Superbowls -- 1/31/99

Since we didn't have a water shots, this is our only pictorial memory

We decided to do a little bit of Superbowl pre-game warmup at the beach this year. The surf was expected to be small and blown, with maybe a small north hitting in the afternoon. Neva matter--we just wanted to get wet before the big game.

Just before hooking up with Rich and Buddy, I checked the action at buoy #1. At 5 AM, the readings had jumped from 8.5 feet, 11 seconds to 10 feet, 17 seconds. Whoah! If it truly was a north swell, had chance it was going to hit while we were in the water.

I got to Lani's at 6:20 AM, but Rich and Buddy had already beaten me to the punch. The whitewater indicated that it was at least head-high. We were on it!

The first to paddle out, we couldn't believe our eyes. It was a chunky 4-6' Haw'n (double-overhead on the sets), with manageable winds. The swell had already arrived! And we were all alone--at least for a little while.

Buddy only had his 6'3", but he was absolutely charging in the early morn, taking off at the peak on some meaty ones. He'd just scratch into these beasts, and tried to race the wall across the channel. Got caught on more than a few occasions, but had a stellar session nonetheless.

After one particularly rough tumble, Buddy found that the wave ripped his new disposable camera out of his pocket. He was bummed, but better to lose a blank roll than some good shots already "in the bank".

Rich was back to his usual antics, shredding the rights backside. He also had his shortboard, so had to sketch the takeoffs. But once on the nicely lined-up waves, he threw buckets.

He had a few close brushes with getting caught inside. Remember one where I could hear him whisper, "Goodbye cruel world..." ala Pink Floyd. However, he duckdived the nearly double-o face with no problem.

As for myself, well, I finally pulled my tanker out of the repair shop. The rocks at Stinky's did a number on the board, but Jay Rush was able to fix it up real nice (after a hefty debit from my Visa). There were still a few missed dings, so I taped up the potential leakers and jumped in.

After nearly two months of not riding the board, I felt a little rusty and out of cadence. Moreover, I constricted myself further by wearing my shortie. Decided to work into it slowly.

Of course, on wave number two, I stroked for this macker. It just so happened that Rich was on the inside paddling back out, so he started yelling at me to go. Had to try. Did a blind takeoff into the wind and rain on this bowling right. Solidly planted my feet, then swooped into a short, but sweet peak.

The rest of the morning for me was spent playing Mr. Buoy, watching everyone else charge (and there were a LOT of people to watch as the morning progressed). Caught a few odd peaks and walls, including one looooong ride that I could've gone all the way on. Although my wave count was somewhat lagging, I felt good about the session overall.

Ben Aipa came out, still charging after all these years (whew, glad I was riding his board again). Also, the legend Mark "Wounded Gull" Richards was swooping in and around us. Kaipo Jaquias was supremely confident, riding without a leash! Then there was this slightly rotund guy on a green longboard that ruled the outside peak.

I think I got the wipeout of the day for our crew. Did a four-paddle takeoff on the second wave of a set. The buggah just jacked unexpectedly, and I found myself clinging to my board by my toetips. Milliseconds later, it was time to bail. Got dragged underwater for an eternity before getting caught inside for the longest series of waves of the day.

By then I had stretched my brand-spanking new leash a couple of extra feet, and was forced into a 20 minute paddle-a-thon from inside Holtons. I just HAD to paddle back out thru the Lani's/Holtons crease--hard head. Barely made it out thru a short lull.

Later on, Bud, who saw the whole disaster, asked, "What were you thinking!?!"

Caught just a couple more waves before calling it quits. Counted three broken boards on the beach--guess I was lucky that it was just me (and not my board) that got munched.

Afterwards, I finally got a chance to give Ben a blowup image of the shot I took of him at Lani's in December. He was genuinely stoked about it, so I was happy.

Went home and cooked my family a mini-barbeque and watched Denver stomp on the dirty birds. Two superbowls in one day--what more could anyone ask for?

Aloha from Paradise,