SOUTH SURF'S UP!
South Shore surf's up!
A south swell keeps lifeguards and surfers busy over the weekend
Surfers welcomed the big waves that pummeled southern shores the past two days, but it was too much of a good thing for some swimmers, including several dozen who were participating in a rough-water swimming event.
WATER SAFETY TIPS
Tips on staying safe in rough water:
» Talk to lifeguards about ocean conditions.
» Know your limits. Do not go in the water if you are a novice swimmer.
» If in doubt, don't go out.
» For updates on beach conditions, check online at oceansafety.soest.hawaii.edu.
Source: Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division
By noon yesterday, lifeguards were involved in nine rescues in Waikiki, and jet skis were used to help 10 people, said Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for Emergency Medical Services.
On Sunday, lifeguards conducted three rescues and assisted about 70 people out of rough seas off Waikiki. Thirty-seven of those who needed assistance were participants in a 7-kilometer rough-water race. Despite the conditions, three participants qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008.
Four surfing-related accidents also occurred in Waikiki on Sunday, but injuries were not severe, Cheplic said.
At Kewalo's, some town surfers enjoyed the south swell.
"I'm happy," said Waikiki resident Yuko Whiteside, 26. "No need to go North Shore. Long drive."
Makiki resident Bryan Gray, 22, said, "It's really rare to have waves 2 to 3 feet in the middle of December. We usually don't have them until April or May." Gray surfed at Kewalo's early yesterday and returned for more after breakfast.
The south swell is expected to dissipate by tonight.
Forecasters issued a high-surf advisory for the south-facing shores yesterday for all islands. The advisory is expected to be canceled at about 6 p.m. today.
A late-season storm off New Zealand about a week ago generated the south swell. Waves ranged from 6 to 10 feet, with occasional higher sets, lead forecaster Roy Matsuda said.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A bodyboarder took a glance before deciding to continue his ride at Sandy Beach yesterday. Conditions were messy with 6-foot waves and some 10-foot sets. CLICK FOR LARGE
A second south swell is predicted to arrive Thursday night but is expected to be small. "We don't look for it to be exceptional like this," Matsuda said.
Since Thursday, rough waves curtailed the sand replenishment project in Waikiki, according to Dolan Eversole, a coastal geologist managing the project.
The barge for the project was anchored a mile and a half offshore in deeper waters until work resumes. So far, about 3,700 cubic yards of sand have been pumped from the sea floor. About 40 percent of the project is complete, said Peter Young, chairman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The project, which began this month after several delays, calls for 10,000 cubic yards of sand to be pumped onto Kuhio Beach.
Officials are monitoring ocean conditions and hope to complete the project by the end of the month or early January. Work could resume tomorrow if ocean conditions permit.
"If the weather and surf cooperate, then we can finish the job," Young said.