Maui Surf

First North Swell of the Season Arrives

September 11, 2012, 12:51 PM HST
* Updated September 11, 3:48 PM
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By Carlos Rock

Surfer hits the lip at Ho’okipa Beach Park Friday afternoon. Photo: Christopher Hisamoto

Last weekend the surfing gods gave the Hawaiian islands the first proper NW swell of the season.

It peaked at solid 4-footers (Hawaiian) at select spots on Friday afternoon and continued to hold its size on Saturday before slowly declining for the rest of the weekend.

For those of you that got out there, Ho’okipa Beach Park was more alive than it has been the last four months. Lines could be seen way out in the distance as surfers got just a short preview of what winter is likely to produce.

You know those movie trailers you see in the theaters before the movie actually starts? You know the ones that make the movie look really exciting? It was like a surfing-in-Hawaii-during-winter movie that had all of the biggest and “baddest” swells.

The truth is, there are no more north swells predicted for a while as summer comes to a close.

What was interesting about this swell was forecasters (Surf News Network) predicted the peak of the swell at precisely 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon at about 4-foot Hawaiian, 8-foot faces.

Midday gem that slipped through the crowd. Ho’okipa Beach Park

It is really extraordinary that forecasting has become so exact that surfers are able to just wait until the swell peaks and get out there for the best waves of the swell.

And they weren’t wrong. From 3 p.m. Friday and on, waves were coming in consistently at 4-feet with a couple rogue 5-footers in a set of 10-12 waves that would clean everyone out that was not expecting it to be that big.

Personally, we took every one of those 10-12 clean up waves on the head as we were sitting out of position.

This north swell was a breath of fresh air to one of the worst summers in a decade. It sure felt nice to feel a little scared again while out in the surf.

Not bad for the first swell of the season. Ho’okipa. Photo: Carlos Rock

If you do not already know about the webcams set up, then here is your initiation. There are webcams set up all around the island directed at surf spots that have a live stream where you can look at the conditions from your desk as you debate whether to drive out there or not. (We’re not going to post links here.)

This is a very useful tool, and one that will save you gas and time. However, these web cams will also work against the surfers because everyone can see where the good spots are at. This will produce more crowded line-ups.

Save Honolua. Photo: ASP

There is hope for more swells as September looks to be a bit livelier in terms of storms in the South Pacific. Stay tuned for more south swells this month.

As far as this last NW swell, we can’t wait for that movie to come out.

Honolua dreaming.

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