Maui Surf

PHOTOS: The Best Run of South Swell in Years

May 21, 2013, 2:21 PM HST
* Updated May 21, 2:36 PM
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By Carlos Rock

Secret Spot, Lahaina, going off. Photo: Carlos Rock.

The best run of south swell in years happened this past weekend and is still going off as of Tuesday morning. The waves remained a consistent 6 to 10-feet (face size) with occasional 12-footers all along the south facing shores.

From La Perouse all the way to the tip of Lahaina, the waves were firing.

There hasn’t been a south swell or multiple south swells to ever lineup this way to produce waves like this in the last 10  years, at least. And for the swells to stick around for more than three days is something very rare.

Chris "Ula Ula" Hoffman takes a big ride, according to reader Kat Cruz (also the photographer).

Chris “Ula Ula” Hoffman takes a big ride, according to reader Kat Cruz (also the photographer).

Also, the wind was exceptional as well. The wind for some strange reason (not that we’re complaining) decided to switch and blow from the straight north which translated to perfect offshore winds for the whole south and west-side.


Some spots turned into world class, all-time conditions with perfect barrels all day long until dark.


A particular spot in Lahaina turned into Indonesia-esque perfection with the 6-foot waves and light offshore winds making clean and crisp barrels with barely any crowd.

It seems like the crowds are thinning out as this run of swell continues due to the work week, and possibly, because people are getting surfed out from pulling marathon sessions all day long. With perfect tides, the conditions all aligned perfectly to make this swell one for the ages.

One particular popular spot turned on to produce exceptionally long tube rides for those that wanted to get shacked silly. If you haven’t already guessed, Ma’alaea Harbor, the fastest wave in the world, and also one of the rarest when it turns on, was churning out endless tubes for those that were willing to pull in over the shallow reef.

Ma’alaea firing. Photo: David Baker.


And guess what, there are still waves on the forecast. The waves are expected to stay in the 5 to 9-foot range up until Thursday where it appears to start dropping off.

It’s been like deja-vu from the winter surf season. Something surfers on Maui are not used to seeing because normally south swells don’t last more than a couple days, four days tops. But five or six days of pumping swell? That’s unheard of.

For now there’s more waves to ride while this swell is still locked in, and hopefully there are more on the way and the rest of the summer isn’t flat.

But, with the last few days of endless perfection, this run of swell will keep surfers happy for a while.

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