High surf

Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Power of the Elements.’ See more responses here.

For the past couple of weeks or more, we’ve had a series of sizable WNW swells reaching the Big Island. What this has meant is lousy snorkeling conditions on the west side of the island and a surge in calling in sick to work amongst surfers.

The photos below show surf from one of these swells crashing ashore along the North Kohala coast. The first of these photos was taken from the parking lot of one of the parks there. In the bottom corner of this area is a metal boat hoist and concrete barriers blocking access to the corner of the lot, where it’s no longer safe to park. When big swells wash over the lot, these big concrete barriers get pushed around, such is the power or the surf.

The top photo is from a previous event of this kind several years ago, which dwarfed the recent swells. This particular swell not only washed over the entire parking lot, but also engulfed the boat hoist, swallowing it from sight. As the water receded, two portable toilets in a recess near the top of the lot, started sliding down the lot towards the water. Luckily, some people watching from nearby were able to corral them before they fell over or were washed into the bay. The boat hoist wasn’t as fortunate. After the waves subsided, it was discovered that these powerful waves had twisted the metal frame of the hoist, rendering it unsafe for use. It was several months before repairs made it usable again.

Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii
Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii
Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii
Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii

21 thoughts on “High surf

  1. Pingback: Better Days: Boat hoist | Graham's Island

    1. Graham Post author

      Thanks, Susanne. Seeing that twisted metal and those concrete barriers shoved aside gives one a healthy respect for the power of the ocean.

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  2. Terri Webster Schrandt

    The power of water is incredible, Graham, you captured this elemental power perfectly. I think when we were there in March 2019, there was some very high surf in Hilo Bay. Amazing the force of the waves could bend the boat hoist! Awesome images!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      Thanks, Terri. High surf happens more often on the east side of the island because of the winds. The big northwesterly swells are the dream of big wave surfers on the north shores of Oahu and Maui. I have plenty of respect for the power of those waves and seeing what they can do only reinforces that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Sunday Stills: The Power of the #Elements – Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

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