There is no denying that the North Shore of Oahu is surfing's Mecca. Its undisputed attractions challenge every surfer on the planet to find out if they have got what it takes. Conquering the fear of dropping into a bomb at Pipe, or paddling over the edge of a Waimea cliff represent the zenith of the surfing experience. Thousands make the pilgrimage every year to the Hawaiian Islands, which are tips of volcanic mountains, that rise precipitously from the ocean floor. There's no continental shelf or barrier reef to dampen the force of the powerful swells that come thundering out of the North Pacific and slam into the world's most famous surf zone on Oahu's beautiful North Shore. Reverentially dubbed 'The Seven Mile Miracle' this short, savage coastline between Haleiwa and Velzyland has it all from kiddies reforms to tow-in monsters of the deep, often displayed tantalisingly close to shore. The North Shore coast faces due northwest, and early season W swells tend to break cleaner at many spots than N or NE swells, plus they also do a good job of scouring away the summer sand build-up so the reefs are exposed and the beach angle backwash is reduced. Whatever the swell direction, the surf here can jump from 2ft to 15ft (0.6-5m) within a few hours and sneaker sets are common. On smaller swells, most spots break on lava reef close to golden sand beaches with deep channels, which make paddling out easier but also create some strong rips in larger surf. From mid Nov-Jan, all the professional surfers in the world flock to Hawaii, and it becomes a major achievement to snag a wave off the hungry pack. The town of Haleiwa, with a variety of facilities and amenities, is the commercial centre of the North Shore.