High surf advisory extended for south shores

Source: Chad Asuncion
Source: Chad Asuncion

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The National Weather Service has extended a high surf advisory until 6 a.m. Monday for the south-facing shores of all islands.

Forecasters expected wave to remain in the six to ten-foot face range through Sunday before subsiding Monday.

The Weather Service also has posted a Marine Weather Statement saying, "This swell will produce moderate to strong surges in harbors exposed to the south as well as breaking waves near harbor entrances. This swell has already caused vessels near Mala wharf on Maui to break free from their moorings. Mariners are urged to use extra caution when entering or leaving port and ensure that vessels are moored carefully due to the increased wave and surge action."

The first south-shore swell of the summer season has surfers stoked.

"Beautiful day, beautiful waves, good friends," described Kaimana Henry, after getting out of the water at Ala Moana Bowls.

Henry says fellow surfers can expect the spot to stay busy – not just this weekend – but for the next several months, if the waves keep coming in like this.

"Yeah, it's a really good indication.  Hopefully, it'll just be doing this all summer. We'll have waves all summer," said Henry smiling.

Surfers say after seeing how huge the waves were in Tahiti the last few days, expectations were high here at home.

"This is definitely a good start.  Last time we had a swell like this was two years ago.  We had a pretty flat summer last year, and you know, to start the summer out the summer like this – is amazing," explained Kekoa Bacalso, who surfs for Rip Curl.

Friday's waves were consistently around 5 feet, with some spots reaching as high as 10 feet.  Perfect conditions, surfers say, for the water to get pretty crowded.

"I seen couple guys got runned over, boards hit each other," described Keoki Saguibo, a body boarder who estimated there were about 50 guys in the lineup at Bowls around 11 a.m. Friday.  "Everyone's going on every wave and you know, first swell of the summer. Everyone wants to get on it and get the best waves."

Even if they cost a few battle scars.

"Just some standard reef rash, I don't think I'm going to need any stitches or anything, but it comes with the waves," described Talon Wemple, after coming out of the water bleeding when he got caught on the inside of one wave. "Worth it," Wemple said, before adding he was going back out.

Ocean Safety Captain Paul Merino says this was the busiest rescue day of the year so far. Lifeguards are urging extreme caution since many of the South Shore surf spots are seeing strong currents.  Ocean Safety officials are also asking anyone who breaks a board in the high surf to call 911 and report it.

"Tell the operator there to contact lifeguards and let them know that ‘I lost a board today, it might be floating out in the ocean – I'm on land. I'm okay' and that will really stop us from sometimes have to conduct an exhausting search and it's futile because the person is already on land," explained Merino. "If they report those boards to 911 that they've lost them— it would really help us, and not having to go out and search immediately and keep our resources where they need to be."

The T&C Surf Grom Contest is still on as scheduled this weekend at Queens. According to Adam Borrello, the event doesn't feature amateur-ranked kids who regularly compete, but is an opportunity for younger surfers who don't enter contests regularly.  Borrello says they'll be closely monitoring conditions and if the swell gets bigger, they'll make a final safety call tomorrow.

Forecasters say a series of South swells will keep elevated surf along South facing shores through most of the upcoming week. A small North West swell is expected this weekend, with a moderate North West swell building Tuesday and peaking Wednesday.

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