Maui Surf

Surprise East Swells and Advisories

February 7, 2013, 7:20 PM HST
* Updated February 7, 7:25 PM
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By Carlos Rock

Gotta love the wrap around. The Bay. Photo: Carlos Rock.

Surprise east swells are a real treat when you are hoping to catch a few after work and before the sun goes down. That’s just how it goes. Making time to go surfing after working hard to earn some green to support your ocean addiction.

This surprise east swell did not really register on the surf report. It only showed a meager 3-5+ ft with the wind. However, the storm that produced the heavy showers must have brought with it larger than normal east swell.

But, with the extreme low tides, most spots were shallower than normal which means for some spots, a very careful walk over the reef where you would otherwise just paddle over during a normal tide swing.

There must be a full moon, but the cloudy nights are making it impossible to tell. Another way to tell is the extreme tide swings. The position of the moon pulls the tide, making it go from a high tide of 2-feet over the normal limit, to a low of negative 2-feet which exposes rocks and leaves barely any water on the reef at some spots.


Most surf spots suffer from this major tide swing, but the east facing shores near Waiehu tend to suffer a little more.


A small cut on your foot or some wauna (urchin) won’t stop you from catching a few at sunset. Wounds heal, the empty feeling of missing a decent surf session when you could have easily paddled out lasts slightly longer. Or maybe just until your next surf session.

Surprise: there’s waves. East side. Photo: Carlos Rock.

Friday (2/8) is predicting 1-3+ feet coming from the northwest, but is expected to make a drastic jump to 12-foot (advisory level) in the evening. If you remember a previous article which stated that the most dangerous time to be out in the water is during a rising swell, then I suggest you check it out to make sure what you are getting yourself into before you end up in a bad situation.

“If in doubt, don’t go out” are some words that always ring true in the surfing world. We are at the mercy of the sea whenever we take the plunge. Some of us are just better at handling the heavy water Hawaii is so notorious for.


If you want to try your luck in the big surf, make sure you go with a partner to look out for each other, go where there are lifeguards, or go with the right equipment and of course, state of mind.

The weekend looks like advisory level waves for the north shore, so a trip to the other side for some wrap around will probably be your best bet.

Stay safe.

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