Surf Check -- 12/13/98

Buddy doing a slight air drop on the right

Another sizeable swell was on the way, and, as Rich so eloquently put it, we wanted "to ride bigger boards."

Buddy, Rich and Makani were to hook up and meet me somewhere on the North Shore. Unfortunately, they were running late, so I decided to head out and do some advanced scouting.

In the dark, Laniakeas was looking manageable. However, Holtons and Avalanche were cracking, indicating much bigger things. After conferring with the boys via cell, I decided to check the Pipeline area just in case the "upside" of the North Shore was any better. Regardless, it looked like the Pipeline Masters contest was a go for the day.

In the park, I saw Randy Rarick, who casually mentioned that they were on. I found Bernie Baker at the judge’s scaffolding, and talked surf with him. He said it was already 8-10' and rising. Then in the darkness, I saw Second Reef starting to pop. Uh oh!

Running back to my car, I called Buddy and, without much discussion, I told them to head west. To me, it looked like it was way too big for us--as if the North Shore would be awash in a couple of hours.

So I jumped back in my car and raced towards the Westside, as my precious water time ticked away. The long drive made me second-guess myself. Was I too quick in deeming it too big? The rest of the crew can handle much bigger than my comfort zone--maybe I should’ve checked around more.

By that time, it was too late to change the plans--we were committed. Like the last session, it looked like there was some size, but it just wasn't really happening. I finally caught up with the boys at Makaha, where it was once again big and mushy. Argh!

We decided to head further up the road and checked out another spot, I'll call Tents. It was smallish but looked like there was some potential, so we decided to make the most of it.

After my terrible, board-bashing session, I was rarin' to go. I grabbed my sponge and jumped off the reef and into the lineup in wild enthusiasm.

It started off pretty good, with some nice walls, both lefts and rights, rideable for 40-60 yards. The boys soon joined in on their 7'0"s and started dominating the place.

The rest of the people in the water consisted of mostly older surfers, all fairly comfortable with their egos and skills. It made for a casual lineup, with no aggro kooks spoiling it for the rest of us. (Hope we didn't come off in a negative light--don’t think so.)

Unfortunately, the surf was inconsistent. It became so bad that I finally decided to venture to the beach area, where a wedgy sandbar sometimes worked its magic.

Not this time, though. At least I got to see an old friend, Brian Labbe, who frequented the contest scene with me way back when. Caught a great peak over the flat reef, propped myself up going into the pit, but it ended up snowballing me. The place wasn't happening either.

So I paddled back to the main peak, hoping for something better. I waited, and waited, and waited. After a long, frustrating lull, I started getting all "futless". I was hoping to recompense for my previous sesh cut short by my damaged board.

Suddenly, I came to the realization that I was partaking in an incredible sport, savoring warm Hawaiian waters and decent waves. I was in paradise! There was no reason for me to be angry at the situation.

It was right then that things started turning around for me. Slowly at first, but oh so surely. Nice walls came in with lots of waves per set.

The boys were going off. Buddy favored the rights, having most of them all to himself. Rich caught the big sets, as usual. And Makani worked the inside lefts, styling as always.

And me, a good right signaled the turnaround. The wave's lip looked like it was taut enough so I aimed for it. With some backwash assistance, I managed to tag it perfectly and executed a clean el rollo, landing in the flats right in front of Buddy. Felt so good!

Later on, I got this long left that surprisingly walled up beautifully. Managed some good trim up and down the face, along with four solid carves. Just totally stoked.

I had to bail from the water early, but I managed to get some. Buddy said it got a little bigger after I left, but went flat soon afterwards.

I was really worried that my surf check was a bad call for our crew, but it turned into a really fun session for us at Tents. The stoke is back--I’m rejuvenated!

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

Aloha from Paradise,