Current conditions at Chinaman’s Hat

Active Alerts

High Surf Advisory

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 3:18am to 6:00pm
Issued Monday, November 20, 2017 - 3:18am

Beach & Nearshore

No conditions available

Shoreline conditions do not apply to this location.
Primarily for beachgoers and surfers

Offshore

High Hazard

Conditions are hazardous. Kayakers and users of other unpowered craft are encouraged to stay out of the ocean.
Primarily for boaters and kayakers
Learn more about these rating signs and alerts. Ratings updated Monday, November 20, 2017 - 5:30am

Weather

Surf

SURF ALONG EAST FACING SHORES WILL BE 3 TO 6 FEET TODAY WITH LOCALLY HIGHER SETS ALONG SHORES EXPOSED TO THE NORTH SWELL. SURF WILL BE

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Beach ID: 80

Chinaman’s Hat is also known as

Mokolii

Chinaman’s hat is not lifeguarded.

Getting There

Chinaman’s Hat is located on the Oahu Windward (East) Shore.

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Background

Mokoliʻi Island, one of Windward Oʻahu’s most famous landmarks, lies off the park. Its creation is explained in a legend about Hiʻiaka, a sister of Pele, the goddess of the volcano. After Pele traveled across the Hawaiian Islands and finally made her home on the Big Island, she still wandered in her dreams as a spirit. During one of these travels, she found a handsome prince on KauaʻI, Lohiʻau, and wanted to meet him personally. She asked each of her sisters to go to KauaʻI and bring him back, but they all refused, forseeing the dangers of the trip. Finally the youngest of the girls, Hiʻiaka, agreed.

On Oʻahu as Hiʻiaka followed the trail on the shore of Kaneʻohe Bay, she was confronted by a moʻo, a large dragon-like creature. Using her supernatural power, Hiʻiaka killed the moʻo, cut off his tail, and threw it into the ocean, where it became an island called MokoliʻI, or little dragon. Moko is an older form of moʻo, or dragon, and liʻI means little. The island is popularly known as Chinaman’s Hat for its shape, which resembles an old-style Chinese laborer’s hat.

MokoliʻI Island, 500 yards offshore, is park property and the only offshore island around Oʻahu, besides Coconut Island in Kaneʻohe Bay, that is not part of the HawaiʻI State Seabird Sanctuary.

This description is from John R. K. Clark’s book - Beaches of Oahu (Revised Edition) published and available for purchase from the University of Hawaiʻi Press. We thank John R. K. Clark for providing his beach descriptions for use on this site.
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