Where to surf? -- 9/16/01

Spot W (file photo from Buddy)

Spot X

Spot Y

Spot Z

Decisions, decisions. I hate when we can't make decisions. Especially when it comes to choosing a spot to surf.

A seemingly firm southwest was coming (6-8 ft, 20 seconds on the southern buoys), and we were all set for a photo sesh on the Westside. All of us were just drooling in anticipation. The only problem was where to go.

I did my usual reconnaissance mission, hitting Spot W at 5:30 AM (one of Makani's favorite spots). After stumbling in the darkness on a short hike, I found the spot to be inconsistent and smallish. Relaying the message to the troops, I decided to press on and check further up the coast.

Spot X, my guess at where we'd end up surfing, was barely breaking off the reef. It was quite disappointing. So I went further.

Now Spot Y was the last-resort, almost guarans-ballbearin's wave that is a magnet for swell. It actually looked like it had some serious potential. Unfortunately, looks were very misleading. The wave was doing some funky things with a fairly strong backwash, and sections that ledged and folded and doubled up. Maybe one in ten waves were epic--the rest were ugly. To top it off, the crowd there is usually heavy and localized.

I turned around and drove back to Spot X to get within cell range of the crew, and waited there for them.

While cruising in the drizzling rain, another surfer approached me on the shore. Real friendly guy who looked vaguely familiar. We started talking story and came to find out he was waiting there to surf with Rich and Buddy. "I just got off the phone with them!" I told him.

He introduced himself as Cyril, and we had some good dialog. Came to find out Cyril and I first met out at Pipeline years ago during our dawn patrols. As I recall, the helmeted Cyril used to charge with reckless abandon.

Buddy and Rich soon arrived and we all quickly dispelled Spot X from our surf spot choices. Just for s#!ts and grins, we headed back out to Spot Y to see if it got any better.

Well, the earlier crowd of six had actually diminished to two. That was surprising. Surprising until we saw the lineup. Although it looked like Backdoor/Pipe at times, it was very funky and difficult to ride.

Cyril was on a short suspense, so he quickly jumped in. However, after toiling yet again, we finally decided to backtrack up the coast to look for yet another spot.

While cruising, Rich and Buddy saw that Spot Z was lining up nicely with no one out. They found a 4WD sand/dirt road that my van barely made through, and parked in a very suspect parking area. Makani found us and joined up.

After seeing a few sets pour through, we finally made the call to surf there. It was 2 and a half hours after my first surf check. Finally!!!

Of course, I was the first to jump in. On the sets, the wave broke way outside, backed off a bit in the middle section, then got into a fun racetrack section before expiring over a flat shelf. There was usually a beach fronting the whole break, but the sand was gone, leaving a craggy, reefy shoreline.

Out of paranoia, I decided to sit real deep, outside and south. I usually like to sit out the farthest anyway, but I wanted to be there so I could see my partially hidden van. The area is ripoff-city (there were no less than three trashed cars within a three-mile radius).

This turned out to be a good thing for me, because I got to snag all the set waves. Got some real burners, full-trim on rail all the way. I was using a one-year old bodyboard that I had never ridden before. It was small, narrow and fast.

Got a few good carves and spins, and one really good launch on the inside section--I'm poor at doing aerials going left, but landed this one cleanly.

Buddy was doing pretty good from the middle section. The race section provided some nice carves for him and his brother Rich. Makani wasn't having a good time of it. Like all of us, he was a bit disappointed with the less-than-epic conditions, and his surfing showed it.

After a couple of hours, I had to bail. The rest of the guys stayed for an hour or so more.

Deciding where to surf can be a very frustrating thing. It was interesting how we finally arrived at Spot Z. If everyone were alone, most would have surfed at Spot Y. However, having an empty Spot Z with the crew made the session special.

Where would you have surfed?

Rich jamming

Rich snapping

Buddy looking forward

Interesting perspective of Buddy

Buddy, lineup shot

Aloha from Paradise,