Surf's up


POSTED: Sunday, November 01, 2009

Surfers, tourists and residents are expected to flock to the north and west shores of Oahu today after a Halloween swell arrived yesterday afternoon.

Lifeguards issued several warnings to the inexperienced as the waves picked up in height and strength yesterday afternoon. But most beach-goers seemed unafraid.

“;I thought it would be bigger,”; said Kai Santos, 42, a professional bodysurfer, who caught 14-foot waves at Pipeline.

He arrived early to catch some waves before heading back to Hawaii Kai to take his daughter trick-or-treating.

“;I want to come tomorrow,”; he said.

A high-surf advisory remains in effect through 6 p.m. tomorrow. North Shore waves are predicted to have 14- to 18-foot faces. West shores are forecast to be 8 to 12 feet today.

At Waimea Bay, the shore break was about 10 feet, surprising some beach-goers.

“;A little nerve-wracking at first. It's just a lot of water,”; said Rob Holmes, an Army sergeant from Schofield Barracks. “;It's a freaking rush.”;

Khurram Soleman, a student from Pakistan studying at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, was rolled underwater and slammed his left cheek into the sand in the waves.

“;The first time I went in, I never realized it was going to be so dangerous,”; he said, his cheek still red from the impact. “;It punched me hard.”;

Lifeguards reported no serious incidents yesterday.

This weekend wasn't the first big swell this season—a larger North Shore swell came in September—but this weekend's waves still had residents thrilled.

Rex Greene, 18, a freshman at BYUH, was excited to have waves even if they that weren't that big.

“;It's been dead a long time,”; he said. “;The (last) ones were peeling. These are a little mushy.”;

Leanne Tilley, who spent her time reading a book on the beach, said the waves were “;pretty standard.”;

“;It's relaxing,”; she said.

Mark Nankervis and Tilley, both of Melbourne, Australia, made a day of the visit to the North Shore, going diving with the sharks before Nankervis went body boarding at Waimea.

“;It wasn't massive, but it was pretty fun,”; he said after catching some 10-foot waves.

“;Mother nature, we love you; the waves are our savior,”; said Quinn Kattengell, a cook at Sharks Cove Grill, who said the big waves have been bringing in more customers all week.

Some North Shore restaurants speculated the crowds would have been bigger, but many people were preparing for Halloween.

“;(Sunday) will be busy,”; said Paul Smith, a manager at Cholos Homestyle Mexican II restaurant at North Shore Marketplace. While Halloween may have thinned the restaurant crowd, more people would return today to see the surf and the Xcel Pro surf contest at Sunset Beach, he said.

Scott and Marla Nichols of Honolulu grabbed lunch at Cholos and then watched the waves as the sun set.

“;Glad the big waves are coming back,”; Scott Nichols said. “;It's fun to come out and watch the big waves.”;