The massive swells started over the weekend and they’re attracting surfers and spectators alike.
Those who were at the world famous surf spot “Jaws” on Maui Sunday got a good look at how powerful those waves can get.
With waves ranging anywhere from 25 to 40 feet, Jaws was the spot not just for the big wave surfers, but surf photographers. Videographer Grover Cleveland was on that 22-foot boat along with seven others. He saw the wave coming and knew they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I started yelling to the captain, ‘You gotta go. You gotta go. It’s coming!'” said Cleveland. “I saw the whole thing lurch up and I said, ‘Uh-oh.’ I already knew I was in trouble.”
Cleveland and the others were picked up by rescuers on jet skis. He says the extreme westerly direction of the swell and the high tide put them in a bad spot.
“This whole thing could have turned out really really uglier than it did and I just thank the Lord that he was looking out for me,” he said.
They also got a lot of help from rescuers and professional surfers who jumped in and did what was needed, tying lines to the boat and getting it upright.
Rocky Romano from The Go Big Project said, “If they weren’t there, it would have been a whole different situation, so thankfully, the professionals and the people, the athletes and the rescue teams, it was a dangerous situation that was controlled very well.”
Among them was big wave surfer Garrett McNamara, who jumped right in and started bailing water out. Once that was done, the boat was towed back to shore.
As for Cleveland, he says he and the others on the boat are shaken up and got a few bumps, but are otherwise alright. Although he did lose all the video equipment that was on the boat along with his lenses, which were worth several thousand dollars.
His daughter, Alisha, has set up a fundraiser to help him. Anyone interested in donating can click here.
Watch YouTube video of the capsize by Pure Digital Maui.