Traditions - 1/1/99

Me, taken by Bud with my digital cam

New Year's Eve. At midday, the buoy reported an amazing 30 feet, 20 seconds! Some wicked surf was going to herald in the new year.

With my wife's blessing, I planned to hook up with Buddy for a very short, early morning sesh. Looked like it was going to be perfect to catch some huge wrap on the Westside. We were both stoked on the prospect of riding some big stuff.

That night, our family did the standard Hawaiian New Year's Eve stuff, including: eating way too much food, popping some pachi-pachi (fireworks), drinking champagne (ok, it was really sparkline wine), and watching the ageless Dick Clark.

I snuggled into bed with my wifey after 1 AM, a bit tired, but content with the knowledge that my first sesh of '99 was but a few hours away.

Suddenly, a loud phone ring zapped me out of my fitful sleep. Damned, it was almost 6 AM already, and Buddy was waiting for me outside. I blasted out of the house, gathered all my gear together, and we were soon headedwest.

The predawn winds were eerily calm. So calm in fact, that all the smoke from fireworks from the night's revelry still lingered, and actually pooled into low-lying areas. This created a dangerous, foglike haze, the likes of which local residence were totally unfamiliar with. Fortunately, it had dissipated enough for us to get through, and we carefully headed out.

Buddy and I were abuzz with anticipation. Our secret spot would probably be too big we thought, so triple-overhead Makaha might be the call. But when we got to the coast, we were not prepared for what we saw:

There were no waves.

Actually, there were some waves, but it was really funky. Our secret spot, Stinky's, showed signs of some serious size between long lulls, but sourcing from an awkward angle. The almost-always reliable Makaha was smallish and mushy. Tent's was sizeable, but sectioning quickly. We even drove out to the "end of the road" and found huge swells wrapping around Kaena Point, with whitewater rumbling in for hundreds of yards, but not serving up any good waves.

We were at a loss for words. Backtracking, we tried to find some semblance of a wave to ride, but there was none to be found. We finally settled for a go-out at mediocre Tracks, the most eastern break on the West Side.

It was actually so "noninviting" that Buddy decided to cruise on the beach while I partook. There already was a sizeable crowd in the water, but I just had to get wet. Went out towards the Sand Dunes side, and searched for something to ride.

Caught some small, closeout tubes, did a few rollos, but had nothing spectacular. Best ride was a quick, hooking concave wall that sectioned quickly. Had a moment to enjoy the view in the green room before taking a tumble in the closeout.

A light rain drizzled down as I exited the water. Did a quick change and bailed the packed parking lot. After Buddy dropped me off, our family went out to eat some ozoni (mochi soup) for good luck/health. Of course, during the course of the day, we went to two family gatherings, overate again and watched Texas A&M fight the good fight before getting defeated by Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.

Surprisingly, after an eight year wait, they finally called the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. The surf looked lumpy on the evening newscast, but the size was adequate, I guess. Big Island boy Noah Johnson took home the title, along with $55k. Stoked for him--remember venturing to Honoli'i for some amateur contests and hooking up with him and his dad.

Some say that your first surf is a harbinger of things to come. Others might contend that it can only get better. I'll take the middle road and say that the sesh wasn't all that bad, but there's room for improvement. In any case, I hope that we all have a bountiful new year in all aspects of our lives.

As far as traditions, well, along with all the other New Year's Eve/Day revelry, I think we should add one more thing to the list--the New Year's Day dawn patrol. Definitely a tradition worth upholding. :-)

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou,