The 1960s group The Beach Boys song "Surfin' USA" mentions WHY-AH-ME-UH BAY - pretty much every Gen X or baby boomer has heard the song. They’re talking about (and mispronouncing) Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s pronounced WHY-MAY-AH, by the way.
Waimea Bay is one of the largest bays on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s located at the bottom of the Waimea River and the opening to Waimea Valley. There are Waimea’s on most of the Hawaiian Islands because the name means red, muddy water - and anywhere you have the volcanic red soil and a river, you have a Waimea.
Waimea Valley was an ancient community site for pre-European contact Hawaiians and was the site of many sacred heiau (temples) and important agricultural resources. Waimea Bay (and Valley) were first visited by Captain Clerke (not Captain Kirk) of the HMS Resolution. Clerke arrived two weeks after Captain Cook (not Captain Hook) was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Today, Waimea Bay is best known as the location where the big wave surfing competition, The Eddie (formerly the Eddie Aikau Invitational) takes place. The best big wave riders in the world compete for the honor of winning The Eddie. Waimea Bay is the perfect spot for it because it is deep and open to the swells coming in from the North which creates ideal big wave conditions when combined with the offshore wind blowing out of Waimea Valley. It wasn’t until 1957 that a group of brave big wave pioneers rode the first big waves in Waimea Bay and for decades it was considered to be the ultimate big wave destination.
Today, Waimea Bay is still one of the most requested places that people want to see when they visit the beautiful island of Oahu.