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Air China Walls

After that one-two fast food sucker punch to my  system reviewing the latest debauchery from Taco Bell and Burger King, it’s time to take a step back, give my arteries a rest and let my body recover. In other words, let’s do a virtual fasting with no food today, and simply enjoy the beauty of the island once again.

This time upon running an errand out in Hawaii Kai, I decided to drop by China Walls out in Portlock. It was a gorgeous day, and the young folks were out for the summer there, either just hanging out, or for the more experienced ones, jumping off China Walls  unique layered lava-formed rocky shoreline cliff, into the gorgeous blue open ocean below. Which to note, the tide was around plus 1 foot, while the swells rolling in seemed “manageable” for those who braved jumping in. And you need to time yourself in order to use those rising swells as water levels rise to boost yourself back into the edge of the cliff, so you can “safely” get out of the water. If you can’t master that, you’re stuck out there. 

Of which like just about everyone who’s reviewed China Walls on Yelp have reiterated in a few words, it’s MAJOR LEAGUE DANGEROUS here! Not just if you jump in the water, but also if you decide to get too close to the edge of the cliff. Especially if the tide is high enough, and surf is up, sometimes there’s rogue swells that will pound the edge and sweep you right in. There’s been countless rescues and deaths at China Walls, which somewhat puts a damper on its otherwise picture-perfect natural beauty. 

I’m not saying not to go there. As long as you’re a responsible person and know your physical abilities/limitations, by all means check it out, with all respect in place. Understand the weather, tide and ocean conditions at the time (there’s apps for that),  have situational awareness on full guard, keep in mind the risks I just mentioned, don’t go too close to the edge of the shoreline cliff if you’re new there, and/or it looks dangerous (common sense applies!), and never, NEVER turn your back to the ocean, both there or anywhere. 

That said, following is a sequence of young folks who seemed experienced jumping off at China Walls the other day, displaying their various diving techniques we’ll name “Air China Walls”. Enjoy. ;-)


This is one of the few ledges where you get back out of water, needing to time yourself with the swells that roll in to help lift you up and out. As you can imagine, it’ll still a slippery, very dangerous proposition


It can go from wading in calm waters in the previous photo, to having to dive under incoming massive swells right next to the rocky cliff-lined shore in SECONDS, as shown above


The clear blue water at China Walls is deceptively inviting to take a dunk in on a hot summer  day, but don’t let it fool you. This isn’t your neighbor’s backyard swimming pool!


These next two photos illustrate how dangerous it can be if you stand too close to shoreline sea cliff at China Walls, as swells break onto it while passing powerfully by.  Wrong place at the wrong time, and you’ll be in the drink instantly! 


A rocky rough ocean cliff at the far left of China Walls as you head out to the point; this is where the fishermen like to cast out


Same area at the far end (left side) of China Walls


Interesting “alien-like” color and appearance of this sea kelp/moss/algae growing on the rocks just in this one spot (everywhere else is bare lava rock)


China Walls panoramic view – 6.4.17 


The unassuming landscaped entrance to China Walls


China Walls is actually the surfers nickname for this spot. It’s technically Koko Kai Mini Beach Park (emergency response location 120 A). It’s located in the Portlock area of Hawaii Kai, off Poipu Drive and Hanapepe Loop.  

Related links:
China Walls – Yelp user reviews
China Walls – UnrealHawii.com
China Walls Dog Rescue (drone footage) – YouTube

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