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Lifeguards busy with rescues and warnings as high surf comes ashore

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    Rising surf attracted onlookers at Ke Iki Beach on the North Shore of Oahu on Monday.

Oahu lifeguards issued 1,935 warnings, assisted three swimmers and performed four rescues through this afternoon in the high surf on the north and west shore, an Emergency Services Department spokeswoman said.

The National Weather Service issued a  high surf warning today for the north and west shores of all islands. Waves of 20 to 25 feet were expected along north shores and up to 20 feet along west shores, forecasters said.

Kauai County officials closed beaches from Hanalei to Kee on the north shore because of hazardous surf conditions.

On Oahu,  Waimea Bay, which was closed at 6 p.m. Monday because of the high incidence of surf-related accidents, re-opened this morning.

This morning on Oahu, off-duty lifeguards and Honolulu firefighters rescued three swimmers caught in a rip current at Laniakea, city officials said. 

The three men were caught in currents created by 12 to 16-foot waves at about 7:30 a.m. and did not have fins or boards, a Fire Department spokesman said.

Two off-duty lifeguards spotted them and used rescue boards to reach the men. Three firefighters arrived to assist and all three swimmers made it safely to shore by 8:07 a.m.

The swimmers did not require medical attention.

Two hours later at Ke Iki Beach, near Pupukea, a teen-aged boy ignored warnings not go body boarding and got into trouble, a Ocean Safety spokeswoman said. The boy’s mother went to his aid and also had to be rescued by city lifeguards on personal watercraft. Both refused medical attention when they were brought to shore.

The swell prompting the high surf warning was expected to peak this afternoon and tonight.

The high surf warning is scheduled to remain in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

A high surf warning means that dangerous waves will pound the shoreline, resulting in hazardous swimming conditions and strong rip currents.

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