While the world's most skilled surfers took on a massive, record-setting swell at Hawaii's Waimea Bay on Thursday, the lifeguards there to protect them were faced with perhaps an even more challenging task.
During the historic "Eddie" surf competition, lifeguards sat at the ready on their jet skis to help wiped-out competitors. But to avoid getting swallowed by Mother Nature themselves, their attention had to be on the waves as well as the surfers -- which proved difficult when a particularly massive wave came barreling their way.
As seen below, one group of lifeguards was a little late, failing to make it over the crest of the wave in time. To avoid being swallowed by the ocean's powerful whitewash, they were left with only one option: to run for their lives.
The wave chased the lifeguards all the way to the beach, where they scrambled to the safety of higher ground.
"It's like climbing Mount Everest except Mount Everest is an avalanche coming at you," Brian Keaulana, one of the lifeguards in the video, told local news station Hawaii News Now.
While Oahu's north shore lifeguards train tirelessly to protect the public every winter surf season, this Thursday's swell -- with its 50 foot waves -- was a whole new beast. Every one of the competing surfers made it back to shore relatively unscathed, but the lifeguards' scramble to shore was definitely one of the competitions scariest moments.
Below, watch from various perspectives as the lifeguards make a run for it.
As seen from a drone:
As seen from the shore:
As seen from a cliff:
And for perspective, here's what the lifeguards looked like when they attempted to go over a wave that same day: