Dozens of rescues in Hawaii's stormy surf

Dozens of rescues in Hawaii's stormy surf

HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The stormy surf is a huge challenge for lifeguards who tried keep swimmers and surfers safe on Labor Day. They kept a close eye on the crowd at Sandy Beach, making sure that spectators stayed a safe distance away from the pounding waves churned up by Tropical Storm Jimena. A rescue jet ski also patrolled the shoreline.

"At Sandy's and Makapuu on Saturday and Sunday and today, we have an extra mobile response team so we're prepared to deal with these big crowds on this hot, sunny day with big surf," said Acting Capt. James Sloan of the Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Division.

While most people chose to watch all the action, some experienced bodyboarders braved the dangerous waves for the adrenaline rush.

"The backwash is what's really making it dangerous where there's the wave coming back towards the wave and I got a couple of those slams," said Ryley Colle of Kalama Valley.

Lifeguards conducted 4,576 preventative actions such as warnings and rescued 95 people across Oahu. 65 of those saves happened on the east side.

"We even try to stop people in the parking lot and send them up the coast to a safer beach. It's that dangerous," said Sloane.

Tragedy can strike without warning. Over near Hanauma Bay, a 21-year-old Navy man died on Saturday when a large wave swept him into the ocean at an off-limits spot known as Rock Bridge.

"We welcome them to take their pictures, but we just really want to keep them back on the dry sand, away from the water's edge and if they're going to go to cliff areas, we really want them staying back away from wet rocks," Sloane said.

But for those with the skills to handle the powerful surf, this hurricane season is churning out some incredible rides.

"I'm going to have a bottle of water and be right back out there," said bodyboarder Isaiah Kamai of Waimanalo.

"It's kind of like the trade swell except for bigger, but without the wind so we're loving it out here," said Colle.

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