Friday was HUGE at fifteen feet! I heard that the only rideable spot on the North Shore was Waimea. This was the first major winter swell. Everyone is happy again.
I dawn-patrolled it early Saturday morning (9/23/95). The swell was forecast to be about seven feet and on the decline. I was the first one out at Pipe before 6, and shoulder-hopped some really fun four-to-five footers before the crowds came (I make no claim to being a true Pipeline rider--it's too gnarly for me).
The swell was really peaky with both north and west swells coming in. Really light offshores and little clouds made it a photographer's dream. If you picked the right one, you could get a deep pit, and a good wall to work with.
"Her royal badness" Pipeline started turning on later in the morning, throwing beautiful arcs of water. The swell seemed to have been picking up, with solid six footers and the odd eight footer (IMHO). Second reef was not going, but it was still very big. Backdoor was pretty good too, but you had to pick the right ones or risk getting donuts on the way back out. No one was out at OTW (closing out).
Standouts included Braden Dias from Kauai, Derek Ho (he had an UNREAL tube), and this haole kid who reminded me of Nicky Wood. This kid was a goofy footer with dark hair (a little curly), and he was charging. Most of the people were local riders, so the crowd wasn't as aggro as mid-season Pipe. Still, there were about 30-40 bodies just at Pipe and Backdoor.
I moved over to Gums because of the wave size, because of the crowd and because Derek Ho came out. Gums was fun, but the sandbars there and at Ehukai aren't really groomed yet. I managed to snag a few small barrels, but nothing to write home about. I surfed until 9, then came in.
Didn't check Sunset, but it must have been going off too.
BTW, the Haleiwa bypass is still closed. Good for business, bad for traffic. Keep checking back here for updates, when I can get in the water.
Aloha from paradise,
Neal "Da Sponge" Miyake