Maui Surf

The Last of the North Swells and the First Big South

May 14, 2013, 4:16 PM HST
* Updated May 14, 11:15 PM
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By Carlos Rock

Getting ready, Ho’okipa. Photo: Carlos Rock.

The last decent north swell last week brought with it some ugly weather. But 6-foot waves on the north shore in the middle of May is something rare, and a little bit of rain won’t deter some surfers from getting out there.

The swell was alright at best. A mix swell never really does well at Ho’okipa and the N/NW mix produced some big and lumpy ones out there. Will this be the last north swell of the season? Who knows.

It seems like the seasons are lasting longer as these springtime north swells are just the icing on the cake of an already incredible season of riding waves.

But, the south swell season has just begun.


A big south swell is on its way as the forecast is showing signs of the first big south swell of the summer, with more on the way.

Sunny afternoons, Ho’okipa. Photo: Carlos Rock.


A 6-10+ ft south swell is bearing down on the islands and is expected to hit Friday (5/17) and hold till Saturday (5/18). You know it is the real deal when you see evidence of another island chain further south already going off and feeling the full effects of the swell.

Basically, Tahiti, home of the world-famous death-defying below-sea level slab of a wave called Teahupoo, was gigantic over the weekend. Big enough only to be towed in by a handful of insane chargers. So, whenever you see Tahiti absolutely going off, then you know all of that energy is on its way north to Hawaii.

Fiji also saw some huge waves as well from this swell, so you know it’s on the way.


Hopefully the swell doesn’t lose too much energy as it makes its way over.

South swells should not be hyped up too much, especially for Maui, because of the shadowing from the other islands. It is best to not expect the best waves ever, but a little optimism never hurt anybody.

There should be some decent waves, but the crowds might make it difficult with this being the first big south of the season. Find your spot with some buddies and you’re sure to have a good time.

Teahupoo Tahiti, hopefully we get every ounce of this energy. Photo: Seth DeRoulet/Surfline.

Also, based on the Tahiti surf report, there is another big swell on the way for next week Tuesday, so all of that energy should make its way up to Hawaii by the end of next week.

Pray that these swells are the first of many to come and will turn into an epic summer for surf and hopefully the famous wave at Ma’alaea comes back to life with this decent south swell this weekend.

The forecast is calling for possibly a late 5-foot pulse this Thursday, but most of the action will most likely happen Friday/Saturday. Don’t tell anybody.

Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
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