'The North Shore is not a water amusement park,' warn lifeguards - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

'The North Shore is not a water amusement park,' warn lifeguards ahead of swell

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NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Ocean Safety Lt. Kerry Atwood warns that an incoming swell bringing monster waves to the North Shore will create life-threatening conditions.

"The North Shore is not a water amusement park," he said. "We advise people to stay off of wet rocks, stay back from wet sand, abide by warning signs. Do not cross caution tape, and most importantly, listen to your lifeguard."

Between Pipleline and Sunset Beach, homeowners are protecting their properties. In Pupukea, the Martinson family filled a large sandbag and pushed it up against the berm below their home, hoping it wards off more shoreline erosion.

"The bags catch sand up above them. The ocean goes in and through the bags. It doesn't scour. It goes up-and-down naturally," Jeannie Martinson said.

Her home is raised off its foundation, so ocean water run-up goes all the way underneath. 

Today at Sunset Beach, onlookers lined up just off Kamemeha Highway, watching surfers work the waves. Some wondered how much bigger the waves will be on Saturday and Sunday.

"These waves are amazing! I've lived here for a little over two years and never taken the opportunity to come out. I can't imagine the waves much bigger. I'll try to get out here Sunday, too," Jeremy Gelfan said.

"This is my first time being here," Ohio resident Peggy Holt said. "It's just amazing. What's even more amazing are the people surfing and staying up."

Atwood said through the weekend at least 28 lifeguards will work on the North Shore, using rescue craft when needed and keeping mobile response units on standby. They will start an hour earlier, beginning their shift at 8 a.m., and stay as late as necessary.

"Come out, see the beautiful surf, but most importantly make it a no swim day. There is no safe recreational swimming on the North Shore," Atwood said.

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