South shore swell makes impact in town

By Brenton Awa
Published On: May 17 2013 10:00:46 PM HST

Surf's up on the South Shores! Lifeguards are busy but they aren't the only ones with their hands full.

HONOLULU -

Whether you're here to surf, sit and watch, or have to work.  The first south shore swell is already making an impact in town.

Hawaiian Ocean's Waikiki usually has no problem renting out its surf boards but it was a different story on Friday.

"Today I think they're scared, they're scared of the big waves breaking so now they want to want to take a lesson which is really good for us," said Kevin Okimoto, a surf instructor and member of the "Opihi Pickers."

Okimoto says the list for surf lessons usually book up just a half page log, but on Friday, the list was over a page and a half.

"Some of these people save all their money throughout their whole life and want to catch one wave and stand up, and that's what we do," said Okimoto.

Local surfers also filled Waikiki for what they say was the most consistent day in recent memory.

"All my life pretty much, there was one in September that was pretty big but nothing like this that's consistent," said Don Fujiyama, a surfer.

Work was consistent for lifeguards too. They rescued nine people and assisted another 39 on the south shore on Friday.

Ocean Safety officials say this was their busiest day of the year so far. They've already relocated personal to help handle the crowded south shore beaches, and they plan to work longer shifts during this swell.

"Most of our water activities have been assists, people with lost boards, people with broken boards, people just getting caught in the current with floater mats," said Paul Merino, a lifeguard Captain.

Ocean Safety officials want to get a message out to surfers.  They say if you break your board out on the water, to make sure you bring all of its pieces back into shore, or notify a lifeguard about your board.  They don't want it to float out to sea and be misinterpreted for a missing surfer.

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