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Thursday, December 21, 2000

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Shall we have a go at it? A couple of fellows weigh
the pros and cons of surfing the roiling, rolling
waves at the Pipeline, on Oahu's North Shore.

North Shore surf
attracts big crowd

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Hearing about the expected high surf, Ewa Beach resident Kalani Baino stopped along a railing overlooking Waimea Bay to check it out.

He wasn't the only one yesterday. About 150 others gazed out at 15- to 20-foot waves rolling in late yesterday afternoon. Several dozen surfers bobbed in the ocean, waiting for the perfect ride.

Baino said only the most experienced surfers would dare to ride the waves of the North Shore when the surf is this high.

"You cannot challenge the ocean," said Baino, 33.

"If you're not experienced, don't even try it."

By dark yesterday, lifeguards and civil defense workers had posted high surf warning signs along the North Shore, but reported no incidents.

Weather forecasters this morning said surf was expected to remain in the 15- to 20-foot range, lowering slowly through the day to 12 to 15 feet by sundown.

However, high surf advisories will remain in effect throughout the day and may last through Christmas Day, said Tim Craig, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Sunset Beach firefighters said there have been no reports of beachfront property damage from the high surf.

Civil defense officials patrolled the North Shore throughout the evening to make sure residential homes and roads were safe, said Scott Naleimaile of Oahu Civil Defense and a liaison for the state Department of Transportation.

Kaimuki resident Derek Yoshida arrived at Waimea Bay at 6:15 p.m. after nearly two hours on the road in hopes of seeing high surf.

"We expected big surf, but it's not that big," Yoshida said.

Hopes had risen that the waves might be big enough to trigger the invitation-only Eddie Aikau surfing competition -- which requires 20-foot waves.

But Craig speculated that the meet would be postponed again because of a lack of really big waves and strong tradewinds, clocking 10 to 25 miles an hour.

"That's considered a little too strong for surfing," he said.

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