Massive waves arrive on Oahu's North Shore. 50-foot surf expected today.by: Chris Bailey
posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:38 AM
Surf’s up on Oahu’s North Shore. Way up.
North Shore waves as high as 40 feet had thousands flocking to the area’s world-renowned surf breaks yesterday, clogging traffic in both directions of Kamehameha Highway and packing every patch of beach, shoreline or roadside with a view. Wave heights were expected to remain steady or increase on the north and west shores of Oahu, Molokai, and Maui through Wednesday.
Many surfers and surf watchers were already calling this year’s inaugural winter swells the biggest Hawaii surf they’d seen in decades. At Maui’s north shore Peahi Beach—more ominously known as “Jaws” by big wave riders for its massive winter surf—surfers yesterday boasted of riding swells of up to 50 feet from crest to trough.
Over the weekend, weather forecasters had predicted similar wave heights for the North Shore of Oahu beginning yesterday. But by late Monday morning, wave heights at Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay—two of the most prominent surf spots along the North Shore—was peaking at 20 feet. Waimea Bay swells (pictured here) eventually climbed to 25 to 35 feet Monday afternoon, but were kept from larger heights by choppy waters and strong northerly winds, which tend to break up larger waves.
Today’s waves are expected to be bigger. At the time this article was posted, the National Weather Service was forecasting surf along the North Shore of Oahu to continue at heights of 30 to 40 feet with occasional sets to 50 feet on the outer reefs through Tuesday. The NWS expects that large surf on the North Shore will exceed high surf warning levels through Wednesday before slowly diminishing.
No delays or cancellations were announced for continuing contests in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The third jewels in the world-renowned surf contest—the Billabong Pipeline Masters for men at Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline and Billabong Pro Maui for women at Honalua Bay—were still set to begin, as scheduled, today.
Continued on next page, with more photos
Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Eddie Aikau big wave contest waiting on expected Hawaii monster surf this week
Hawaii’s big winter waves rolling into Oahu’s North Shore, high-surf warning under way
Hawaii’s winter surf: still massive