Heavy swells turn North Shore into deadly surf playground

Alec Cooke missing on North Shore
Legendary big-wave surfer Alec Cooke has gone missing. Photo: SURFER/Warren Bolster

Hawaii has been getting hit with a massive swell all week, with waves topping out at 30-feet on Oahu’s famed North Shore.

While that has proven to be a playground for guys like Jamie O’Brien, it’s also had more sobering side effects — that swell has already claimed the life of a North Shore fisherman, and now as reported by SURFER, legendary big-wave surfer Alec “Ace Cool” Cooke has gone missing following an afternoon surf session Tuesday.

All week long, surfers have been posting about the quality of the surf conditions in Hawaii.

Jamie O’Brien posted a photo of himself inside a barrel at Waimea.

Enjoying a few late ones at Waimea ! Photo @sf_photos_hawaii @catchsurf

A photo posted by Jamie O’Brien (@whoisjob) on

While Koa Rothman took a more humorous approach to sharing his adventures on the North Shore.

They say you win some and you lose some. I guess this is me losing…😑

A photo posted by Koa Rothman (@koarothman) on

And SUP champion Kai Lenny posted about the huge waves he was windsurfing in Maui.

And while the excitement of the surfers is palpable, the harsh reality is that it may likely be the reason that an icon of the sport has gone missing.

The 59-year-old Cooke gained widespread recognition in the 1980’s as a big wave surfer for his devil-may-care attitude and willingness to charge any wave.

“He told me he wanted to be known as the Evil Knievel of surfing,” surfing photographer Warren Bolster said of Cooke in the Encyclopedia of Surfing. “My admonishments to tone it down fell on deaf ears.”

Bolster was with Cooke to photograph his most famous moment, a 1985 assault on a towering wave at Oahu’s Kaena Point that showed Cooked dwarfed by a gigantic wave. That photo was made into one of Hawaii’s most famous postcards titled “The Biggest Wave”.

RELATED: Big-wave surfer Shawn Dollar breaks neck

According to reports, Cooke went surfing around 4 p.m. on Tuesday to catch 25- and 30-foot waves near Waimea and never returned. His truck was found parked near the beach, his dog and keys still inside. Only his surfboard was missing.

According to Hawaii News Now, a surfboard was found near Waimea River on Wednesday, but there’s no indication it belongs to Cooke.

Regardless, the surfing community has taken to Twitter to express its grief over Cooke’s missing whereabouts:

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