HONOLULU (KITV) — A big swell generated by Hurricane Walaka kept lifeguards on Oahu’s south shore busy, Thursday. Walaka passed far northwest of Hawaii, but the storm still rolled in big surf and hazardous conditions.
“Lifeguards on surfboards. Lifeguards on jet skis were assisting our visitors and locals stuck in very, very strong and dangerous currents,” Captain of south shore operations for Honolulu’s Ocean Safety, Paul Merino said.
Lifeguards rescued 81 people off Oahu’s south shore, Thursday. In addition, Ocean Safety says there were at least 1,000 assist and preventative actions.
“They (lifeguards) keep blowing the horn and telling people to get away from the wall,” visitor from Canada, Judy Vivian said.
Vivian told KITV4 this isn’t her first trip to Hawaii, but it’s her first time experiencing this kind of hazardous surf along Kuhio Beach in Waikiki.
“It’s a little scary for me.. and I’m not that good of a swimmer.. so yeah,” Vivian said.
A high surf advisory for south facing shores of Oahu, Kauai and Niihau remains in effect until at least early Friday morning. Surf was expected to reach faces of about 8 to 12 feet, on Thursday. Enough to keep some beach goers out of the water, but luring others in.
“It was some pretty good swell,” surfer James Culhane said. “I’ve been surfing for several years now .. so I feel like I can handle it.”
Signs were posted along beaches in Waikiki to warn visitors and residents of the dangerous conditions.
“The current is treacherously dangerous because it will sweep you out to sea. Now the tide is changing and it’s going low…and the current factor will only multiply greatly, so we’re out warning the public,” Capt. Merino added.
Surf is expected to fade overnight into Friday.
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