Massive surf entertains; endangers Rocky Point homes

Published On: Jan 22 2014 06:58:00 PM HST
PUPUKEA, Hawaii -

The massive surf brought huge crowds to the North Shore despite a day that started off cloudy and rainy. But for Rocky Point homeowners, the spectacle took on an entirely different meaning.

Click here to watch Andrew Pereira's story.

At sunrise, a clear view of the once in a decade swell was seen from above Waimea Bay at the Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau. It was at sea level that the true impact of the swell could be seen and felt at Shark's Cove. Massive walls of water shot spindrift high into the air.

"It’s almost like an Eddie feel. Everybody’s just kind of – you know the energy’s up and stuff. It’s kind of neat. It’s kind of fun,” said North Shore resident Scotty Perez.

For city and county lifeguards it was an early wake up call. Crews manned seven North Shore lifeguard towers an hour earlier at 8 a.m. because of the dangerous and unruly conditions, but for the most part both local and visitors behaved.

"We’ve been making announcements, but I’d like to commend the public for their behavior. They’re listening to us and it’s for their safety,” said Ocean Safety Lifeguard Dave Yester.

For many, Mother Nature's display of power was a chance to snap some pictures, or just sit back and take it all in.

"This is surreal. It’s amazing. It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Rachel Hodges.

Honolulu resident Kimo Sutton was amazed by the swells that kept people in awe.

“When you get like this, it’s rare. But they break outside so everything inside is all messy. You have to watch down by the beach area for a rogue that can actually sweep away,” said Sutton.

At about 10 a.m. such a rogue wave swept past the sand dune protecting Rocky Point home of Kenneth Dombrowski and others nearby. It was a hair raising moment.

"We were looking back toward Sunset Beach and we saw this wave come up on the beach, hit behind the house and the water just went straight up. Like something out of a movie,” said Waialua resident Johnny Sivigny.

Rocky Point resident Tandi Kowalski recounted the same event.

"[I] saw a bunch of people yelling and running along the dune, and all of a sudden I saw a wave crash over the dune, through the house and ran all the way to the street,” said Kowalski.

For Dombrowski it was a double whammy with waves and wind making for a difficult situation. However some of the stress was made easier thanks to friends and neighbors.

"We have a really tight-knit neighborhood now -- really tight. Nobody knew anybody and now we know everybody,” said Dombrowski.

Dombrowski says no city or state official came to Rocky Point to check how homeowners were doing. He says a simple check would have gone a long way in reassuring homeowners.

PHOTOS: Giant swell hits Hawaii

Click here to see more photos of the epic swell.


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  • CHI vCHI v. OAK Jay Cutler Week 4

    David Banks Getty Images

    Cutler drives Bears past Raiders

    They were already starting to think it was the "same old Jay" on Sunday at Soldier Field when he threw a fourth-quarter interception that the Oakland Raiders turned into a go-ahead field goal against Cutler's Chicago Bears.

    But, despite the after-effects of a hamstring injury that kept him out of a game last week, Cutler instead played the hero instead of the goat. He drove the Bears 48 yards in the last two minutes, Robbie Gould kicked his third field goal of the game, a 49-yarder with two seconds remaining, and the Bears beat the Raiders, 22-20, for their first victory of the season.

    Cutler deferred credit to a jury-rigged offensive line, juggled because of injuries, but the difference in the game was the patience he showed — maybe because the hamstring forced him to — in completing 28 of 43 passes, including 5 of 8 on the winning drive.

    "There were a lot of moving parts up there, and those guys held their own," said Cutler, who acknowledged that he was limited "a little bit" physically by the hamstring and deliberately kept himself from trying to scramble out of the pocket.

    "He's a tough son of a bug," Chicago coach John Fox said of his quarterback. "He's got an injury that some lesser guys might not have been out there."

    Chicago started the game with a backup replacing injured left tackle Jermon Bushrod and then had to juggle further when center Will Montgomery suffered an apparent broken leg on the third play from scrimmage. As a result, left guard Matt Slauson slid into the center spot and that may have been at least partially responsible for a fumbled snap that led to an Oakland touchdown.

    But staying in the pocket may prove the best strategy for Cutler, even when his hamstring is fully healthy, because it reduces the margin for error.

    Instead, it appeared it was the Raiders who made the most grievous error by settling for a field goal with 2:05 remaining to take a 20-19 lead and effect the sixth lead change of the game, rather than play aggressively for a touchdown that might have made a Chicago comeback more difficult.

    After they got to the Bears' 33-yard line with more than four minutes remaining, Oakland did not throw another pass, instead calling four consecutive running plays before Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 41-yard field goal.

    "They were pretty conservative," Cutler said.

    Oakland coach Jack Del Rio defended the play calling, saying, "I think we felt like we were moving it pretty good and thought we had a better shot to move the sticks on that third-and-two."

    One problem for the Raiders was that, by that point in the game, Del Rio already had benched his leading rusher, Latavius Murray, because of a lost fumble and two dropped passes, one of which Murray bounced into an interception.

    After the Janikowski kick, the Bears kick-started their winning drive with Cutler's fourth down completion to tight end Martellus Bennett, who caught 11 passes, second highest total of his career, for 83 yards.

    With the Bears essentially conceding the sideline passes to Cutler — allowing not only completions but clock stappages — the Bears had plenty of time to work downfield. Cutler found Matt Forte for seven yards and then Marquess Wilson for six on 3rd-and-3.

    After a downfield shot fell incomplete, Eddie Royal made a nifty sideline catch for 12 yards and then Wilson, who earlier on the drive dropped a pass, made a fingertip grab for nine.

    That was pretty much all Chicago needed and, after running Forte into the line for two, the Bears called on Gould — who, to that point had been the difference in the game due to a blocked extra point.

    Gould, whose other field goals were from 19 and 54 yards, nailed the winning kick with plenty to spare.

    "It was awesome when we were celebrating with two seconds left on the clock," Gould said. "Those are the type of wins you want to see, and usually, those type of wins catapult a team and give them a lot of confidence for the next week."

    There were "a couple of areas that will stand out," Del Rio said, and the most that gnawed on him most clearly was his team's third-down defense. The Bears, who had converted only 16 of 42 third downs into first downs in their three losses, were 10 for 17 in this game.

    "They played well, and we didn't play as well as we're capable of," Del Rio said. "These things happen. They get paid, too."

    NOTES: QB Jay Cutler returned to the lineup after missing one game but the Bears played without three injured regulars including No. 1 wideout Alshon Jeffery. Also missing were OLT Jermon Bushrod and NT Jeremiah Ratliff. … The Bears lost C Will Montgomery with an ankle injury on the third play of the game, causing shuffling on the line. LG Matt Slauson moved to center and Patrick Omameh went in at left guard. … Oakland WR Michael Crabtree left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter but returned. … Bears FS Antrell Rolle was injured (ankle) on the first play of the third quarter and did not return.

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