King of the Hill -- 11/9/97

Queen of the Hill

Dawned it again on Sunday. Unfortunately, Joel couldn't make it, so I ended up going out to Pipeline with a couple of other friends from my contest days (to be honest, I forgot their names).

It was a tad bigger than the day before (SNN called it 3-5 ft), but the winds were better, with a slight breeze blowing offshore. The swell was really funky though, coming in at both a north and westnorthwest direction. This was making for some very peaky, but fun conditions.

I chose to sit out the farthest, catching the odd set waves that swung out of the west, along with a few Backdoor feelers. Because of the conditions, most of my initial rides were short, but intense, with a fun drop and maybe a nanosecond of tube time.

I was feeling really good for the first hour, catching waves at will. The surfers who were out there could not catch the steep waves as easily as the bodyboarders, and the A+ riders weren't out. Sometimes I get into a rhythm where I feel on top of the lineup--and this was one of those times. I felt like the king of the hill.

But it never lasts forever.

Soon Mike Stewart came paddling out. In my eyes, he's the best bodyboarder ever, and it's really cool to be able to surf with him. Can you imagine playing hoops with MJ, or hitting the links with Tiger? Well, I've been lucky enough to bodyboard and chit-chat with legendary Stewie.

Mike proceeded to patiently wait for the best sets, generously passing up on many waves. On one of his first rides, he deliberately stalled on the takeoff, then slotted himself right into the hook at Backdoor. From the back, I could see the wave peel and barrel along with just a hint of his tracks in the curl. Then, just as the wave is closing out, "pop!"--Mike boosts an air-reverse-360 over the lip. Sheee-it!

Following Mike into the lineup was Chris Taloa, aka Won Ton, an exceptional bodyboarder in his own right. Chris came out on his bodyboard with no fins, no paddling gloves and no leash, then proceeded to give a standup tuberiding clinic for surfers and bodyboarders alike.

Then... several Brazilian bodyboard women came out, including world champion Daniela Freitas. Their presence changed the whole atmosphere of the lineup with their fragrant shampooey aroma and other feminine attributes (just an observation, my loving wife). As far as bodyboarding performance... well, let's just say that they are all way better than I'll ever be.

In no time flat, I went from king of the hill, to just another wannabee, clogging the lineup. Sigh... such is life.

As luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to catch a few beauties even in the presence of all that talent, including a small, sweet barrel. I got in early on a nice Backdoor wall, and swooped down smoothly, gaining an early trim. My inside arm was neatly tucked in, avoiding my usual poor trimming posture. The wave curled beautifully over my head and surrounded me for a few glorious seconds before lightly spitting me out.

Oh well, at least I was king of the hill for a little while. But who am I kidding? The reality on the North Shore is that the "hill" always wins.

Aloha from Paradise,