Maui Surf

First Big Northwest Swell of Winter Season is 10-18 Feet

October 18, 2013, 11:07 AM HST
* Updated October 18, 11:10 AM
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By Carlos Rock

Hazy sunsets with good waves at Ho’okipa. Photo: Carlos Rock.

A big 10-foot northwest swell with light winds is expected to officially kick off the winter season.

The 10 to 18-foot swell out of the northwest is supposed to come in this weekend for all of you that are craving some big meaty waves. The wind is also predicted to lighten up to produce exceptionally glassy conditions.

Ah winter, how surfers in Hawaii have missed you so, because the bulk of summer was so cruel.

This summer was unkind, with the exception of the two big south swells in the beginning. Months-long flatness, a series of shark attacks, and more flatness all combined for dismal surf conditions.


Enter the consistent northwest swells. This is the first big swell to come in for the winter season and just like last season, there are some big swells happening in October. It seems like the seasons may be starting earlier and ending later as evidenced by last season.

The Point can hold 10 feet if you can. Photo: Carlos Rock.


The winter season 2012-13 lasted from October to April with numerous 30-foot swells. We will see how this season turns out but one thing seems sure: there will be plenty of surfing going on.

The swell is predicted to start rising by Friday afternoon and should reach 5 to 9-foot by Saturday afternoon. The real big stuff doesn’t come in until Sunday when wave heights are predicted to reach 10 to 18-foot before slightly dropping to the 8 to 15-foot range.

The main hub of the north shore, Ho’okipa Beach Park, will be closing out come Saturday night while the pros and kamikazes have their day charging the huge waves. Since that spot will basically be “unsurfable,” surfers will be spread out or all will head to one spot that will hold that size, Honolua Bay.

Epic sunsets are the norm in Maui. Photo: Carlos Rock.


Honolua Bay will be crowded with news of the swell and the weekend timing. But, it will be perfect Honolua Bay. A big 10-foot NW swell is all that spot really needs to turn on as lines march in one by one and peel perfectly along the cliff. The first swell will be crowded so the morning will probably be the best bet.

However, there are so many spots that hold the big NW swells all over the north shore so a little bit of adventuring might be a fun exercise in search of new waves.

This is just the start of winter and there should be dozens of more swells out on the horizon. Be sure to keep checking the forecast and swell maps for more storm activity.

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