Surfers put on show as Waimea reopens

Surfers put on show as Waimea reopens
Image source: Tobias Schuermann
Image source: Tobias Schuermann
Waimea Bay Thursday afternoon - Image Courtesy: Vince Cavataio
Waimea Bay Thursday afternoon - Image Courtesy: Vince Cavataio

WAIMEA BAY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 40, big-wave surfers hit the water to catch what's left of the historic swell.

Conditions at Waimea cleaned up Thursday, enough for surfers to take advantage of the 25-30 foot waves. Occasionally an even bigger wave would hit.

"We do have expert surfers out there," says lifeguard Jeff Okuyama.

Okuyama did have to 'coach' several surfers back to shore. They were unfamiliar with the break at Waimea and were being tossed around. 'Coaching' them in means he uses the loud speaker to guide them from the lifeguard tower.

"When you are out there, you can't see the sets," he says, "having another guy up there really helps."

Okuyama also had to warn spectators who got to close to the water. Many were climbing on the rocks below the lighthouse to get good pictures.

The beach area close to the shoreline remains closed but the park re-opened Thursday morning. It was closed all Wednesday because waves were crashing up to the parking lot.

"It's exciting to see," says Chris Bagues, a California tourist who drove out to watch.

Surfers were already on dawn patrol when lifeguards arrived.

"Way cleaner than yesterday," says Keoki Saguibo, who has been surfing for more than 20 years.

"A little bit dangerous," he says of the surfers who aren't experienced enough to face big waves but chose to go out anyway.

"They just want to say they surfed Waimea," says Suguibo.

Another surfer, Daniel Skaf was smiling ear-to-ear as he skipped out of the water.

"Having fun!" screamed Skaf, as he shook hands with the lifeguards.

Lifeguards knew most of the surfers out Thursday. If they didn't, they'd make contact to make sure the surfer was aware of the dangers.

Friday's waves are expected to be much smaller so the crowd will change. More recreational, novice surfers will hit Waimea.

It's unclear when the rest of the beach will be reopened.

The National Weather Service is reporting:

Warning level surf continues along most north and west facing shores. Nearby buoy reports shows that the swell has only decreased a small amount from late Wednesday's peak.

The swell will continue to lower slowly today through Friday. Another northwest swell is expected to build on Friday. This swell will be much small than the current swell but surf could reach low end warning levels late Friday and on into Saturday. Yet another northwest swell that could produce surf near warning levels is expected late Sunday and on into Monday.

Winds are expected to remain below small craft advisory levels throughout the forecast period. However the above mentioned northwest swells will keep seas above the small craft advisory threshold of 10 feet over exposed waters through the weekend.

Click to view photos of the super swell on your mobile device -  

Click to view 2009 'Eddie' photos on your mobile device -

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