The Stickshark -- 8/6/01

Me at Maili, Buddy foto
More session photos by Buddy here

Decided to defer my weekend session in hopes that a new south swell would materialize on Monday. Clearing the calendar at work was a challenge, but I managed to sneak away by 1 PM.

I had the “good” car that day, so I asked Buddy if he could drive. Of course, he generously agreed. So off we went, heading west in search of waves.

We made a series of stops to check out waves along the coast and ended up driving all the way to the end of Farrington Hwy. Unfortunately, although there was swell, nothing really tickled our fancy. Even the usually epic spot at the end of the road looked good, but actually was very treacherous and sketchy.

So we decided to backtrack to Maili Point, which looked fun, but not all that powerful.

In the past, the parking lot at Maili was notoriously known for car ripoffs and breakins. However, they cleared out the bushes and it’s not so bad nowadays. We hoped.

The surf was pulsing in from the SSW with sweet, long overhead walls peeling left. The winds were firm offshore, with some very pristine conditions at times. We were out there in a flash.

Most of the crowd was at the far point so we decided to try the middle peak, which had long lefts and an occasional juicy right. However, it just wasn’t coming in consistently.

After trying to make it happen, we finally decided to try the far point and immediately scored some sweet lefts. The spot was a bit sketchy with broken concrete pylons sprinkled around just under the surface (my guess was that they were remnants of a broken jetty that used to extend out there). The swell would come in and boil around these outcroppings, making for a nervous takeoff.

I was having a blast on my longboard, catching some really long ones. Didn’t realize it at first, but the wind was doing a number on my board, especially on the takeoffs. Got used to the “kite” effect, which put new meanings to the terms “floaters” and “airs”. Managed to trim all the way through on several rides, easily over 100 yards.

Buddy was scoring some really good lefts on his shortboard. He was pulling some serious g’s, banking multiple backside roundhouse turns. It was like he was on rails.

After one of his long rides, Buddy was paddling back out when he started shouting at me. “Did you see that?” he asked. “No, what?” I responded. “The shark!” he said. “How far from me?” I worriedly asked. “About ten feet away!” he said.

At first I was way nervous, especially since Maili is known to have a tiger shark that frequents the area. But I soon realized that what Buddy saw was this turtle that had been lolling on the surface just outside of me. Damn, Buddy!

Soon afterwards, however, I did see something that got me a bit unnerved. About 20 yards outside, I saw something sticking out of the water that looked somewhat like a fin, but had a very acute angle (unlike a shark’s typical 45 degree dorsal fin).

Mentioned to Buddy about my visual, saying that it looked kinda like a fin, but maybe could’ve been a stick.

“Stickshark!” is what he quickly called out. Guess it’s a new species of shark, named by a surfers with overactive imaginations.

So we finally went back to the business at hand--catching waves. There were some seriously long lulls to deal with. I passed the time by talking to this friendly Puerto Rican surfer who was as bubbly as he was loud. Also ended up watching these bodyboarders take off over a faraway peak that was firing, but had boils and coralheads all around.

Buddy struck up a conversation with this dude who was looking a bit bummed. Buddy asked why he was sad. The guy replied, “You’d be bummed too if you looked in the parking lot and your truck was missing.”

That set off some alarms in our head. What if something also happened to Buddy’s car? (Also thought, “Glad I didn’t bring my good car!”)

Soon afterwards, Buddy noticed that a car had parked right next to his, with his door open in between. Classic car breakin procedure.

He decided to head in and check out the situation just in case, and told me to keep surfing for as long as I wanted. I thanked him for the offer, and decided to stay out for just a bit longer.

When he went in, it looked like all was well, so I settled in to catch a few more. Unfortunately, the surf had lulled big time, so I had to wait for some of the smaller ones. Conditions were just so nice with light winds and a setting sun.

I eventually found my way in to a cruising Bud. The car that was “next” to him was actually way down the beach--from the lineup, it seemed right next.

I asked Buddy about the dude with the stolen car and he could only laugh because once again the view from the lineup masked reality. His car was just hidden from view--it was there all the time!

Guess sometimes your eyes can play tricks on you. Just be on the lookout for those sticksharks.

Aloha from Paradise,