| SURF OBSERVATIONS|
Pantsed -- 10/13/97
Just prior to the weekend, local forecasters predicted a decent north would hit the isles. Unfortunately, hype once again defied reality, as the surf only got to about 3-5' on Sunday.
Since the North Shore was supposed to be on the decline, I was seriously considering a Town session for our Monday (holiday) surf, especially since the southern buoys started showing a few pulses. I finally decided to risk the long drive out to the Country in search of leftovers. A three foot wave on the North Shore is much better than a three foot wave in Town.
On Monday morning; I woke up late again! Quickly grabbing some Oreos and a yogurt, I dashed out the door to meet an already waiting Jerry. We zoomed to the North Shore, and found ourselves standing on the beach by 5:45 AM.
No one was out in the predawn, but there definitely was some surf. It looked to be overhead, so I was elated. Jerry, on the other hand, was a bit more apprehensive, not having much experience in larger surf. I told him we could always jump over to another spot if it got too hairy, and he went along with it. Attaboy Jerry!
As we were gearing up, we could hear the waves pound against the shore as other surfers started to head for the beach. This only heightened my eagerness to jump in.
I decided to wear my neoprene shorts for some added confidence in the lineup--didn't want to lose my baggies while riding a big one. However, while stretching the darned thing over my glutes, I heard a resounding 'pop'. Sliding them up, I found that I had opened a knot on the drawstring and could no longer cinch it around my waist. Rather than putting on regular boardshorts, I decided to chance the wetsuit shorts. I didn't want to waste any more precious water time.
When we finally got to the shoreline, there were already a couple of guys jumping into the Pipe lineup. Conditions were excellent, with dead calm winds and a foglike haze on the horizon, fronting the Waianae range. The sky was clear, but the early morning grayness provided a somber ambiance. The waves were mostly coming in from the north, but surprisingly, there was a bit of a new, totally unpredicted west, that was filling in.
We immediately started grabbing some small waves on our bodyboards. It was fairly peaky, so rides were easy to negotiate. The water was about as smooth as Hawaii gets, with the oily surface showing only the slightest hint of micro-chop.
The lineup crowded up quickly in the Pipeline/Backdoor area as people started realizing that it was pretty good out. Eventually, it turned ridiculous with almost 40 riders on the peak, not to mention a slew of water photogs at Backdoor.
I paddled over to Off-The-Wall (OTW), where it was a tad bigger, less crowded, but closing out more. Suddenly, the surf started going off! There were fairly long waits between sets, but when they came, gorgeous walls would march in and pitch beautifully.
Jerry was scoring on the inside of Pipe, catching his share of waves. He took off on some sucking pits, pulling into a few closeouts. Jerr also snagged a good barrel, getting completely encased, then driving through cleanly. He said one tube like that every winter was his goal; I told him to start raising his expectations.
As for myself, I was in hog heaven! The sets were so fun and powerful. Although it was way overhead (SNN called it 3-5+'), but for some reason I didn't feel too concerned about the size. My main stress was wasting energy if I got caught inside. Like I told Jerry, when you have confidence in your equipment and in yourself, your riding can really progress.
Because of last week's neck/back pains from too many attempted airs, I decided to stay waterbound more, and looked for more rides in the hook. I did do one aerial, though. Real nice peak at OTW Rights, had to yell off a shoulder-hopping bodyboarder (damned sponges :-) ), found myself trimming low on the wave, just watching the lip getting ready to pitch. It was calling out, "Hit me, hit me!" So I did. Decent launch off the 5-6' face towards shore (the wave tapered from it's initial peak). Had a jarring landing in the flats that made my teeth chatter and neck creak. Probably wouldn't have launched if I hadn't been challenged on the takeoff. And yes, it was worth it.
I got caught inside a couple of times--always an experience in itself. On one, I was paddling back through Insanities when a wall of water just reared up right in front of me. I hesitated just a bit before scratching for the horizon. The lip impacted about six feet in front of me as I tried to duck-dive the wave. No luck. It hit me like a depth charge, knocking me off my board, wrapping the leash around my legs, pulling my shorts down to my knees and ripping my paddling glove partways off. He who hesitates is lost.
Towards the end of the sesh, the sets were few and far between. During a lull, I paddled way over to the far side of OTW, and waited for one of those juicy rights to come in. Suddenly, it appeared! There was one bodyboarder further out on me, closer to Backdoor, but he was looking a bit timid. I turned, he backed off, then I took off under an already pitching pit! Rather than sliding down to the bottom, I had to turn mid-face, planting my right hip into the right corner of my bodyboard to maintain my edge. As the wave threw over me, I carved high on the face and pulled immediately into the barrel.
Normally, once in the tube, I bail my board and try and duck out the back--programming from my shorebreak days. However, I decided to hold on for dear life and drive through this one. Things got a little sketchy after that, because water started swirling around and my vision got impaired. I remember seeing whitewater everywhere just before I closed my eyes (bad habit, again from shorebreak days) expecting a tumble.
But I kept going and going. Suddenly, daylight! I think I released my inside edge and straightened a bit, just before it shut down completely. I ended up bouncing right over a riderless surfboard that was sitting in the impact zone, then took doughnuts. My neoprene pants once again slinked down to my thighs as I tumbled in the rinse cycle. But I didn't care. I got my barrel of the session.
After that, the waves really went into hibernation. Because of the large crowd, made even more feral by all the cameras in and out of the water, catching a good one to yourself became nearly impossible. Anyway, after three hours in the water, it was time for us to go.
Jerry and I were fully stoked with the session. It was crowded, but we managed to get our fair share of the great waves. Jerry once again pushed his riding to a new level and gained a higher level of confidence. I was just as happy--my expectations of the surf was low, so I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Also, my photog friend, Joseph Libby, said he might've gotten some shots of me. I hope so--yes, I'm a photo slut too. I just hope he didn't catch me with my pants down. :-/
Aloha from Paradise,