If you ask most surfers what the most perfect wave in the world is, a likely answer would either be the Hawaiian widowmaker, Pipeline, or perhaps the freakish Tahitian slab, Teahupoo. But most surfers don’t possess the skill set to survive let alone surf those so called perfect waves.
In the heart of Waikiki is a wave called Queens that is so perfect, anyone can enjoy, from a child just learning to surf, to the world’s most elite surfer. It’s this playful and unassuming wave that has been at the epicenter of the modern surf world, and where over a hundred years ago, the legendary Duke Kahanamoku would surf and showcase Hawaiian wave riding to the masses.
The wave is named after The Kingdom of Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani, who’s home once stood at the shoreline near the break. She and other Hawaiian royalty would surf the long rights and lefts as Hawaiians had done for centuries. The decades that followed brought about a drastic change to the Waikiki coastline, Honolulu, and Hawai’i as a whole. Waikiki’s marshes and carbonate sand would be replaced with imported sand and increasingly more buildings. But throughout a century of transformation, the wave at Queens and others in the surrounding area remained anchored to a section of reef that is relatively unchanged to this day.
It was easy for the world to fall in love with Waikiki. The warm waters, playful surf, and perpetual sunshine lured visitors by the millions. Stretched across the coastline is a handful of surf breaks that are unique in their own way, but the wave at Queens has remained a standout and treasured across generations.
The break is situated about 100 yards off the shore at Kuhio Beach. Most surfers recommend using a longboard there, but shortboarding can be a good call on bigger days. The takeoff zone is as inviting and easygoing as the people you may find surfing there. It is a predominant right with an option to go left that lets you in with ease, which makes it ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers.
It’s not uncommon to see multiple people take off on the same wave and share a ride, but caution and respect is advised. From the peak, the wave gives the perfect amount of push and then backs off and continues towards shore. It then builds strength until it reaches the inside reef, where it runs fast down the line, making for some epic nose rides.
The shape of the wave at Queens and the speed at which it moves is so perfect, you’d be hard pressed to find another wave on earth like it. It’s no wonder that elite and legendary surfers from Duke Kahanamoku to Hawaii's own Kelia Moniz (2x WSL Women's Longboard World Champion) made a name for themselves and passed on the tradition of Hawaiian wave riding to the next generation. To this day, Queens remains at the heart of the surfing world and revered as a natural wonder of the world.