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It came up much later than expected yesterday in Hawaii, starting out at 3 feet in the morning and pouring on by late afternoon – around 4 p.m. Top buoy readings peaked out at around 17 feet at 17 seconds. By the time the swell hit, though, the southwest winds were blowing at a steady clip. "I guess there was an 18-foot set at Waimea," said Mark Healey. "But I was over it and there was too much wind for the Outer Reefs. I surfed big Haleiwa instead."
Others had a few half-hearted attempts at the Outer Reefs, but it was so late in the afternoon combined with the fear that something wicked was about to come for anything spectacular to go down. Today it's just as big but the sw wind is really whipping, causing most swell-chasers to book their tickets to the Outer Islands or California.
Speaking of California, Jeff Clark Called off the Mav's contest for this swell. He did some serious fence-sitting for the past couple of days (along with the rest of us), but in the end opted to pass on the pristine conditions and wait for a swell with a little more promise. "We told Jeff, 'Look, no one's going to blame you for not running the contest," said Grant Washburn. "Let's roll the dice and hope for a swell we know will be 20 feet."
With the prizemoney now bumped up to $150,000, it's definitely a wise call.
So, after all the talk, predictions and plan-making, "The Swell" ™ will likely be just another solid winter swell for the West Coast. The kind that happen every winter, on most winters fairly often. The only reason why it's gotten so much attention is that it's been Havasu-flat for nearly six weeks now.
And geez, those swell models are getting easy to read these days.
Here are a few late-afternoon moments from the North Shore yesterday.
Hopefully this will help everyone just calm down, take a deep breath, and go surfing.