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Oahu surfers undaunted as Iselle makes its pass

By Noelle Fujii

LAST UPDATED: 6:58 p.m. HST, Aug 8, 2014

Surfers take to waves as flooding hits Hawaii

Even as Tropical Storm Iselle passed south of Oahu, surfers Friday morning braved the conditions and headed out to the breaks at Kewalo Basin, Ala Moana and Ala Moana Bowls.

"I don't think the guys are really worried about (the storm)," said Bud Kracher, who was watching the surfers through binoculars at Ala Moana Beach Park. 

Surfer Nathan Hall had been watching the beach all morning and listening to the weather reports. 

"As far as like flying debris and other things like that, you know, on the water... there's no risk of that," he said. 

Mel Tsurda had also been following the weather reports before heading down to the water around 7:30 a.m. 

"I just was following the weather pattern and they say when the winds come, it'll probably be like afternoon or noonish, like 12. So I'm just taking a chance. So I just go out for a few hours and come in before it gets crazy or unpredictable," he said. 

Tsurda regularly surfs at Ala Moana: "As long as there's waves, it's almost everyday." 

Pono Ornellas had been driving around this morning, looking for a break to surf. According to him, there was one surfer at Diamond Head and about 20 in Waikiki. He came to Ala Moana because there were fewer people and decent waves. 

"Diamond Head is really good also but there's just no one out there, and I don't want to go out there by myself," said Ornellas, who is an off-duty lifeguard at Ala Moana. 

According to Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for the city's Emergency Services department, because of the forecast of high surf and strong winds, the department encouraged people to not go in the water. All Oahu beaches have been closed since Tursday at 4 p.m.

"High surf and strong winds was the forecast throughout the day," she said.

Lifeguards are still on duty, just not from their towers.

"We are manning and watching over the beaches, but instead of doing that from the lifeguard towers, because the winds were forecasted to be very strong, and we didn't want them in the towers, which could be unstable, we instead put them in mobile response units --- trucks, ATVs, jet skis -- so they can still respond if there are any emergencies in the ocean," she said. 

And although people are still going in the water, the lifeguards cannot tell them otherwise. 

"People are heading back to the beach, but as far as lifeguards go, we do not enforce... Our job is to respond to emergencies whether they happen in the water or onshore," Enright said. 

The lifeguards will return to their towers Saturday

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