A Glorious Day -- 10/25/98

One of the few waves that Rich backed off on

On Saturday, the swell peaked at something like twelve feet (Haw'n). I was all jealous of Rich and Buddy because they scored some mackers at Laniakeas. However, we all were free on Sunday morning, so we went back for a dawn patrol. It was still hefty, maybe 6-8' (Haw'n), glassy, with a good north angle. We were on it.

The night before, I did a lot of soul-searching, wondering what to ride. I had gained a lot of confidence on my longboard from our surfs at Q-Tips, but what I really was concerned about was breaking my stick. It's just a sickening feeling to lose something so precious, without any way to recompense the loss financially. In the end, I decided to chance the tank.

I jammed out there the quickest, getting out to the lineup early. My first few waves were an absolute nightmare. For some reason, I was super tentative with spagetti legs. The surf wasn't helping with a bit of morning sickness lumpiness. My first round was culminated by getting lip-launched off of a small set--maybe a ten foot fall into oblivion. Had to settle down.

Just then, I saw someone swimming for a lost board. Looked like Makani had lost his stick, so I paddled into the channel and searched for it. Before I got to it, someone had grabbed the board and was paddling back out. I thanked him, then brought it over to the swimmer, who wasn't Makani (another case of mistaken identity). Oh well, it was a good respite.

By the time I got back out, the boys were well into their session. Rich was absolutely charging on his 7' 9" rhino chaser, sitting the farthest out in the lineup and catching some mackers. I had a feeling this guy would shine in the big stuff, but had no idea how comfortable he'd be, especially taking off backside on these mackers.

Makani was working his magic again with his flowing style. He had never surfed Lani's this big and was still getting used to the power transition (since he spent his last few winters in Central Cal), but he performed admirably, s-turning down the reeling walls.

Buddy first went for the big peaks on the outside, then played it smart on his 6' 9", sitting at the main Lani's peak to catch the lined up walls. Even though it got real crowded there, Buddy always seemed to be sitting in good position to catch the waves. Therein lies the subtle art of positioning, an art which he has wired.

As for myself, well, after the awkward start, I finally hit my stride. Got a few good ones where I planted myself solidly on my board and just trimmed down the line. Eventually, I gained enough confidence to work my way out to the outside peak, not quite to Holtons, but beyond the usual channel area.

Never admitted it to anyone, but I felt I had a bit to prove that day. Ben Aipa was out again, killing it, and he's the one who shaped the board I was riding. For some reason, I wanted to show him that his efforts did not go to waste. So I probably took off on some waves that I would not have just because he was out there.

Whatever the reasons were, I was stoked to be pushing my limits on a longboard. Scored some long ones, riding all the way past the second peak, trimming all the way. Even got a chance to shoot some photos from the water, although I almost went over the falls on one huge set.

Reality hit home when we saw this guy take off late on a big set at Holtons. He skittered at the top of the lip, stood up, then tried to drop in. Somehow the board came out from under him and he got pitched, landing right back on his board... chest first! The wave then just roared over, engulfing him in a wicked barrel. The whole gallery watched for a few anxious seconds, until he resurfaced in a froth of whitewater, no board in sight. Whew!

The crowd was pretty substantial, but the overall vibe was still really positive. Guess there were lots of waves to go around, and it broke all over the place, giving everyone a chance to partake.

As I was paddling back out from an especially good ride, I went shoulder to shoulder with a local boy. "Good waves, huh?" I said. He came back saying, "It's a glorious day!" Couldn't have agreed with him more.

Eventually it became time to leave, so I caught a decent one in. As I was nearing the shore, I saw Buddy on the beach gesturing to me to get his board. His board? I looked towards the channel and saw it. Half his board was lolling in the water. Buddy had broken his stick and spent the last 20 minutes swimming in. Sick!

From Buddy's explanation, he got lip-launched on a pretty average wave, got worked a little, then came up with only half his board. It was only his third time riding it too! He seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, but I felt for him just the same.

As everyone filtered in, we were all abuzz as to how fun the session was. Except for Bud's board casualty, it truly was a glorious day. But then again, even the board went with honor.

Also check out Buddy's story and insane pics.

Aloha from Paradise,