Massive surf entertains; endangers Rocky Point homes

By Andrew Pereira
Published On: Jan 22 2014 06:58:00 PM HST

The epic swell is here. The largest waves are approaching those 50-foot heights as predicted, but they don't look that big. KITV4's Andrew Pereira was near Rocky Point on the North Shore where homeowners are battling erosion.

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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