Maui Surf

South Swell Working for Some Spots Only

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By Carlos Rock

Flat at Dumps – wrong swell direction. Photo: Carlos Rock.

A south swell is lighting up certain spots, but the wind and big tidal swings have made things funky for the most part.

It could be a number of things that contributed to why this swell never lived up to the hyped 3 to 7-feet. It could be the south/southeast mix direction in the swell, the big tide swings, and the really windy conditions that totally butchered this swell for the top spots along the south side.

However, a certain spot was really favored by the SE mix in the swell and wasn’t too bothered by the wind. A spot on the south side at La Perouse that normally is overshadowed by the real heavy water spot known as La Perouse, was dishing out head high perfect lefts for the few that made the extra drive down past Makena.

Good at Laps. Photo: Carlos Rock.


What a score. No one had any idea that this spot would be breaking with this swell, but checking to know for sure is always a good idea.

In classic Maui fashion this swell was a day late and arrived with windy conditions that turned the waves into onshore slop. Also, a recent full moon resulted in big tidal swings that worked for some spots and turned others off.

The tide swings determine how much water is on the reef at any given time which is good or bad for some spots. That is common knowledge. The full moon made high tides of 2-feet meaning plenty of water on the reef and negative tides which means barely any water on the reefs and very shallow conditions, obviously.

One more from La Perouse. Photo: Carlos Rock.


And all of these factors came together gloriously to make a mediocre swell, for some. All of Lahaina side suffered from this and the long drive for many was met with lacking conditions. The low tide afternoons were really bad while the mid rising/dropping tides were alright at best. The webcams proved this to be true.

However, if you’re the type of surfer that is satisfied with chest to head high surf, then there is nothing to be disgruntled about. Surfers on Maui know all too well that the conditions seldom align to make epic waves but when it does, it gets really good, possibly some of the best waves in the world.

Summer is halfway over and there looks like there is still more swell on the charts, which means there are plenty more waves to be had around the island.


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