COURTESY COVERED IMAGES / SARAH TOWNER
Sean Moody churned the surf at Haleiwa yesterday during the first event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Black Friday coincided with Big Friday on the North Shore yesterday as the first giant swell of the winter season brought throngs to watch the waves and shop on this otherwise sleepy town.
"With surf and it being a holiday, you can't ask for a better day," said Wendy Barnfield, owner of Barnfield's Raging Isle Surf & Cycle. "It's busier for sure for this time of year."
Waves peaked yesterday afternoon with 20-foot faces or higher from a low-pressure system that originated south of Alaska, according to National Weather Service lead forecaster Tim Craig.
Shops in Haleiwa have grown used to relying on the winter season and its world-famous surf for a traffic boost.
Scott Swartz, owner of I Am Paradise, in the North Shore Marketplace, said business usually picks up with the start of the three Vans Triple Crown of Surfing contests. The final day of the first event ended yesterday at Haleiwa Beach.
"Once Thanksgiving passes, people have Christmas on their minds, and because of the surf, they are drawn out here," he said. "I think it's a combination. ... People are more or less coming to see the waves, to see the surf competition; they are out having lunch and out shopping."
A high-surf advisory should remain in effect today and be canceled by tomorrow, though waves will remain high on northern beaches, Craig said.
Another significant north swell could reach advisory levels of 15 feet late Tuesday or Wednesday, he said.
Jim Howe, chief of lifeguard operations, said the disorganized, rough swell kept many surfers on the beach yesterday. No incidents had been reported as of late afternoon except for a kite-surfer rescued off Rocky Point after losing his kite, officials said.
"It's pretty ugly, pretty stormy," he said.
County Civil Defense officials were monitoring the massive waves, but it did not appear they would threaten beachfront homes or low-lying roads, said spokesman John Cummings.