Monster Waves Crash Through Oahu, Hawaii’s Shores

Giant waves bombard Hawaii's coast.
by | February 26, 2016

WindowSeat Hawaiian Swell from Hawaii Magazine

OAHU, HAWAII – Hawaiians witnessed one of the most monstrous swells to ever come to the north shores of Oahu: a 70-foot swell as high as six normal transport buses on top of each other.

It’s been a week since the gigantic waves decided to travel from the sea and onto main roads and houses near the shore. The waves caused severe coastal erosion in areas, resulting in a house barely hanging onto what was left of the land beneath it,  the lifeguard’s tower almost falling into the ocean and a 30-foot stretch of beach on the north of Oahu suddenly disappearing.’

“I tell everybody it was extra, extra large,” Adam Lerner, an Ocean Safety Lieutenant stationed at Chun’s Reef in Haleiwa, said.

The state’s officials shut down a 12-mile stretch of Kamehameha Highway on the north of Oahu because of the high, strong waves brought about by the swell.

Lifeguards were still on duty during the swell. They were able to save dozens of people and issued warnings around the area.

State officials to homeowners

“If you have a sea wall and your sea wall has failed, you can contact us, or contact a respective county permitting authority to determine if an emergency permit is available to repair the sea wall,” said Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands administrator Sam Lemmo.

“If you’re gonna use sand bags, I’d say feel free to use them to protect their home from flooding but try not to put the small sand bags out on the beach because they’ll only get washed away and they’ll end up out on the reef, they’ll be little protection from small sand bags,” Lemmo said.

The culprit

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the supposedly-weakening El Nino is seen to be the culprit of the deadly waves, one of the strongest surf events in the country in the last 50 years.

The past year saw the worst of El Nino, with events like the bizarre #Blizzard2016 that bombarded the eastern seaboard of the US and caused $2 billion in economic losses, a food crisis in countries, and the sudden drop of Thailand and Taiwan’s temperature that left dozens dead in the cold.

What’s next?

The National Weather Service warns people to expect another strong swell coming in after this one. The forecast is that north-facing shores will experience a rapid rise of waves that will reach 40 to 50 feet (as high as 4 buses) on Wednesday.

This next swell, however, is considered by surfers as nature giving permission to launch the “The Eddie” surfing contest this Thursday, two weeks after it was called off because of “unfavorable conditions.”


Think you can brave waves as high as the ones that hit Oahu? Tell us in the comments below!

Abu travels for the sake of getting out of the polluted and murky place that is Metro Manila. No matter where she is or where she will be, she savors every moment of her travels. She's also one of those people who suddenly and uncontrollably shouts, "HUWAH, THIS PLACE IS AMAZEBALLS!"

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