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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 11:08 a.m., Friday, January 12, 2007

Search for missing North Shore surfer continues

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

A widespread search continues at this hour along O'ahu's North Shore for a 36-year-old surfer who failed to return yesterday from an evening session at Pipeline.

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter and helicopter as well at the Honolulu Fire Department's Air 1 and Rescue 2 units joined north shore lifeguards today in the search, authorities said.

The search area stretches from Waimea Bay to Sunset Beach and extends 5 miles out to sea, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael De Nyse.

The surfer was reported missing about 11:15 last night by his girlfriend. The surfer's car was found near the beach, but there was no sign of him or his board. Authorities described the man as an experienced Hawai'i surfer.

The fire department searched until 2 a.m. before suspending efforts until daybreak. Using night-vision goggles, Coast Guard searchers stayed out all night.

Wave faces along the North Shore are expected to climb to 15 feet to 17 feet, with occasional sets to 22 feet through tomorrow.

Capt. Sigmund Oka, a fire department spokesman, said the weather was clear but the large surf and windy conditions could hamper the search.

"In an aerial search, a lot of it is based on visibility to the choppiness and whitecaps may have an effect," he said. "But there are multiple assets out there. The Coast Guard and Air 1 are flying."

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com.