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Maui’s North-Facing Shores Can Expect Big Surf

Posted December 20, 2013, 05:54 AM HST Updated December 20, 2013, 10:14 AM HST
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Another advisory level swell is expected to reach our winter shorelines today and building into the weekend.  This is a file photo of Kahului Harbor's Pier 1 taken last month. Photo by Riley Yap.

Another advisory level swell is expected to reach our winter shorelines today and building into the weekend. This is a file photo of Kahului Harbor’s Pier 1 taken last month. Photo by Riley Yap.

By Riley Yap

Wave activity was expected to pick up late last night and build into Friday, Dec. 20, as another advisory-level winter swell arrives to the shores of Maui. The National Weather Service has issued a high-surf warning for the north facing shores of Maui through 6 p.m. tonight.

North facing shores should see waves with 10+ foot faces as the weekend unfolds, and much larger sets at the better exposed breaks that support the west-northwest directional energy of the approaching swell.

This west northwest energy started to build Thursday night into Friday, easily reaching advisory levels and potentially exceeding warning levels by midday. The swell is projected to peak Friday afternoon offering chest-overhead surf at more westerly exposed breaks due to the heavy shadowing of Moloka’i.

Spectators attempt to take pictures of the heavy surf at Ho’okipa that spoiled Maui ocean athletes last week. File photo by Riley Yap.

Spectators attempt to take pictures of the heavy surf at Ho’okipa that spoiled Maui ocean athletes last week. File photo by Riley Yap.

Surfers can also expect occasional double overhead sets at select breaks along the north shore towards Ho’okipa.

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South-facing shores may also be able to receive some of the west-northwest energy at better exposed breaks today and Saturday if you know where to look. Expect to see potentially solid chest-to-overhead surf at deeper breaks like Big Beach. Be sure to take advantage of this potential sleeper swell hitting the south shores this weekend, as it will not stick around for very long, through Sunday at best.

According to the National Weather Service, expect ocean water occasionally sweeping across portions of beaches. Very strong breaking waves and rip currents are anticipated, and breaking waves may make navigating some harbor channels dangerous.

For safety sake, stay away from the shoreline at all affected areas. Heed all advice given by ocean safety officials and exercise extreme caution.

The surf report for Friday, Dec. 20, is as follows: North and northwest facing shores should see head-high to overhead surf around 6- to 8-foot faces with occasional larger sets at better breaks farther away from town. Upper west shores may also be blessed with some minor surf of around 1- to 3-foot faces and potentially bigger at the better locations. East and northeast facing shores will be receiving wind swells potentially offering waves ranging from 2- to 4-foot faces. South facing shores may see a little more of the approaching swell late Saturday evening with wave heights up to 2- to 4-footers.

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