Wrong Call? -- 11/11/98

Buddy's Bomb Set (it was bigger than it looks here)

Veteran's Day holiday! Makani was out sick, so I met up with Buddy and Rich and we headed for the Country.

Since we were between swells, we had to do a little searching to find the right spot. After checks at Lani's, V-land, and Pipe, we settled on Haleiwa. I thought it was a good call.

Looked pretty uncrowded initially. But we should’ve known better. It was the day before the start of the Triple Crown of Surfing, and Haleiwa was venue number one. The full grandstand was set up on the park, and people were busy prepping, both in and out of the water.

Paddled out into inconsistent, 4-6 ft (Haw'n) surf. The winds were light, but high clouds created a muted, gray ambiance.

For anyone not familiar, Haleiwa is a very challenging wave. Voted "Most likely place to get caught inside" on the North Shore, it features a heavy current, tough local crew, sectiony sections, and the infamous inside Toilet Bowl shallows, where people have actually died (or so I've heard).

Buddy and Rich were undergunned with a 6'3" and a 6'5", respectively. I had my tank, but was thoroughly outclassed by everyone in the lineup. A cadre of women pro surfers, including newly-crowned world champ Layne Beachley, were working the inside pretty good. At the point were Kerry Terukina and Glenn Matsumoto, catching all the good sets with Ben Aipa (again!).

Overall, we had a terrible session, just paddling around, trying to get into something. The wave is so tricky that you have to put in lots of time before you understand the intricacies of the lineup.

Buddy somehow scratched into this bomb set and made it to the bottom before the lip closed him out. He later scored a clean in-and-out tube ride, which was the wave of the day for all of us.

Rich wasn’t doing so hot in the beginning, just grabbing leftovers. At the very end, he dialed into a few beauties that lined up nicely. His backside attack on the rights were very impressive from shore.

Me, I kooked for the most part. Had some comical wipeouts going left with my board just skating around during weightless takeoffs. I did score one beauty of a wave on the inside that lined up forever. Tried stalling for the tube, but ended up just racing it to just inside the Toilet Bowl section.

Of course, my session at Haleiwa wouldn’t have been complete without getting caught inside. After shooting Buddy on his big takeoff, I lost track of where I was. Another wave came in and I was like, "... uh oh". I tried duckdiving it, but I must’ve stabbed too deep into the base of the wave. After surfacing, I felt the wave slowly drawing me back over the falls. Aaaaaaah! It was quite funny, actually.

We came in and talked story with some of the people on shore. My friend Reid Inouye said the 8 AM buoy readings were booming at 25 ft, 20 seconds! It was going to rise big time.

Ended up waiting for bruddah Rich to catch his last wave(s) in, then bailed in time for me to give my daughter some bodyboarding lessons in the swimming pool.

After we left, the surf surged out of control, and by noon most every spot was closing out. Wrong call? Nah! Not even close to our usual high wave quotas, but we got wet and caught a few good ones. No complaints.

P.S. Also check out Buddy's session report with pics.

Aloha from Paradise,