A swell time is forecast for town
The Weather Service prediction of big surf from the south stokes wave-riders
Town surfers are in for an early Christmas gift -- a rare winter south swell that could start arriving late today.
The surf should start building sometime tonight or early tomorrow and may reach advisory levels. Wave faces are expected to be in the 5- to 7-foot range with the possibility of occasional 8-foot sets at the height of the swell, said Jonathan Hoag, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.
The waves should peak tomorrow afternoon and slowly decrease through Wednesday. But another smaller swell may come in Thursday into the weekend, Hoag said.
If the swell arrives as expected, it will mark just the fourth time since 1980 for winter surf on south shores. Similar south swells also have happened in 1993 and 2004.
"It's unusual in December, it's more usual for our early south swells to appear around March or February instead of right in the middle of winter," Hoag said
And mother nature is not leaving out the north and east shores. A northwest swell could come in Tuesday night and strong tradewinds are bringing a wind swell to east shores, prompting a high-surf advisory.
The wind, however, could make for choppy surf conditions.
Rough seas may also force the state to temporarily stop the ongoing replenishment of beach sand in Waikiki, said Peter Young, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Young said the $500,000 project has been running smoothly since its Dec. 1 start, saying that some 1,000 cubic yards of sand pumped from the sea floor so far has been mixing well at Kuhio Beach. The state is still hoping to complete the project by the first week of January, Young said.
The outlook for a south swell pleased Matt Pounds, who spent about 1 1/2 hours yesterday afternoon making the most out of the windy, waist-high waves that were breaking at Straightouts, a spot off Kewalo Basin.
The 25-year-old Moanalua High School teacher hopes to catch a bit of the swell tomorrow before he leaves later that day to New York to spend the holidays with family.
"My flight doesn't leave until 10:50 at night or something," he said after tucking his longboard inside his Jeep. "So that's the plan. I hope it actually hits."