‘We dodged a bullet,’ says North Shore lifeguard after huge swell, king tide

Local News

Monster surf attracted thousands of spectators the last two days and lifeguards kept busy keeping people away from the shoreline.

Since Sunday, lifeguards had to rescue six people in the waters off the North Shore. 

The swell dropped considerably Monday afternoon but is still dangerous. 

However, the big concern was this swell peaking early Monday morning along with a king tide, but lifeguards say the North Shore dodged a bullet .

The combined swell and high tide sent water onto Kamehameha Highway at the surf spot Rock Piles overnight. Crews were there cleaning the sand off of the highway Monday afternoon. 

“I kind of think we dodged a bullet,” said Honolulu Ocean Safety Lt. Kerry Atwood. “On paper it looked like we were possibly gearing up for a large amount of coastal flooding.”

Some large surges still came close to going onto the highway this afternoon. 

Over the last two days thousands of spectators came to the north shore to see the huge swell.

“This is amazing, this is the sort of thing I’ve dreamed about seeing in person,” said Wisconsin visitor Ahnna Weber. 

Lifeguards stayed until 8 p.m. Sunday, and came in early Monday morning to patrol. 

A big difference was the amount of surfers in the water at Waimea Bay on Monday. 

“We are anticipating a busier day than yesterday because of the amount of surfers we do have in the water and surf photographers,” Lt. Atwood said.

KHON2 was there when a lifeguard assisted a surfer back to shore after he had broken his surfboard.  

Lifeguards tell me any assist is counted as a rescue. 

Fire crews and lifeguards were also called to Kawela Bay for a boater in distress around 1:15 p.m. Fire crews say the man was okay and didn’t need assistance. 

As for homeowners, one over at Ehukai said the high tide sent some debris into a neighbor’s yard. However, he says if the mesh tarps weren’t there, more homes would have been severely impacted.

Ocean safety says high surf season is considered to be from October to April—however the size of this particular swell was considered to be late in the season. 

“We’re preparing to stay late and hopefully it will be subsiding by tomorrow and by then it will be a more appropriate day for recreational activities for the rest of the week,” Lt. Atwood said. 

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