Surfing Through Hurricane Lane

By Alexandra Margelu, Hannah Jones and Madison Nualart
SEPT 13, 2018

Category-three Hurricane Lane recently hit the island of Hawaii. Although the prospect of a hurricane was frightening, and something that most people didn’t look forward to, surfers saw it from a totally different perspective. They loved the waves that came as a result of this natural disaster.

The surfers who are extremely dedicated to this sport were willing to leave the safety of their boarded-up homes and headed out to the ocean to surf the hurricane waves that rose to be between 10 and 15 feet. As the low-pressure systems produced long lines of easier to catch, well-spaced waves, surfers took advantage of this rare occasion. This is the first hurricane to hit Hawaii since Iniki in 1992. The idea of storm surfing might seem reckless to the average person, but to the extreme surfers, these conditions were ideal. Although dangerous waters should be left to professional surfers, it’s even deadly for them. According to AP News, officials warned the citizens that there would be no lifeguards on duty during the storm. However, knowing that something could go wrong, with no one there to rescue them, the water still swarmed with beachgoers.

A majority of the islanders prepared for Hurricane Lane. Hawaiians braced themselves by boarding up their windows, tying down boats, and rushing to stock up on supplies. Meanwhile, during the chaos of last minute preparations, hardcore surfers decided to grab their boards and head out into the surf.

Lane’s category rating fluctuated dramatically on the radar, throughout the several days that it was tracked. It sustained category three winds for a period of time, plummeted all the way down to a category one, and finally peaked at category five. Although it varied while traveling over the ocean, when it officially touched down on Hawaii, it was a category three and eventually was downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm resulted in heavy rains, damaging winds, storm surges, dangerous surf, and landslides.

Although the hurricane ended, the islands continued to feel the aftereffects. During the four days of the storm 52.2 inches of rain fell, causing massive flooding. When power lines were downed, they sparked three major fires on the island of Maui. While residents were prepared for flooding damages, none were prepared for fire damage. During the peak of the storm, intense winds caused trees to fall on power lines leaving 14,000 residents without electricity on Maui and the Big Island. The power has been restored and the inhabitants of the island are clearing away the damage. This storm didn’t sustain the power of a major hurricane, as anticipated, and the damage could have been worse. Surfers really took advantage of this event and they continue to ride Hawaii’s waves.


Photo Credits: Manny Gonzo Gonzalez and John Kapono Carter