Maui Surf

Big Swell and Kona Winds Arrive

October 9, 2012, 12:32 PM HST
* Updated October 9, 5:30 PM
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By Carlos Rock

“It was really fun.” Ho’okipa. Photo: Carlos Rock

Winter season is in full swing with the biggest swell so far, coupled with light southerly Kona winds creating epic conditions.

If you’re a surfer, then you welcome Kona winds simply because they usually blow offshore winds for all the north shore spots. Ironic as some people just see it as vog (volcanic fog) or a haze over the islands, and the hot weather.

“Konas” usually mean glassy mornings if the forecast shows light winds, and offshores for the breaks on the north shore. The offshore winds stand the wave up instead of making it crumble to mush, and produce more opportunities to ride a barrel.

Surfer Aaron gold on a legendary wave last winter. Photo: Surfline.

The term comes from a change in the wind direction from NE trades, to S/SW winds. These southerly winds bring in the volcanic fog from the Big Island’s active volcano, Kilauea. The vog blankets the islands with a haze that can cause breathing difficulties to people with asthma and other conditions.

The vog will usually hang around until the trades come back by Thursday or Friday.

A massive swell is forecast to blast the islands Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maui Now’s Carlos Rock. Thanks for the shot! Photo: Jimmie Hepp.

This swell is projected to reach advisory levels of 18-30+ feet this week. This could potentially bring the legendary big wave Jaws to life.

And, coupled with the light winds, the recent “paddle in to big surf” craze going on in the surfing world, it may all culminate in an epic session. Imagine surfing gigantic Jaws while it is glassy? Sounds like ideal conditions to paddle instead of it being windy.

This swell has all of the up and coming big wave riders on Maui. This group of individuals are not even out of their 20s and are risking their lives not only riding Jaws, but paddling in with their own arms and 10-foot big wave boards.

Secret Spot. Photo: Carlos Rock.

Last season saw an epic session go down as the Maui crew consisting of Albee Layer, Matt Meola, Nakoa DeCoite, and some groms put on a show and a glimpse of what the future holds for the sport of surfing, and more importantly testing the boundaries of what is possible on a 30-40 foot wave.

Did we mention the vog makes killer sunsets? Photo: Carlos Rock.

Don’t be surprised if the outer reefs outside of Kanaha stretching all the way to Outer Sprecks turn on as well. These waves are all very underground to the surf world, but with the right conditions and the right swell, those outer reefs are world-class tow-in waves.

If possible, try and make it down to the North Shore, or maybe even Jaws to witness the huge waves and the brave souls attempting to ride them.

This swell is promising that winter is just getting started and surfers are liking what they are seeing and riding.

Keep ‘em coming, Mother Nature.

Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
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