With a weak El Niño weather pattern developing in the equatorial Pacific, the Ocean Safety Division is preparing for more extra-large swells than normal. Lifeguards now have four roving patrols on the North Shore at their disposal, and two of the vehicles are equipped with personal watercraft that can quickly deploy to assist ocean rescues.
“They'll help us to reach those areas that are unguarded,” said Hoogsteden.
Although the large northwest swell was not expected to peak until late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning, large crowds flocked to Waimea Bay, Pipeline and Sunset Beach to catch a glimpse of surfers challenging Mother Nature.
“We were here almost exactly at the same last year, and I was disappointed because I was thinking, ‘Where are all the waves I keep hearing about,’” said Melinda Henne of San Antonio, Texas, who’s visiting Oahu with her husband Robert for the third time. “This is the wildest we've ever seen it.”
Aaron Swanson, 22, was among a handful of surfers sitting on the peak at Pipeline around mid-day. The recent transplant from Kalaheo, Kauai hopes to land a job as a Honolulu firefighter and compete in professional surf meets this winter.
“Pipe either makes or breaks you, and I'm trying to make it,” said Swanson. “Hopefully it works out.”
Ocean conditions throughout the Hawaiian Islands can be monitored by going to the Hawaii Beach Safety website at: http://oceansafety.soest.hawaii.edu/