Tweaked -- 10/5/97

Insanity at Insanities -- 500 mm lens, no tripod

Decisions, decisions... On Saturday, the north and south sides of the island were breaking, but both were expected to be on the decline. On top of that, the winds were forecast to increase into the 10-25 mph range. The SNN said Country would be about four-to-six feet plus in the morning, but with the northwest buoy out of service, it was a sketchy guess, at best.

We didn't want to kill ourselves in giant surf right at the beginning of the winter season, but at the same time, we didn't want to short-change ourselves with puny stuff. I made an educated guess that the north swell would drop faster than predicted, so we decided to try our luck out on the North Shore.

After a late start (my fault), we headed out to Ehukai where we found it to be just a wee bit too manageable. The swell seemed to have disappeared overnight, with only one-to-an-occasional-two footers slapping the sand. Maybe we should've stayed on the south side? Couldn't second guess ourselves already with all the driving time invested, so we jumped in.

The surf was as small as it looked--an occasional shoulder-high beachbreak would come in, throwing some fun closeout barrels for our bodyboarding pleasure. Fortunately, the expected strong winds were nowhere to be found, so we got some nice morning glass.

As the morning progressed, people slowly came out of the woodworks, jumping into the water on either side of us, surfing the various breaks between Rocky Point and Rockpiles.

We surfed fun Ehukai proper by ourselves for over an hour before it started getting inconsistent. Finally, we ventured down the beach in search of a better peak.

Gums was decidedly a little better, with a fun wall. Tiny Backdoor had a few, but was very inconsistent, with lots of sand over the reef. Aint's was working pretty good, with head-high surf and a small crew of hot, cordial, haole surfers (just trying to be descriptive, not offensive). But when we reached Off the Wall/Insanities, that's where it really was working best, with overhead sets (not quite four feet Haw'n) pushing in. (The dropping tide, not our relocation, was probably the main factor in the surf increase as the morning progressed.)

At every spot, the vibe was decidedly friendly. There were very few drop-ins, if any, as everyone respected the man sitting deepest. (OK, I admit to dropping in on Jerry on his last wave, but he wouldn't have made the section anyway. :-) ) Jerry was even a bit surprised when some surfers asked if he was going to paddle for some waves. With a mostly local crowd early in the season on a smallish day, lineup tension was virtually nonexistent.

As we worked down the line, Jerry started taking off on some pretty decent waves. He's not too comfortable in ledgy waves and needs to practice pulling in, but he still committed himself to some pits. Jerry's slowly raising his comfort level.

Me, well, I tried to use the punchy beachbreak to get some air, doing rollos on the small waves, and re-entry/airs on the bigger ones. However, I felt somewhat bogged down by my excess baggage and my timing seemed a bit off.

Damn! I might be growing too old for this "launching" stuff. I don't know if it was a hyperextended rollo or a jarring landing off a re-entry, but sometime during the session I tweaked my neck pretty bad. Managed to finish the session OK, but I paid the price the next few days with a stiff neck and back.

Now that winter big wave season is near, I think I'll have to get back into a stretching regimen. Gotta remember, I'm not as young as I used to be.

"Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives." --Maurice Chevalier

Aloha from Paradise,