Pushing Again -- 12/26/97

In da slot...

Dawn patrol on Friday, once again with Jerry. Light winds and a new swell promised to make it a merry post-Christmas surf.

We were first in the water, immediately followed by our good buddy, Dean Seppings of SA. Surf was an immaculate 4-6í+ (Hawín) from the WNW on a slightly declining swell. It was closing a bit at Backdoor and Off-The-Wall, but Pipeline was pristine. The end bowl was pinching shut quite a bit, and it made things sketchy with the crowd pushing everyone deeper and deeper. It looked just like our previous session (Pushing the Envelope), maybe only a tad smaller in size.

Jerry cruised the shoulder again, looking for some open faces. He got some nice, long rides, but not after a lot of jockeying. In fact, he even had a slight altercation with a Brazileira bodyboarder (grin).

There were lots of internationals out. We talked to "Macca" from Australia, "Seppo" from South Africa and "Laulito" from Puerto Rico. Itís really great that people from around the world can participate in a common thread. You quickly realize that we are not all that different.

Star search: Mike Stewart, Ben Severson and Pancho Sullivan were all spotted in the lineup, enjoying the waves, and dealing with the crowds, each in their own way. Enuf said!

The reality of surfing at Pipeline

One burly, older surfer-type came out and immediately started intimidating people by announcing there were too many foreigners in the lineup. However, after getting drilled on a couple, he soon departed.

As for me, I had another epic session, catching a lot of good waves between a few troubles (e.g. taking off too deep, getting dropped in on, wave-catching droughts). Thinking back, I didnít do a single rollo, air, spin or even cutback. It was just down-the-line riding all day, looking for the almighty tube... OK, OK, just trimming for the shoulder!

The rides themselves were a blur. To be honest, Iíd have a hard time naming just one good ride, because I had several jewels. My very first wave was a misty Pipe dream in the dark, with a gentle spray whooshing on my back. On another, I reached full trim speed before backdooring a short Backdoor section. There was another ride at Backdoor where I looked up over my shoulder and saw the lip just fan out right over me in a backwashed sheet. Beautiful!

Maybe my fave was towards the ending of the sesh. Dean was paddling west, sneaking into a set at Aintís. As I casually followed, I realized that there was another wave right behind. Immediately, I whispered to myself, "Oh s#!t!" I was the only one in position, and I knew all eyes would be converging on me. Easy takeoff, a wide open face and a slight stall put me right in the eye. Just hung on through the barrel and rode to the shoulder.

Coming out of the water, it was great seeing a bunch of old pals (mostly the bodyboarding set) cruising on the beach. That "Cheers" song came to mind. :-)

For me, this was another epic session of big waves. I never thought Iíd be riding waves that size with so much confidence. That's one of the good things about surfing in general--you can always improve your act, ride a better wave, have more fun. One thing's for sure, you always look forward to your next sesh.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year),