Storms or high winds over the open ocean can generate large waves that trigger high surf in coastal areas. High surf typically impacts the shore in “sets” of three to five waves between lulls. Any wave can be significantly larger than the previous one and can catch beachgoers off guard. Although general forecasts can be made about surf conditions, the timing of individual waves can never be predicted.
NOAA National Weather Service
NOAA NWS Hawaii Marine Forecasts
On rare occasions, rogue waves emerge to haunt some of the most trafficked sea lanes of the world, and ships inevitably encounter some of these wind-generated monsters. The shorelines of the Pacific Islands are also occasionally impacted by rogue waves, which can be extremely dangerous to fishermen and others who frequent the shorelines. Although rogue waves were once dismissed as nautical myths, much like sea monsters, satellite data have now confirmed their existence and are being used to help researchers understand how they develop.