HONOLULU (KHON2) — South shore beaches have been packed all day with people checking the monster south swell. According to Genki Kino, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, there’s already been sets over 12 feet and the swell is still building.
It’s being called historic. Kino said it’s the biggest south swell to hit the islands since June 1995.
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Waves were already in the 8 to 12 foot range with higher sets Saturday afternoon and it’s going to get bigger.
“We’re forecasting 18 to 24 feet,” Kino explained.
That’s up from their Friday forecast.
Kino explained, “This swell is going to continue to fill in throughout this evening and tonight and it’s most likely going to peak sometime on Sunday. At first light there should be some very solid waves here on the south shores.”
Kino said Diamond Head could likely see the largest sets but it will be big all along the south shore.
Popular surf spots were packed from Point Panic to China Walls with people eager to see the monster waves.
Daniel Schweitzer, San Francisco resident said he’s been in Hawaii for five weeks and these are the biggest waves he’s seen.
“It’s pretty amazing, seeing big waves in Hawaii is of course part of the tourists dream and we wanted to see it and just feel the power of the ocean,” Schweitzer said. “Just watching it go off, it’s fantastic. It’s so impressive.”
Surfers of all ages were out in force.
Eleven-year-old Amanda Dellenvach, who’s visiting from California, was very excited to surf Waikiki. She said she’s surfed waves up to seven feet so she was eager to get out on the water.
“This is my first time I’ve surfed this vacation,” Dellenvach said. “I’m so excited to be here and surf the big swell.”
Makiki resident Tyler Debrun said he and his friends always try to surf Waikiki when it’s breaking.
“I think the biggest one I caught was like eight (feet), but there was major ones like big ones,” Debrun said. “We saw Max Halloway, it was pretty crazy.”
Honolulu resident Kekoa Kekumano said he thought surf has been good this season.
“We’re pretty lucky. We had a good summer and a lot of swells,” said Kekumano.
While some make it look easy, Kurt Lager, Ocean Safety Acting Chief of Operations wanted to remind everyone to be careful and know their limits.
“What we really recommend is knowing the conditions before you go out,” Lager explained. “We want to emphasis, if you have any questions to come see the lifeguards. The lifeguards in the towers are going to have the most up-to-date information of what the conditions are out there and that goes for the expert surfers that are going to try go surf the big waves too.”
There’s also potential for coastal inundation, especially during the high tide around sunset
Lager warns beach-goers, even in shallow areas there could be strong currents and surges that can pull you out.
Kino said south swells generally have long lulls between sets.
“We just want beach-goers to be aware that at times the ocean may look calm, but all of a sudden, you know, there’s some large sets that can you know, really put you in danger.”
Ocean safety has been patrolling the south shore all day both in the water and on land and plan to stay out until sunset and return early Sunday morning.
They said they’ve already made more than 228 rescues and 3265 preventative actions on the south shore on Saturday.
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Their best advice: When in doubt, don’t go out.