Hawai‘i Beach Safety

‘tis the season on O‘ahu’s North Shore as the first sizeable winter swells arrive. The ocean has come alive from its summer slumber, with waves reaching 12-15+ feet (by Hawaiian scale, wave faces or fronts 20’ high).

The thunderous surf is a draw to guests visiting on any Hawaiian island – after all, we are the birthplace of surfing or he‘e nalu. Watching the surf roll in, and the skill of which the surfers maneuver across the waves can make for a memorable outing. So too, can being swept off the beach or taken away by strong currents and undertow – and that’s not the kind of memories we want anyone to have!

Here’s a common sense approach to wave safety:
  • Respect the ocean and its power.
  • Know your limitations.
  • Look but don’t touch – stay on the beach; don’t go in or near the water.
  • Talk to the lifeguards – they are professionals whose job is to keep you safe.
Be observant when choosing a spot to watch the surf:
  • If the sand is unusually smooth, waves wash up through that area.
  • If the sand is wet or damp, know that waves wash up through that area.
  • Watch the waves – they arrive in sets. Just because it looks calm, don’t be deceived.
  • Limit what you take to the beach – take less, lose less.
  • Keep an eye on valuables: kids, camera’s, bags, spouses, etc.

Happy and safe wave watching!