By: Diane Ako
OAHU'S NORTH SHORE (KHNL)- Thousands of people flocked to the North Shore to see the big waves and the wild rides Thursday. It's the second event in the Van's Triple Crown of Surf at Sunset Beach. The swells are shaping up, finally, after several days of choppy waves.
Big waves bring big smiles for many- the surfers, the spectators, and the retailers, who say winter is their high season. The waves are big, and the crowds are bigger. Surf event organizer Randy Rarick says "On Saturday we had one of the best attendances we've ever had for a womens' event, The Roxy Pro early rounds. The beach was packed and the weather was great. When you have good surf it brings people."
Every day the Van's Triple Crown of Surf runs an event, it draws about 5,000 spectators. They come from all around. Brazilian Ana Andrade saves up all year to winter in Hawaii. She's done this every year for the last 4 years. "Every time, I know the schedule and the contest, so that's why I come. It's good because in Brazil it's summer and I can use my vacation."
Two years ago the Van's Triple Crown of Surf commissioned a study to see how it affects the North Shore. "The Triple Crown brings $7 to 8 million in economic impact during the 6 weeks the events are on."
The Black Pearl Source in Haleiwa is one of many retailers who count on the winter waves, especially this year. It says sales are down 10% this month compared to last November. "It's been a little slower than the past year and we're seeing it pick up now. We're hopeful for the holiday season."
Road traffic is bound to end up as foot traffic, and that's a good thing for stores. "More people come through, and some of them will buy something," says Yao.