Watch: A Day With the North Shore Lifeguards During a Huge Swell

You've probably read that Oahu's North Shore has been getting slammed by huge surf. Again.

Big wave surfers charged Waimea Bay, beachfront homes are taking beatings, and huge surf canceled contests.

The video below offers a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of the North Shore lifeguards, who've been keeping it all under control at some of the world's most dangerous surf breaks.

Related: Watch: Beachfront Homeowners Feel Helpless as '50-Foot' Swell Targets Sunset Beach

Hawaii News Now captioned the report above:

"To patrol world-famous surf breaks, these lifeguards are the best of the best

"The Eddie big-wave surf contest isn’t a go, but Ocean Safety officials are warning that dangerous surf conditions are expected to continue into the weekend."

In the video, reporter Lynn Kawano spends a day with the team of "handpicked watermen charged with patrolling the seven-mile stretch of coastline."

They oversee "world-famous breaks like Waimea Bay and the treacherous Banzai Pipeline."

Kawano speaks with a handful of veteran lifeguards who, she says, "often put themselves at risk by patrolling the lineup."

She also speaks to big wave surfer Kohl Christensen who almost died surfing Pipeline in 2020 from a "crushed" skull and a traumatic brain injury.

But the lifeguards saved his life.

"My first visual after the accident, or initial impact, was looking up at these angles—the lifeguards—surrounded me and I had an oxygen mask on and a neck brace and brain matter seeping out of my head. The North Shore lifeguards being there on a jetski saved my life," Christensen recalls.

While surfers like Christensen risk their lives out in the lineup, even the shore's not safe during huge swells.

According to Kawano, the tower lifeguards rescued over 550 people last year, and an additional 179 people were rescued by lifeguards on jetskis.

"I don't think the general public realizes the dangers. The energy of the ocean doesn't just rush up the beach and dissipate into the sand," Wassel says. "It turns around, grabs whatever it wants, and rushes back out."

Press play above for more.


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