Saturday, December 26, 2009

The gift of surf

In an article today in the Hawaii Star Bulletin by Rob Shikina that includes this surf picture by Cindy Ellen Russell :
along with this:
On a day when giant surf pounded Oahu's North Shore, one wave at Waimea Bay stood above the rest.

"It broke about 100 yards outside of the surfers," said one lifeguard who estimated the freak wave at higher than 40 feet (face value).

"Everybody in the lineup was cleaned," the lifeguard said.

Ocean Safety Lt. John Hoogsteden said about 20 surfers were in the water and that some 10 boards were damaged or broken by the wave.

In the aftermath, lifeguards on a personal watercraft pulled about 15 surfers out of the ocean.

"It was the biggest wave," said Sylvain Cazenave, who was taking photos when the wave hit at about 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

Cazenave, who has been visiting the North Shore from France every year since 1980, said the surfers could not get out of its way.

"Those guys were paddling very fast, but they all got nailed," he said. "Many boards were broken."

Now here are some side effects of big waves:
. . . lifeguards were busy. On the island's north and west sides, lifeguards gave 2,400 warnings, made 25 rescues and assisted 20 people to shore by 3 p.m., said Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic.

At least two surfers were injured at Waimea Bay. One suffered a head injury and another a hamstring injury, lifeguards said.

Traffic on Kamehameha Highway slowed to a standstill near Waimea Bay yesterday as spectators gathered along the road and at the beach to watch the surf.

plus this rather surprising effect:

But the large surf also repaired some beach erosion.

Van Der Leeden said high surf during the Eddie Aikau big-wave contest earlier this month took about 15 feet of sand from Sunset Beach, forcing the city to remove a lifeguard stand from its concrete foundation and replace it with a temporary lifeguard stand on skids.

Yesterday's swell brought back about 10 feet of sand, he said.

"The swell brought us a Christmas present," he said.

Waves have always been blamed for beach erosion. How about that? Giant waves can also bring back sands! You win some, you lose some. Nature has her own way of handling things. No need for headless-jackass kind of "blame the human" human to pretend to be able to meddle the nature process -- they can only make things worse. The Star Bulletin ably entitled this article "The gift of surf" I guess it is because 'tis the season of gift giving. Merry Christmas!

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