Obviously swell direction can change this setup a bit. When the swell is really westerly, the waves come in more from the left of the beach as you look out and can push you more directly onto the rocks, so you have to be more careful on west swell days. Also, when it is mast high and over, the channel tends to close out and is no longer such a ‘safe’ haven, so check the surf reports and be smart with the day you pick to tackle Ho’okipa! It’s not much fun when you go onto those rocks, they are very hard and there is a lot of water moving around!
If you do find yourself getting sucked on there, it’s probably best to try to save yourself from injury rather than saving your gear. When the sets come in, you can take shelter “behind” a big rock and then right after the wave has broken around you, you can swim/shuffle in on top of that extra little piece of water to a new rock and then decide if you are far enough out of harm’s way to make the dash up to safety or if you need to hide yourself behind another rock from the next set.
The worst thing that can happen is to be pulled around by the whitewater on the rocks as you have no control whatsoever and can be whacked very hard into the rocks. This is how people get injured. Take your time if you are in the shelter of a big rock and once you decide to make a break for it, do it with confidence and quickly before another big wave comes!