Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Big South Shore Swell at Big Beach

Monday turned out to be a day with hardly anyone in the water at Makena. The ocean was too dangerous because of the south shore swell. Big Beach had several red warning flags along the path and down along the beach. The lifeguards catered to the lowest common denominator, to make sure even the dumbest among us understood how deadly the surf was today, so they tripled the number of red warning flags.

Flooding of Big Beach, Makena, as viewed from the overlook.

Red flags everywhere to show the dangerous shorebreak.
They made special announcements in case there was a redneck among us who might jump in the water saying “Hey folks, watch this!” the famous last words before a redneck does something suicidal. No one could understand what the lifeguards were saying, but it sounded important. Lifeguards get special voice coaching to talk through a microphone and make it sound like gibberish, kind of like school bus drivers.

The access path to the overlook and to Little Beach is flooded, flooding on the sand, people watching the waves.

It was a day for gawking at the ocean, not being in it. Hypnotized by the water and the sound of the waves slapping against the shore, we were like stoned hippies at a drum circle led by the ocean.  Two or three local boys with skim boards or boogie boards caught the occasional wave or jumped in the water. The rest of us watched and took endless photos. The flooding of Big Beach happens rarely, only every few years.

Watching the South Shore swell. The waves don't look big in this picture, because the picture doesn't do it justice. The waves were bigger than this, but I didn't feel patient enough to wait for the perfect big wave photo.

Big Beach was flooded with a shallow lake of water by the waves hitting the shore. Our beach blanket got flooded by a wave, all the way up to the edge of the sand, where the dirt began. Beaten, we shook out the sand and moved to a picnic table.

The river of water flooding the sand of Big Beach.

We walked up the hill to see the view from the top of the overlook, but ended up coming back down the hill immediately. The erosion, high surf, and approaching high tide during an almost full moon made the path trickier and more dangerous than usual.

Surfers go where others fear to tread.
They are coming down the hill from Little Beach which had amazing surf,
timing their dash to safety between big wave sets.

Panorama view of the water flooding Big Beach.

The ocean was telling us we were mere humans. No matter how much technology we have, how many things we’ve mastered or created, the ocean is still stronger than us all.

Visit the Archives for more posts.


  1. I love the sea but I hate big waves - no way would I ever surf!! How are all your June events going by the way? Special
    Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  2. Just tried surfing for the first time ever! The waves were small, only 1-2 feet, and it was a lot of fun. Just added a few events to June! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii. It would be a dream come true. Thanks for the great pics - now I can imagine I'm there! :)

  4. Wow! I don't think of a beach being flooded because, well, the ocean is always beating against us. Now I know better.

  5. What's funny is that children who grow up in Hawaii often dream of going far away, like I did!

  6. Just watch where you put your beach towels!


Comments are important to me, so mahalo for adding a comment! I will try to follow up when I receive one.