City warns beachgoers and residents about hazardous surf - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City warns beachgoers and residents about hazardous surf

Peter Hirai, deputy director of the Department of Emergency Management Peter Hirai, deputy director of the Department of Emergency Management
Lt. John Hoogsteden of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division Lt. John Hoogsteden of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

NORTH SHORE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city activated its Emergency Operations Center at 10 p.m. on Tuesday in case of damaging waves overnight. Honolulu firefighters, police, and volunteers from the Department of Emergency Management broadcast a warning message while traveling along the north and west shores of Oahu.

"It's the biggest swell of the season, and we are urging people to stay off the beach if they don't know what they're doing, if they're not an experienced surfer, if they're not an experienced swimmer," said Peter Hirai, deputy director of the Department of Emergency Management.

Lifeguards rescued eight people and issued roughly 1,800 warnings. One woman at Sunset Beach ended up at the hospital after she lost her footing as the powerful waves rolled in.

"We've been working hard informing the people, warning the people of the increase in the surf, and luckily most people have been listening," said Lt. John Hoogsteden of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division.

But for experienced surfers, the strong swell fueled lots of sweet rides.

"Nice and glassy. Perfect offshore winds," said surfer Jason Frederico.

"The waves are coming up pretty strong and the winds are a nice direction so there's some barrels," said surfer Dane Gudauskas.

Most people decided to admire the spectacular surf from the shore, but sometimes they were forced to quickly back up.

"Also as the surf goes down, too, people have to use common sense, especially with the strong wintertime surf on any island on the north and west shores," said Hoogsteden.

The high tide from late Tuesday night until early Wednesday morning could add to the potential for flooding or surf washing over roadways.

The manager at Ke Iki Beach Bungalows is on alert. The oceanfront property has been damaged in the past by hazardous surf.

"If they get over 20 feet and over 20 second intervals, then I have storm shutters, I'll put on the windows. I'll get the outdoor furniture on the other side of the building. I'll warn the guests," said Greg Gerstenberger, manager at Ke Iki Beach Bungalows.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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