Hazardous surf injures four people at Waimea Bay - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hazardous surf injures four people at Waimea Bay

Marissa Shimada Marissa Shimada
Mike Jutt Mike Jutt
Lifeguards warned everyone to stay out of the water. Lifeguards warned everyone to stay out of the water.

WAIMEA BAY (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first warning level swell of the winter season is rolling in earlier than usual this year. The hazardous surf is rising along north and west facing shores. The powerful waves at Waimea Bay sent a few people to the hospital. Authorities closed the beach at 6 p.m. on Monday due to the danger.

Marissa Shimada and her cousins watched in awe as strong surf pounded the shoreline. With four little ones in their group, they made sure to stay a safe distance away.

"When we arrived here, the lifeguard warned us that the waves are pretty rough and since we have little children, to stay on the dry area. But we were on the dry area then we just kind of made our way back to the park," said Shimada.

But not everyone listened to the lifeguards. Authorities said the dangerous shorebreak at Waimea Bay injured at least four people. Medics transported a 23-year-old female swimmer in serious condition and a 14-year-old boy in stable condition. Two other people suffered shoulder injuries. Lifeguards also issued more than 500 warnings.

"It can be deceiving to people that don't know the ocean. So after a large set comes, it'll look a little bit more calm and inviting and then they'll venture back towards the waters edge and then they'll get pounded and end up getting injured," said Ocean Safety Acting Lt. Mike Jutt.

Experienced surfers, body surfers, and body boarders managed to catch some thrilling rides, but most people decided to stay out of the water.

"It's pretty powerful. I didn't go down there, but my cousin mentioned even when the waves were just at your feet, the waves were pretty strong even that low, so better to be cautious," said Shimada.

Lifeguards also put up yellow caution tape at Sharks Cove and Three Tables. With the surf building overnight, they're gearing up for another busy day on Tuesday.

"We're bringing in our mobile units and our rescue units in an hour early tomorrow morning as well to answer any 911 calls that we get or anything that we see ourselves," said Jutt.

This is just the start of what is expected to be a very challenging winter season.

"It's going to be much like it was I think it was three years ago where we had an El Nino season and we had a bunch of swells over 20 feet which is what is expected for this winter as well," Jutt said.

Lifeguards will reassess the conditions at Waimea Bay and decide whether to reopen the beach at 7 o'clock on Tuesday morning.


Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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