Knowing the Ins and Outs -- 3/21/99

Buddy, making the late drop

Pics courtesy Buddy. Check out all of his pics from our sesh here.

A few days before, an intense low pressure system tracked north of the islands, with open ocean swells topping 65 feet. However, since the fetch wasn't directed this way, only the fringes of the storm would be felt here. Still, the surf was expected to possibly hit 20 feet (Haw'n) over the weekend.

As luck would have it, an adjacent high pressure system followed, bringing nasty tradewinds in the 15-35+ mph range. This series of weather patterns set the stage for our latest session.

On Saturday, Buddy and Makani ventured west in search of some tapered wrap. After checking lots of spots, they settled on Stinky's (fictitious name) and scored some good, six foot lefts.

Hoping for a repeat performance, Buddy and I set out on a predawn assault on Sunday morn. Pulling up, we found the outer reefs just feathering, as large swells marched in. It seemed a little inconsistent, but we decided to chance-um anyway.

Stinky's is a somewhat of a rare wave that only turns on with size. The swell direction must've been funky because the usual barreling rights were replaced by a peeling left, with some hittable sections. The winds were stiff offshores with a cold bite to it.

It's a real trick just getting into and out of the water there. The whole shoreline is fronted by a sharp, coral wall that drops down about six feet onto more coral and rocks. You really have to know the spot to feel comfortable.

Because of the unusual peel of the waves, the usual jump point was boiling with whitewater, so we walked down the beach to a less active area. After a little bit of comical reefdancing, we both entered the empty lineup unscathed.

Although just a bit inconsistent, the waves were pretty good--maybe 5 feet (Haw'n), with top-to-bottom peelers. Most waves started with a quick wall, softened a bit, then bowled on the inside one or two times. We quickly went to work on the beautiful waves.

Buddy was his usual self, taking off really late and critical behind the bowl, and pulling in backside. You'd think he would baby his new board, but that's just not his style. He snagged one really good tube, pig-dogging the takeoff right into the pit. Da buggah got some serious tube-savvy.

I was having a field day on my bodyboard, just taking off into this intense wind, racing down the line, doing one cutback over the soft spot, then trying for some small-kine tubes on the inside. Caught one big wall that just stood up and spiraled down the line, with me taking an uncharacteristically aggressive trim. Made it too!

All the while, we watched as cars and people came, checked out the spot, then left. Some guys actually scouted the shoreline, apparently looking for a safe way in, but eventually left without getting wet. Buddy and I shook our heads in disbelief, laughing as we relished the fun, empty waves.

Finally after two hours of solitude a group of three surfers gingerly paddled out to the lineup. It was obvious that they weren't locals by the way they cautiously entered the area and immediately tried to endear Buddy. They were all grins and positive attitude, so it was impossible not to help them out with lineup and shoreline info.

Then the fourth guy came out. He was a piece of work, decked out with a longsleeved shortie and blonde, shoulder-length hair. You know how one guy can change the whole vibe of the session. Well this guy did.

I think it was on his first wave that he showed his 'tude by dropped in on me. I was already at full-trim, so without saying a word, I raced around him and banked a tight carve into the hook. I looked over my shoulder, and he was still on my tail.

As I kicked out, I heard him give a small hoot, so I gave a positive gesture, as if to say it was cool to share a wave. What came back was this totally arrogant, "Hah!" Like he one-upped me or something.

Paddling back to the lineup, Buddy immediately asked me if the guy dropped in on me. I told him yeah, but it was no biggie--average wave, and I got the best of it anyway. But Buddy and even the other three guys were pretty pissed at the dude.

The guy continued to aggressively try and catch every little wave that came his way, without regard to others. The worst thing was he couldn't even surf--he was a kook! I don't want to sound too prejudicial, but this is the kind of guy that gives "haoles" a bad name.

I tried not to let the drop-in bother me (happens a lot when I'm bodyboarding), but I secretly thought out all the scenarios as to what I would do if he burned me again. Unfortunately, the waves didn't cooperate--the sets just suddenly stopped coming.

By then it was time for us to leave, so we were forced to paddle in without even catching a wave in. Funny thing--as Buddy headed in, seemingly paddling right into a wall of coral to the exit point, all the guys were watching him intently, trying to figure out how he was going to get out. I had to chuckle to myself.

Once again, we were fortunate to score some good, uncrowded waves. It was too bad that the one aggro kook made the session end on a slightly sour note. However, we were content with the fact that we got it at its best. I guess local knowledge always gives you the "ins" to a place.

Parting Shot

Aloha from Paradise,