Warning level surf on Oahu's north shore nearly killed a pro surfer Friday, and also posed dangers to spectators on shore who weren't paying attention.
Kalani Chapman, 34, had to be brought back to life after a bad wipeout at one of his favorite surf spots. It happened after 4:15 p.m. during Da Hui Backdoor Shootout surf contest at Pipeline.
City emergency services officials said Chapman took off on a massive wave during the contest and failed to resurface, He didn't have a pulse when he was brought back to shore.
Lifeguards from Hawaiian Water Patrol and Ocean Safety performed CPR on Chapman and revived him. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition.
Surfline said fellow surfer Seth Moniz was among those who helped save Chapman.
Meanwhile, the big west-northwest swell also surprised spectators. Video from the surf meet showed a huge set wave washing up on shore and sending the crowd running. A woman and baby were knocked down, and people had to grab them as they were dragged out by the receding wave.
Just moments earlier, contest announcers and told spectators about the incoming waves, and had specifically warned the woman about being too close to the shore.
Up the road at Sunset Beach, there was hardly anyone in the water. Those who did venture out didn't last too long.
"When I got out there I realized why no one's out, because it's just a little too wild, too much current running through it," said surf Nathan DeWeese, who caught one wave, but called it quits when a second wave washed him out.
Most were content to watch the pounding waves from a safe distance.
"This is a favorite of ours," said Butch Higley, who was visiting Hawaii from Florida with his wife. "It's one of those things. The big waves are just ... undefinable."
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