HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Jaws Big Wave Championship on Maui was officially called “on” Thursday morning as organizers predicted mammoth waves reaching up to 45 feet at Peahi on Maui’s north shore.
The surf contest is running as a huge northwest swell rolls in, and the National Weather Service said it’s higher than previously thought.
Surf is expected to reach 25 to 35 feet for north shores, with higher sets for some areas, including Peahi, the surf spot also known as “Jaws."
Billy Kemper and Makua Rothman are just a few of the surfers who’ll face off at the Jaws Big Wave Championship.
On Oahu’s north shore, however, organizers of the prestigious Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay — the prestigious contest that was last held in 2016 — said the contest won’t “go” on Thursday because conditions weren’t ideal enough.
The three-month holding period began Dec. 1 and runs through Feb. 29. But it’s the bay that calls the day, and that only happens if waves reach consistent, rideable heights of 20 feet on the Hawaiian scale without closing out.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has continued a high surf warning for the north and west shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai and the north-facing shores of Maui through 6 a.m. Friday.
West shores are expected to rise to 15 to 25 feet on Thursday.
A high surf advisory has also been issued for the west shores of the Big Island, where surf will increase to 6 to 10 feet along the South Kona coast.
Water levels have also been coming in about half a foot higher than normal, which will increase the chance of coastal overwashes.
The flooding already caused issues in some coastal areas, including on Kamehameha Highway by Sunset Beach, where sand and debris washed up onto the roadway.
Officials also announced the closure of Baldwin Beach Park as well as the Hookipa Beach Park west side parking lot on Maui.
The surf is expected to peak early Thursday, and then decline below advisory levels late Friday.