of wind and rain and is thus more wet and green while the leeward side receives less wind and rain and is thus more dry and desert-like. Of course, this typical wind pattern occasionally changes and does the opposite of the typical patterns. These winds are referred to as Kona winds.

Kona winds refer to the opposite of the typical tradewind pattern. Instead of winds blowing from east to west, Kona winds flow from west to east. Kona winds indeed make for the most pristine conditions along the windward side of the island. What is normally a windy onshore blown mess transforms into the postcard-esque paradise that every vacationer is truly chases for at heart.

One suggestion for beach goers, especially those staying with Turtle Bay Rentals on the Turtle Bay Resort, is to head to Pounders Beach in the little town of Laie on the windward side. With a one of a kind view of the famous rock cliff to the south of the parking lot in contrast to the even more famous Ko’olau mountain range, Pounders offers a perfect refuge from the crowds in addition to being a perfect place to stretch out the towel with the family and swim around in the shorebreak. What is typically a bodyboarding and bodysurfing haven for the youth and adults along the windward side of the island when there are tradewinds is typically not during the Kona winds. Nevertheless, be careful if the waves are a little larger as the waves tend to be very powerful and dangerous to novices in the ocean.

Pounders Beach, formally known as Laie Beach Park, is a short fifteen minute drive from the resort. While parking and showers are found on site, there are not any bathrooms or lifeguards on duty. Of recently, Pounders Beach has become known to visitors for the trampoline to the north along the old pier pilings, where cargo was once brought into the bay years and years ago. If the trampoline is still in use at the time of writing this, then by all means go enjoy it. Either way, soak up the beautiful sand and sea at Pounders on this next round of Kona winds.

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