Crowds appear early to see epic swell

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Jan 22 2014 07:47:00 PM HST

You have to get up early in the morning to beat the traffic to an epic swell, and Sunset Beach was more like sunrise beach today. KITV4's Nana Ohkawa was among those who got to the beach early.

PUPUKEA, Hawaii -

Sunset beach was more like sunrise beach Wednesday as many got up early in the morning to beat the traffic to see the epic swell.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

The Wood family donned their hoodies and started watching the waves roll in at Sunset Beach at 5 a.m. They were drenched by the mist.

“The kids go to Sunset up here. So, we were seeing if we could even get to school this morning -- if we should drive -- if there’s going to be too many people out. Not knowing what the water was going to do this morning,” said North Shore resident Erika Wood.

The waves stunned all – young and old.

“This is the biggest swell that I’ve ever lived through,” said a Sunset Elementary student.

Others with a little more life experience agree. They say the swells are the biggest they've seen in decades. The expected wave heights of up to 50 feet on the North Shore brought out dozens of spectators. That includes those who never get to see Mother Nature behave like this.

“It’s getting bigger we noticed. We came up at five and it’s getting bigger and bigger,” said Bob Zulick, a visitor from Albany, New York.

Traffic started building up on Kamehameha Highway at sunrise as tons of people stood on the border of closed Waimea Bay Beach Park. The crowds spilled onto the edge of the highway – all to catch a glimpse of the big swells.

“We went out to Waimea first. It was pretty washed out. We were along with all the photographers along the side. My sister took out an app and saw that Sunset was pretty big, so we decided to come and check it out,” said North Shore resident Ron Artis II.

But one local resident is warning that the massive waves could potentially be dangerous for people on land.

“If people get too close and a rogue wave comes in, it will sweep them out,” said Kimo Sutton.

PHOTOS: Epic swell at Jaws on Maui

Check out the epic swell at Jaws on Maui.

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