Iggie Surfs Again -- 9/13/97

Where's Iggie? ...
All other photos taken by George Furuyama

Some national surf forecaster predicted that a 3-5'+ swell (backs, I assume) was scheduled to arrive on Friday, and was expected to last through Monday. I was trying to keep my expectations low, but after a week of jonesing for surf, the anticipation was overwhelming.

I again hooked up with Lance and his dad George, targeting Jimmylands for another Saturday dawn patrol. It's really nice to see such a solid father/son relationship like theirs. Makes me want to redouble my efforts as a daddy.

As for my "coworker crew", they all were unavailable for this session. All, that is, except Mark--aka Iggie. I first met Iggie in college where we dormed in the same building together. Iggie was the kind of guy who excelled in any sport he got into. In softball, basketball, even golf, he was always the best.

However, now that he's married with children, his athletic endeavors have taken a backseat to family. The only thing he semi-regularly does is fish, and even when he does that, he's very successful, always catching "choke" fish.

He used to do a bit of surfing, but hadn't gone in ages (one of the last times was with our work crew back in 88). Iggie has been telling me to keep asking him to surf, and one day, he would join us. Well the day finally arrived where he could juggle a short session into his busy schedule.

We met up at about 5:20 am, in the Jimmylands parking lot. Iggie had asked a friend along, who's name also happened to be Mark. Iggie and Mark were on T&C shortboards (Iggie's board was a pre-1990 6'0"!), Lance and his dad George were on Omega bodyboards, and I brought my Aipa tank.

The wind was calm, with just a hint of offshore flow. Shoulder-high peelers came across the inside reef a bit inconsistently. It wasn't no 3-5'--more like 2-3' Hawaiian--f#@*ing forecasts. But at least it was clean, rippable and empty.

Almost like it was preordained, we all took various positions in the lineup: Mark and I took the outside point, Lance hunted down the lefts, his dad worked the middle, and Iggie stayed further inside on the rights.

Right away, I could tell Mark had some skills at surfing. He said that he surfs about once a week, and only goes to Big Rights (Ala Moana Beach Park). Since he's been going there for so many years, he always catches his share in that very competitive lineup.

Lance was working on his dropknee again, and his dad was alternating between catching waves and taking pictures with his cool Minolta water camera.

And Iggie? Well, Iggie was trying to reacquaint himself with surfing. His extended layoff made the goings a bit rough. Although his arms quickly felt like spaghetti, he was stoked to be in the water getting some exercise.

As for me, I was all over the place, as usual. Since I was the only one on a tank, I felt obligated to let some sets pass for the rest of the crew, but it was oh-so hard to do. Caught some fun ones, but they tended to peter out with the fattening tide.

Finally, I decided to paddle across the channel with a couple of guys so I could be more aggressive sitting at the point. Though still inconsistent, it was appreciably larger there, with some head-high plus sets rolling in. The swell seemed to be wrapping into the channel a bit better than usual, creating a nice bowl going right.

Lance and his dad soon joined me out on the second break, no doubt tempted by the waves. Unfortunately, Iggie and Mark had to leave a bit early, having other business to attend to.

I really had a chance to experiment on my board in the bigger surf (especially going frontside). I noticed that when I do a cutback, my front foot always ends up on its heel as I carve--looks pretty dopey and is unstable. Gotta work on that. Also, I noticed that rear foot placement made all the difference when doing a "snap". When I positioned my foot further back, the board was so responsive that it literally threw me off. I finally got the hang of it and managed one decent snap. For a 9'0", this board sure can turn.

Going backside was fun, but I couldn't carve as easily. Did manage to gain "choke" speed--so much on one wave, that when I finally fell off, my shorts were ripped down to my knees. Pretty funny.

Lance got the set of the day. After cutting back into the soup, his wave just started bowling into this nice barrel. He easily rode it through, and ended up in the channel with a big smile on his face.

Towards the end of the session, I was watching a nice set peel to the far right of me when a fish appeared in the wave. It kinda looked like a kaku (Great barracuda), was almost three feet in length, and was actually surfing the wave! He rode it for maybe twenty yards before disappearing with the pitching lip. Pretty awesome sight.

Our good fortune didn't last forever. With the rising tide, there seemed to be a bit of a lull. We decided to haul anchor and start the long journey home.

So, will surfing be the next sport that Iggie masters, or will he stick to fishing? If Iggy saw the surfing fish, his description would probably have answered that question.

If he exclaimed, "I wish I had my pole right now," then you'd know he's still dreaming of being the next Mike Sakamoto or Harry Kojima (local television fishing celebrities).

However, if he shouted, "Check out that wave, I'm dropping in on that kaku!", well then, I think it's finally time for Mrs. Iggie to buy a new surfboard for her husband. Iggie's surfing again!

One more of the sponge

Postscript: Mrs. Iggie's response to the story -- "I think he has a Blue Hawaii board vice a T&C board and I would gladly buy him a new surfboard instead of a Force 22 (boat) and/or a new truck."