Big Wednesday on Big Island


4- TO 6-FOOT WAVES ROLL IN, FEW INJURIES REPORTED

BY CHELSEA JENSEN

WEST HAWAII TODAY

cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com

West Hawaii's beaches were abuzz Wednesday as the first swells of the winter season rolled in.

Calvin Cerrone, 11, having waited months for some good surf to hit the Big Island's shores, spent the afternoon at Honls surf spot in Kailua-Kona riding wave after wave, enjoying each and every moment.

"It's big," he said during a quick break from bodyboarding the 4- to 6-foot waves. "They are good waves, and a lot of fun. I know they'll just get better into the evening."

Cerrone, along with his family, had been keeping tabs on the surf forecast since the weekend. Last night, family members got the forecast they had long been waiting for: High surf on Hawaii Island shores, said Calvin's mother, Amy Cerrone.

"They've been waiting all night since the forecast for some big surf the first time this season," she said while watching her kids enjoy the ocean. "It's not as big as we had hoped, but I'm glad the kids can go out and have fun."

The surf that rolled in Wednesday had been forecast by the National Weather Service, which put out a high surf warning for north- and west-facing shores through this morning. It had predicted 8- to 12-foot waves on the Big Island's western shores.

A high surf advisory was subsequently issued by the service for today through 6 a.m. Friday. The advisory calls for 4- to 8-foot waves on the island's western shores.

Despite the high surf, reports of injuries at local beach and surf spots were few, said Hawaii Fire Department Ocean Safety Division Capt. Chris Stelfox. Through Wednesday afternoon, the department had responded to two incidents involving injured beachgoers at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, he said.

At Laaloa Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands, Hawaii County Lifeguard Waika Koanui said no one had been injured there in the waves on Wednesday. He attributed that good report to lifeguards educating beachgoers of all types and experience levels about ocean safety.

"We've been doing a lot of prevention work to explain the conditions and to let them know it can be a dangerous beach," he said. "Some people may be on vacation, but you've got to remember it is the ocean."

For 30-plus year Kailua-Kona resident Robbie Poznanski, who spent most of Wednesday in the water at Banyans surf spot, the swell is right on time and a good size to open the season.

"I'm kind of glad we didn't get giant waves like the 35-footers predicted for Oahu's north shore because this has been a good warm-up session," he said and noted he hopes the next swell will be bigger. "Compared to what we've had since last winter, which has been dismal, this is good surf."