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Searching for Kahikilani

Updated on March 2, 2011

The Legend

Sunset Beach is one of the most famous and one of the most beautiful of Oahu’s North Shore.  The big waves in the winter time can have been known to close down the beach and occasionally wash up onto the road.  Living true to its popular name, the sunsets are beautiful to watch on this near perfect beach.  But while hundreds of tourists venture to the North Shore to view the beauty of Sunset Beach, I’m not sure if many of the visitors know one of the cool stories behind Sunset Beach!

Sunset’s real name is Pau Malu and it has always been known for its amazing surf.  In ancient times, Kahikilani, a prince from one of the outer islands, heard about the amazing waves and traveled to the North Shore to He’e Nalu (Surf) at Pau Malu.  While Kahikilani was surfing a bird maiden, who lived in the mountains above the beach, saw him and fell in love.  She flew down and gave Kahikilani her lei and took him back into the mountains with her.  But it wasn’t long before the waves beckoned Kahikilani back to the beach.  While surfing the next winter, a woman impressed with Kahikilani’s skill placed her lei on the prince.  When the bird maiden saw this she was extremely angry and carried him back to the hills where she turned him into stone.

Kahikilani Today

Today you can still see Kahikilani in the hills behind Pau Malu.  He stands between Crawford Convalescent hospital and Sunset Beach, with his lei around his neck.  It’s hard to spot him if you are driving fast, so I recommend you pull over and take a look.  (Here is a little tip to driving the North Shore—many tourists drive slow to see the sights, which is perfectly normal as long as you pull to the side to let locals pass.  Remember that they live there and have jobs and things they need to accomplish throughout the day, and nothing is more irritating than getting stuck behind a slow sightseer who won’t pull over.) The 808 area code is rich with culture and history, and it’s definitely something to respect and appreciate.  So on your next drive up to the North Shore, go ahead and search for Kahikilani.


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