The SWELL team met up with old lifeguard bros on the Oahu’s North Shore, and they gave a local tip about digging out the Waimea river to create a surfable standing wave. Everyone was itching to get their feet in the wax in preparation for the big winter swells headed for the seven mile miracle.
As the life guards left their towers, Mark Healy and friends grabbed shovels and dug the trench for over an hour before the Waimea estuary began to dribble. Once heavy sand was moved, the force of the river blew out the remaining blockage, and the fresh rain water rolled towards Waimea bay forming chest high peaks.
The board of choice ranged from fins-free squash tails, to boogie boards, to skimboards, but the favorite sled was the Catchsurf board.
To catch the wave, you paddle up-river until you feel the wave begin to hold you in place. Then, pop up keeping your weight forward as not to fall out the back of the wave and get sucked out into the bay. And just like any other wave on the north shore, it flooded with people when word got out that it was pumping.
It only happens a couple times per year, so if you’re ever on the North Shore, ask the locals if they plan to dig the channel
Here are some shots from that day including a stop at the Haliewa Farmers market, cave diving at Shark’s Cove and then back to Waimea for the river surfing session:
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