Good Trim -- 1/24/98

Not the greatest, but still well worth getting wet for

With buoy #1 at 25 feet, 20 seconds at 11:00 AM on Friday, the surf of the North Shore was expected to boom overnight, then back off by morning. We werenít taking any chances. Armed with our bodyboards, Jerry and I headed west in the predawn on Saturday in search of some sort of tapered wrap.

Surprisingly, the surf was fairly small at all the main indicator breaks. We drove all the way up to "K-Bay", but were dissatisfied. Finally, we settled on Makaha, where it was about 3-5í (Hawín) and lumpy.

The beach was heavily eroded from the previous nightís wave bombardment, sloping sharply and creating some extra heavy backwash action. Light westerly sideshores chopped the conditions just a bit. It didnít look too appetizing, but at least it was empty.

Just for kicks, I stupidly suggested we try and push out from the reef fronting the condo. The combination of low tide and an acute swell angle made for a sweeping current that dragged us right through the impact zone before settling us into the channel. Total time saved -- none; total energy expended -- lots.

Once out there, we were treated to some very bumpy rides with slow, long paddle backs. It wasnít pretty, but at least there was some size and the water was warm. Bounce, bounce, bounce!

When other surfers started filtering out to join us, they didnít fare as well, either. Boards and bodies were flying in the funky conditions as chop and the occasional clean-up set kept everyone on (and sometimes off) their toes.

I didnít see many of his rides, but Jerry enjoyed himself, snagging some nice ones. In his own words, his best ride was a nice hook that he faded left on. As he got to the bottom, a bump kicked him up in the air. Assuming he was going to wipe out, Jerry released his grip on his board, but ended up landing squarely back on. Regrouping and regripping, he ran down the line, trimming hard, before releasing in the channel. Jerry was stoked just telling the story.

Halfway through the sesh, Keoni Watson, a local Makaha boy, paddled way out towards the point. I had to follow him. We lined up beyond the condo, but not as far as the flagpole. It wasnít even close to the fabled Makaha Point conditions, but it was as deep as Iíve ever sat.

Keoni, an old acquaintance of mine, is a hard-charging, haole, goofyfooter who still dabbles in local pro events. I emphasized haole and goofy because neither trait has held him back from succeeding in the Makaha lineup. It helps that he rips. I still have an image of him from that day doing a backside top-turn off a solid 1.5x wave not ten feet away from my face, his eyes intently focused down the line.

My first wave was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Dropping down a medium-sized set wave, the snaps on my shorts just blew open, sliding them all the way down to my ankles. I went straight, then straight underwater as I bailed to reclaim my loincloth--hey, my keys were in the pocket! Of course, the ensuing waves in the set dunked me like a morning doughnut. Shoulda used my Neoprene ballhuggers.

Afterwards, I settled down and caught a few fun ones. Despite most waves breaking in several peaks down the line, there were a few waves that offered clean, long walls. I caught one that was a hundred yard straight shot through two bowls and into the channel, riding on my rail the whole way. [big grin!]

Towards the end of the session, I realized that this was my first time back at Makaha since Rell Sunn had passed. I took a quiet moment to reflect on her strength and spirit. I soon came to the realization that she would not have wanted us to be saddened by her death; rather, she'd want us to celebrate her life. I guess by surfing there and enjoying ourselves, we were in some way paying homage to the Queen of Makaha.

Soon afterwards, my focus shifted out to sea where a huge turtle basked on the water's surface, just outside the lineup. Was it Rell, coming back as aumakua to watch over us? I'd like to think so.

It was almost time to go, so for fun I decided to time the length of my last ride. I took off outside, but ended up spending most of the ride caught behind the curl. In any case, when I finally reached the shorebreak, I checked my watch and incredulously saw that a minute and fifteen seconds had expired! Unreal!

Coming back in, Jerry and I were somewhat surprised to find that both our new (Christmas present) boards were creased by the bouncy conditions. Minors. Despite high expectations but only fair waves, we still put together a fun session. No rollos or barrels to speak of... just some good trimming and an aquatic friend watching out for us.

Jerry was so stoked, he was doing back handsprings!

Aloha from Paradise,