Going for the Sweep -- 10/22/98

Unknown, charging...

There has to be a special occasion for me to take off for a mid-week session. Well, this week the Country was expected to wake up from its early season slumber. It also just happpened to be the week that alt.surfer Mike Gemelli would be in town. Time to take some leave!

Mike is from New Jersey and frequents its shorebreaks, along with those of Long Island. He was in the islands on his honeymoon, and was scheduled to leave that very Thursday night. Great way to cap his vacation off with some sizeable surf.

Mike, Buddy and me all planned to meet up in the Laniakea parking lot, hopefully to catch the arrival of the new swell. To identify ourselves, we traded info on cars and looks with Mike. So when a red Dodge Neon pulled, I played Mr. Island Ambassador and went over to say "hi". After talking story for a little while, I soon realized that this wasn't Mike. Oops! Guess there are lots of surfer-tourists renting red Neons.

Of course right then, Mike pulled up in his Neon, and we exchange pleasantries. Mike was even nice enough to bring Yankee caps for us. You never really know what to expect when meeting a cyber-bro, but Mike was just a cool, regular guy--stoked on surfing with lots of positive changes going on in his life.

We paddled out thru the channel between Holtons and Lani's. Somehow, I got a holeshot and made it through a closeout set, while Mike and Buddy took some donuts and had to paddle all the way around. The surf was well overhead and really glassy. The swell seemed to be missing Laniakea a bit, but still provided some big, long walls. Holtons was looking majestic, but it was only a big, moment of glory drop, then nothing.

Buddy was his usual self, tearing it up. He seemed very familiar with the lineup and positioned himself for optimum length of ride. The man has lots of latent surfspot savvy that really comes out during our sessions, especially when the waves become substantial.

I had a pretty good session on my bodyboard, snagging some nice walls. No major maneuvers--just some heavy trim action and open faced fun. It really felt good being in North Shore conditions again--all the surrounding power has a way of energizing me.

Understandably, Mike started off slowly. He said that it was some of the biggest surf he had ever surfed. But he charged anyway. I was real fortunate to be inside of him just as he caught his first ever ride at Lani's--talk about stoked expression! He started loosening up and caught some really long rights, just carving it up backside.

On one wave, I remember taking off pretty deep on a good-sized wave. As I made my bottom turn, Mike accidentally started stroking into it and got up. I yelled "Go go go!", but he got rattled, unsure of who I was, and ended up bailing. I felt bad about "hog-cheesing" the wave, and he felt bad that he dropped in on me. "No shame brah--was one party wave!"

Ben Aipa was out that day, just charging and inspiring us at 57. We talked story with him for a little while. Man, that guy has so much surf knowledge--swell direction, positioning, trends. He just has a great feel for it all.

Eventually, I had to bail early to go to work. Buddy and Mike stayed out for a while longer, savoring the good waves. For Mike, this was his last surf before heading back east to start a new job and a new life together with his wife.

As I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw Mike dial into another long ride across the inside reef. Yep, just like his beloved Yankees, Mike scored a sweep.

Trimming at Dawn

Also check out Buddy's story.

Aloha from Paradise,