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High surf keeps Honolulu Ocean Safety busy during holiday weekend

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 11:57 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:41 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A holiday weekend coincides with a big south swell. Surfers are stoked, but lifeguards are slammed.

A set wave at China Walls that miles from the nearest lifeguard tower took down a man with his camera on Monday.

Although he recovered, many others weren’t so lucky including a 29-year-old man who was treated by paramedics.

Lt. Kawika Eckart of Ocean Safety has seen it time and time again.

“The surfers got ahold of him and helped him to shore so when I got here, he was already on shore,” recalled Eckart. “But he got pretty banged up and bruised.”

Michael Williams of Honolulu said he saw three rescues at China Walls.

“One guy was already in the water and was struggling, the waves were going over his head,” said Williams. “Other two, we told them not to jump and they decided to jump anyway.”

On Monday, lifeguards reported nearly 20 rescues at Sandy Beach.

One man was washed off the rocks near the Halona Blowhole.

And another didn’t have fins and was caught in the rip current.

“And he just got sucked in over by the rocks and he couldn’t get out,” said beachgoer, Alyssandra Rousseve.

The busy holiday weekend comes as the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division pushes to become its own department.

The city council approved the proposal last month to give lifeguards more control of their budget and resources.

Pokai Bay is another place with no city and county lifeguards.

On Monday, two divers who lost consciousness were brought to shore by a surfer.

Just like at China Walls and the Blowhole, lifeguards can’t always be the first responders.

“While we’re responding here to the call, the surfers have been really diligent, watching and actually helping,” said Eckart.

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