Dangerous waves that could reach 30 feet or higher are expected to start arriving today, according to forecasters at the National Weather Sevice.
A high surf warning is posted from midnight Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday for north and west shores of Hawaii island, Kauai and Niihau, north shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui.
A high surf advisory is also posted for west shores of Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.
Surf along north-facing shores is expected to build to 20 to 30 feet today, with locally higher sets. While surf along west-facing shores should build to 10 to 15 feet today.
The swell is expected to peak today and slowly diminish through the weekend.
"Expect ocean water occasionally sweeping across portions of beaches, very strong breaking waves and strong longshore and rip currents. Breaking waves may make navigating some harbor channels dangerous," forecasters said.
Beachgoers should stay well away from the shoreline in the affected areas and listen to advice given by lifeguards," the weather service said.
Organizers of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf contest, which is only held when waves are consistently 25 feet and higher at Waimea Bay, said the contest will not be held.
"We are expecting it (the surf) to fall well short due to the very westerly angle and shadowing from Kauai and Niihau," said Jodi Wilmott, a spokeswoman for the contest, which was last held in 2009.