Oily Water -- 9/6/98

Makani, lined up for a smooth left

For over two years, Jimmy has been promising that he would bring his boat out to our secret lineup for a photo shoot. But every time we tried setting it up, he balked at the last minute. This time, he said that he'd be there--guaranteed. I wasn't holding my breath.

The forecast called for a new swell to pop up on Saturday, continuing through the Labor Day weekend. However, there was no indication of any swell action on the buoys. I happened to run out to Waikiki that day to help out a friend with a longboard contest, but found only smallish surf. There were some solid sets on the outer reefs, but they were few and far between. Wasn't looking too hot for the photo session.

Picked up Buddy early in the morning on Sunday, and met up with Makani at the Jimmylands parking lot. From afar, the surf didn't look all that great, but we knew that we had to get out there for a closer look. Makani had asked his friend Mo, to join us, but he hadn't arrived yet, so Buddy and me went ahead.

As the full moon set and the sun rose, we were blown away by the absolutely pristine conditions before us. There wasn't a hint of wind under the overcast skies. It was the glassiest I have ever seen the place--just oil slick water under subdued light.

Unfortunately, the waves weren't cooperating. There was some, but the sets were inconsistent and small. Oh well, just make the most of it, I thought.

We started mucking around at the first break, but I quickly got bored by the wave. It almost always breaks better across the channel anyway. Although it wasn't quite showing yet, I decided to chance it and paddled across.

No sooner than I got there, a few pulses started coming through. Three consecutive shoulder-high waves on my tank got me all fired up. So I gestured over to Buddy, and he joined me in the inconsistent, but decent lineup.

By then, Makani and Mo had arrived near the jump area. They ended up playing at the first peak while Buddy and me hunted waves across the channel.

Slowly, the swell started picking up in size. I was stoked just to catch these beautiful waves, just cruising on them. Buddy was slashing all around with his shortboard, taking it to pieces, as usual.

At about 7:30, I heard the familiar drone of twin outboards approaching. Jimmy showed! He brought along our coworker, Wade, and they were ready to go with boards stashed in the boat. I thanked Jimmy for coming, we got my cameras from the shore, then I jumped back into the lineup while Jimmy took first watch behind the lens.

Yeah! Even though the surf wasn't macking, the conditions were dreamlike, with diffused lighting over the glassy water. Eventually, Makani and Mo got wise and paddled over to our break. Our crew had the whole spot all to ourselves!

Here's a synopsis on each waverider:

Buddy--showed that you could ride Jimmyland's slopey wave face on a shortboard. He just carved up the rights, doing some nice floaters and snaps in between.

Wade--scored the biggest sets. Hadn't bodyboarded waves like that for a long time, so was totally stoked on how good it was.

Makani--styled on his longboard. Switchstance, noserides, off-the-lips were all in his repertoire. Decided not to wear a leash and ended up doing a couple of 100+ yard swims.

Mo--carved on his 9'6" gun. Caught some of the longest rides all the way to the inside reef. I think he's better suited for bigger waves, but he had fun nonetheless.

Jimmy--since he was tending the boat, he didn't surf as much. Caught some great rights backside that just walled nicely in the channel. Did a nice cheater-five and was very loud.

Neal--photo slut and wave hog. Damned longboarder with paddling gloves.

The only other person out was this regular named Dave. He stayed at the first peak (his fave spot) and just gorged on the waves all by himself.

Sometimes a slight breeze would blow through, putting a bit of texture on the wave face. However, most of the morning was just glassy perfection. With the lighting, we sometimes couldn't tell where the horizon ended and the water began--some waves seemingly popped up out of nowhere.

One of the highlights of the session was being towed by Jimmy. He tossed out his waterski line and we got a chance to freeboard behind his boat. Since we had the lineup to ourselves, we even tried towing into waves. Had the hardest time doing it, but we finally succeeded on my last try, with Jimmy pulling me into an overhead wall. Good feeling transitioning from being pulled mechanically to being pushed naturally.

I must confess, though, that I didn't like sitting behind the boat with the smell of fumes in the air and an oily film on the water. It felt so unnatural; totally against the essence of our sport.

But at the same time, the boat was an invaluable tool to record our antics on film and video, and gave us some great towing fun. Boon or bane? Maybe a little of both.

On Wednesday, Jimmy asked us over to his place for the video premiere of our session. Buddy couldn't make it, but he got to preview the video first and has since made some excellent frame grabs using a Snappy. At the get-together, we had some good kaukau, laughed at each other, and vowed to do it again real soon.

Maybe in a couple of years I guess, huh Jimmy?

Makani, cutting back under a dark, foreboding sky (photo by Bud)

Me, posing again... (photo by Bud)

Buddy, killing it

Check out more of Buddy's video frame grabs and his session report.

Aloha from Paradise,