Video shows wave washing couple off wall at Shark's Cove

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

PUPUKEA, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's a video that's been making people cringe. It was recorded on a beautiful, sunny day last Saturday, when two unidentified visitors went up on the lava rock wall at Shark's Cove at Pupukea on Oahu's North Shore.

The video was shot by Drew Wheeler of ScubaDrew VideoWorks. He was at Pupukea as a member of Makai Watch, a group that educates and warns people of the dangers of the ocean. group members had just warned others off the rocks when they saw the couple.

"At the time that they were out there, the surf had started to pick up again, an they were unable to hear any of the warning yells that we did, and so they were unaware of what was about to happen," Wheeler said.

In the video, the two on the wall watch as a big wave approaches. The wave crashes onto the table rock just outside the wall. "When I saw that wave coming, I knew it was coming over the area where they were," said Wheeler, "so I knew it was gonna be not a pretty scene."

Wheeler started the camera, which he had intended to use to record any humpback whales. At the same time, he told another group member to be ready to call 911.

As the video continues, the wave washes over the couple. The man is washed over, head-first, into the cove. The woman manages to stay upright, but eventually, she too is washed over the wall, getting raked over the sharp lava rocks that lifeguards call the "cheese grater."

According to Wheeler, it is apparent that the two were completely unprepared for the wave's power. "When you see the gentleman duck down, he's actually not ducking down to hide (from) the wave," Wheeler said. "He's actually ducking down to get a picture of it."

The group immediately called 911. The remainder of the video shows people helping the couple. The woman is cut but is able to walk. Soon, emergency personnel show up, and take the man, wearing a neck brace, away on a stretcher.

Wheeler, who is also a scuba instructor, said there are easy ways to avoid getting hurt this way. "Never turn your back on the ocean," he said, "and my favorite one that I like the best is if the rocks are wet and the sand is smooth, that means the ocean has been there before and will be there again.

Related: See the full YouTube video.

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