Snap -- 12/10/98

After the snap--that's Buddy going right

New project at work equated to big time stress. Getting both a stomach virus and a sinus infection on Thanksgiving weekend didnít help matters.

After a couple weeks, I finally felt strong enough to get wet. With all my latent energy coupled with the outside pressures, I was just about ready to snap.

I got better just in time, too--a huge west-northwest was forecast for Thursday. Planned to dawn it with Buddy, but meetings at work forced me to switch it to the afternoon. Fortunately, Buddy could accommodate.

That morning, the North Shore reported sets up to 20 feet--waaay too big for us. Our best bet was to head west for some tapered wrap. Buddy picked me up at 2 PM, and we departed to meet our destiny.

Along the way, there were definite signs of a solid swell, with strong walls pushing over the Waianae mountain range. However, the spots just weren't working right. When we reached our target of Makaha, we were disheartened to find big, mushy walls with no real form.

We decided to backtrack a bit to a slightly fickle spot I'll call Stinky's. We pulled up to find beautiful, milky-green barrels buffeted by offshore winds. However, there were two catches: (1) the waves were mostly closeouts, and (2) the waves rolled in right against an imposing clifflike lava shelf. Chance 'um!

Buddy showed me the precarious entry/exit point that only a local would know, and we ventured in. Right then, the two bodyboarders charging the spot departed. We had it all to ourselves!

Surf was 3-5' (Haw'n), and just so pretty. Because of the multiple swell angles, the waves seemed to approach straight in and shut in one glorious "whump". However, if you were patient, there were a few gems to be had.

Buddy, ever the charger, just went for it, pulling into some hollow, well-overhead walls. I was quite in awe at his confidence, with the craggy wall exposed no less than 50 yards away. He cruised the inside, looking for bowly peaks, and scored on more than a few occasions.

I started off super-tentatively, feeling just a tad fatigued from my prior illness. Slowly, I started building up my confidence, loosening up. I soon realized that it wasn't that bad once you got used to it. I even scored a nice, jacking wall, making several turns before having to kick out on the inside.

We were about one hour into the session when it happened. I caught this dinky excuse for a wave, and stayed on it for one too many turns. As I kicked out through the closeout, I felt my leash go taught, tightening ever so slowly. Suddenly, SNAP! The leash broke and my precious Aipa tank rolled towards the board-eating rocks.

Immediately, I made a desperate swim to shore, hoping against all odds to intercept my board before the next wave sent it to its doom. No chance. The board was swept into a tiny cove and was bashed repeatedly against the a'a lava wall.

Fortunately, a passerby saw all the action and kindly pulled the board out of the water. I played rock climber and gingerly made my way up the porous precipice. I quickly thanked the kid, then woefully inspected the board.

It was bad. In two places, one on the deck and the other on the bottom, the board was crushed nearly an inch into the foam. There were many other dings over the board, including two along the rails--difficult to patch. I was sick to my stomach--not just about the board, but because of the realization that the afternoon session I had looked so forward to had come to such an abrupt end.

The leash itself was an oldish 9' leash that got stretched to over 11' in previous sessions--whaddaya expect, idjit? I thought about tying it back together and going out again, but decided against it, not wanting to waterlog the board any further. After my board dries out, glasser Jay Rush is going to have a challenging job ahead of him.

Buddy looked towards me with concern, but I gestured to him to just keep surfing. There was nothing he could do anyway. No sense the both of us waste our afternoon. So he pressed on.

I showered off, then spent the next hour just sitting and watching Buddy in the good surf. He put on a great show, scoring a dry tube on his forehand, some good backhand snaps on the lefts, and a couple of death closeouts in between.

I could only watch in envy, taking the odd picture from shore with my water camera. As the sun sank low on the horizon, the glare added more hurt (in my eyes) to my frustration. It was far more painful to watch and not being able participate. "Bachi" (bad luck/fate) for running away from work.

Just after 5 PM, Buddy caught his last wave in. He was apologetic for staying out so long, but I was truly glad he did. Even though it was hard for me to sit on the beach, it allowed for some introspection, and was even calming to some degree. We quickly saddled up and headed for home.

I'll probably be bodyboarding for a quite while until I can get the board patched up. Maybe thatís a good thing--I have been a bit remiss about my sponging as of late. Maybe this little escapade will snap me back to my senses. Maybe.


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

Aloha from Paradise,