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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Thursday
Jan232014

'GIANT' SURF ROLLS INTO (OAHU's) THE NORTH SHORE

Excerpt from the 

Story by By Gregg K. Kakesako Honolulu Advertiser

Photos by KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / K MARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

The peak of the largest swell in a decade began hitting the North Shore of Oahu this afternoon and could continue through the night, prolonging anxiety for some shoreline residents and building excitement for throngs of big-wave watchers.

The National Weather Service predicted 40- to 50-foot surf for north- and west-facing shores of Niihau and Kauai; and north-facing shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui. 

As of 1 p.m., surf rolling into Waimea Bay was recorded at 22 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

However, the largest of the swells still hasn't hit Kauai and Oahu's North Shore.

A buoy located more than 200 miles northwest of Oahu continues to record swells, said Bob Burke, National Weather Service meteorologist.

"This will occur into the overnight hours and decrease tomorrow," Burke said.

State and civil defense officials reported no major damage from the waves this morning.

Roads on all islands remain open with sand and surf lapping on to a few shore-front roads on Kauai and Oahu.

John Cummings, spokesman for the city Emergency Management Department, said volunteers began canvassing the shoreline on Oahu's North Shore this morning. State Civil Defense said there were no reports of damage on Kauai or Oahu today.  

However, city Ocean Safety lifeguards put up yellow tape on North Shore beaches from Alii Beach near Haleiwa to Sunset Beach, warning people to stay out of the water.

"Nobody has any business in the ocean," said Ocean Safety Lt. John Hoogsteden.

Even experienced surfers stayed out of the water as strong winds made the surf choppy and unrideable.

"Giant breaking surf" and dangerous currents will make it extremely hazardous to approach the shoreline, according to officials at the National Weather Service.

The gates to the Waimea Bay parking lot and nearby grassy area were closed this morning after surf started rolling into the parking lot. The state closed the beach park Tuesday night in anticipation of today's high surf and is expected to keep it closed through Thursday.

Cars lined the road to the parking lot early this morning causing major traffic headaches for motorists. Police had the cars towed.

At Alii Beach Park, Wailua resident Dora Doroha, 55, said: "This is awesome to watch. We haven't had big surf like this in a long time.

"It's cool watching this from a distance," said Doroha, who spent the morning taking photos of the big surf to send to her grandchildren in Oregon.

City officials reported sand and water running on to the highway at low spots fronting Haleiwa Harbor.

At Haleiwa Boat Harbor, Ryan Bruner, 34, a charter fishing boat employee, said: "Everybody pretty much tied up their boats as well as possible. Nobody's going out."

He said boat owners were using reinforcement lines and extra floats. Mariners were also helping each other out to protect their property.

"It's almost like a tsunami surge, but for a long period of time," he said. 

Roads remain open on Kauai, however, state civil defense officials said there were reports of waves washing over Weke Road on Kauai's north shore near Hanalei.

Surf began building rapidly just after midnight on Kauai and Niihau, and will remain above the warning level through Thursday night.

All north shore beaches, from Anahola to Kee Beach, on Kauai remained today closed until further notice.

 The same storm system causing the swell will also whip a cold front through the islands, bringing gusty

 southwest Kona winds, cloudy skies and locally heavy rainfall through Wednesday.

High winds caused several trees to fall closing a portion of Waialua Beach Road. Also, in the Wahiawa area, California Avenue is now closed in both directions between North Cane Street and Ihoiho Place due to downed power lines.