Maui Surf

First Big Northwest Swell is Here

September 11, 2013, 3:43 PM HST
* Updated September 12, 9:51 AM
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By Carlos Rock

6-10 feet Ho’okipa. Photo: Carlos Rock.

The much anticipated early season northwest swell has arrived. Look for conditions to get bigger throughout Wednesday.

Surfers were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first glimpse of winter energy in the form of a 6 to 10-foot northwest swell that was set to arrive Tuesday, Sept. 10.

However, the swell pulled a fast one on everybody, by only slowly building late Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday dawned with the swell in full force, and Ho’okipa Beach Park was packed as early as 7 a.m. It was very clear that the waves were a little bigger than predicted, or at least that is what it felt like to be in real waves again.

Lines marching in. Photo: Carlos Rock.


There were some serious bombs rolling in from out the back and plenty of great waves with the occasional perfect one. For many it seemed like they were still getting back into the groove; readjusting back to the winter waves.


The swell is predicted to peak on Wednesday, and should serve as a great warm-up to a potentially thrilling winter season (as it always is).

But, with every first big swell after it has been small for some time, the crowds will be on it. Early morning and midday will probably be your best bet.

Look for Ho’okipa to be very crowded with surfers, windsurfers, and beach goers alike. But there are spots out there where you can hunt down empty waves, you just have to know where to sit, and be ready for anything that comes your way.

The aforementioned perfect one. Photo: Carlos Rock.


It is really nice and assuring to drive past Mamas Fish House and see some bigger waves rolling in and lighting up those spots all the way down to Ho’okipa.

Now is the time to get back into serious surfing shape before it starts to get really big.

The wind should be about normal tradewinds in the 10-20mph range which should keep places like Ho’okipa a bit choppy, but fun nonetheless.

The swell is expected to hold in the 6 to 10-foot range for all of Wednesday before dropping to 3 to 5-foot by Thursday, so there is plenty of time to get out there and catch a few before or after work (or during).

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