The Return of Kohei -- 7/22/01

Kohei-san taking off on a steep one

Back in 1997, I hooked up (via the Internet) with a Japanese national named Kohei. We had several fun sessions together (see Returning the Favor, and even got back together in 1998. Since then, I hadnít heard a word from him.

So I was surprised and stoked when he emailed me, saying he would be coming back in town. I was looking forward to seeing him again.

I picked him up early in the morning at his hotel and we proceeded to go to our reliable Lighthouse. Because of the Tin Man triathlon going on that morning, the road was partially closed going up the hill. Fortunately, we managed to get through around the back way.

Since the time I last saw him, Kohei had surfed Samoa, gotten married, had a little girl, and is getting ready to open a business. Now life is a lot more complicated for him. I kind of chuckled because he is pretty much where I was the last time he came.

Surf was actually pretty good, with a remnant south swell that was reinforced by a tradewind wrap. Surf was even chunky at times, with head-high surf.

I was a little concerned with Koheiís ability to catch waves. Although I knew he was a good surfer, I also knew that he hasnít been surfing at all in recent times. Kohei is pretty much just longboarding nowadays and the shifty peaks and suckups was challenging.

After a bit of initial tentativeness however, Kohei scored some really nice waves (think I caught his two best on film). A bit of egging on got him into a ledgy peak which he managed easily. Saw another one where he caught it from the outside and rode it all the way through into the shallow lowtide reef.

As for me, I had a great time in the funky conditions. However, I wasnít surfing all that great, wiping out on more than a few occasions. One memorable ďrideĒ had me taking off late as the wave jacked. All I could do was bail and freefall more than six feet as the lip tossed me and board over. Still a lot of fun.

Buddy finally made it to the lineup around eight. Because of the Tin Man, the parking was blocked and he had to park about a half mile and walked the rest of the way. Of course, once in the lineup, he did his usual shralping.

We surfed together for quite a while, relishing the empty lineup and decent surf. Finally, Kohei and I had to leave and so we made our way carefully across the exposed reef shelf.

Really nice connecting with my friend. Our lives have changed quite a bit since the last time we met, but our love for surfing hasnít.

Aloha from Paradise,