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Giant Waves Up To 50 Feet High Batter Hawaii's Beaches

A super swell like this only happens once every 10 years, the National Weather Service said.

Posted on January 23, 2014, at 12:32 a.m. ET

On Wednesday, a swell hitting the Hawaiian islands peaked on Oahu's North Shore with waves as big as 50 feet.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

Ocean Safety lifeguards put up yellow tape on North Shore beaches, warning people to stay out of the water.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

Due to high winds and short intervals between the waves, the massive swell was turbulent and unrideable for surfers.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

But many people came out to watch the big waves.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed
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Waimea Bay was closed Tuesday night in anticipation of the swell, locking the gates to the parking lot.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

Still, people lined the edge of the bay to watch the swell.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

Many were stuck in gridlock traffic for more than two hours and had trouble finding legal parking.

Police towed several cars that lined Kamehameha Highway near the entrance to the parking lot for Waimea Bay.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

Police towed several cars that lined Kamehameha Highway near the entrance to the parking lot for Waimea Bay.

The waves were so turbulent that they filled the bay with white water.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

The waves are expected to remain large on Thursday, but conditions less blustery, so surfers will be out to catch a ride.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed
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