Maui Surf

30 Foot Swell for Friday

January 18, 2013, 10:27 AM HST
* Updated January 18, 12:23 PM
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By Carlos Rock

Honolua Bay. 1/15. Photo: Carlos Rock.

Nonstop waves have made this winter truly great. Maui has been firing for so long now that any thought of leaving entails missing some swell action that will most likely go away in the summer time even though fares to California on Hawaiian Airlines have been extra low.

But why go? A massive 18-30ft+ WNW swell is about to blast the islands with more on the way. Truth be told that these numbers will have most surfers cringing at the thought of paddling out in that type of surf, but with the right knowledge and time on hand, finding a spot that the swell wrapped into on the other side of the island will for sure be worth the time.

The light winds have persisted for quite some time now as Ho’okipa enjoyed one of the best days of the year with bombing 10-12 foot faces with glassy conditions. The sunset session was all time.

But with popularity comes a crowd. Ho’okipa was packed for sure as surfers wanted to get a piece of the big conditions. However, if solitude is what you seek then there are always ways around surfing with a crowd.


Just be prepared to be able to have the nerve to actually surf alone, or stop complaining about the crowds.


The upper west side of Maui boasts many coves and bays that produce world class surf with little to no crowd at all with Honolua being the one exception (probably the most crowded spot on the island).

Big Ho’okipa. 1/16. Photo: Carlos Rock.

If you do decide to try out the big stuff, be warned that most beaches do not have lifeguards and if there is any doubt in your mind regarding your overall safety, then you are much better off surfing somewhere else or just watching.

With a swell of this size, look for Jaws to break and for other parts of the island to see some significant wrap from it as well.


However, there is still the problem of island blockage from Molokai and Lanai. With the swell having more of a westerly direction, the islands could pose a problem, but with the size of it, it shouldn’t play much of a role.

The south side could in fact see some action from this swell also so if the whole north side of the island is closing out bombing status, Lahaina could be playful and easy going.

However, when swells are this big, proceed with caution.





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