High surf warning issued as Eddie-worthy waves approach

Jan. 21—The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a high surf warning for Sunday with the arrival of the "extra-large northwest swell" that is expected to make the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational possible for the first time in seven years.

The warning is in effect from midnight through Monday at 6 a.m. for north and west shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai, and for the north shores of Maui.

"An extra large northwest (310 degree) swell will arrive late tonight that will produce extremely dangerous surf and over-wash conditions along many north and west facing shorelines," the warning issued early today said.

Forecasters predict dangerous large breaking waves of between 35 to 45 feet along the north shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Maui, and 20 to 30 feet along the west shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai.

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"Expect ocean water surging and sweeping across beaches, periodically over-topping vulnerable coastal roadways with localized beach erosion," the warning said. Wave run-up could impact coastal properties and infrastructure, especially around high tides early Sunday morning. "

Forecasters also warn of powerful longshore, rip currents, and surges and strong currents inside exposed harbors could cause damage to boats

The public should stay away from affected shorelines, and be prepared for road closures, while boaters should postpone entering or leaving channels affected by the high surf until the surf subsides, they said.

The massive surf prompted organizers of the "Eddie" to schedule the contest at Waimea Bay for Sunday when tens of thousands of spectators are expected to descend on Oahu's North Shore to watch several dozen of the world's best big-wave surfers compete in a contest that is only held when the conditions are just right. The last time the competition was held was in 2016.