SURF OBSERVATIONS
Bisect -- 12/1/01


The kneeboarder, charging into oblivion

Sitting in the sand, stretching out my tight body, I was happy.

Not because the waves were good. Although buoy #1 had a firm 8 foot, 14 second swell showing, it wasn't materializing in the form of sizable waves (about head-high on the average).

Not because of the conditions. Our three weeks of dead calm winds were giving way to oncoming tradewinds and rain.

It was because of anticipation of empty surf. Not a soul was in the water, or on the beach, or even in the parking lot. And why should they be? It was still 5:30 AM. Sunrise wasn't for an hour and a half.

But it was surfable all right. A full moon peaked through holes in the clouds, providing ample light to read and anticipate the swell. Also, a beach-house fronting Pipe was generous enough to provide a small floodlight, luminating a part of the lineup.

The paddleout was a breeze, but finding the right spot in the lineup was challenging. A couple of swells were inconsistently coming through, and you could never really tell where the peak would be. In the dark, it was near impossible. But I didn't care; I was in my element.

Fortunately, the two light sources was the perfect device to line myself up in the water. I used the whitewater break line from smaller waves to gauge my distance from shore, then aligned myself right between the floodlight and the moon. The lineup was a perfect point of bisection for the light source endpoints.

Admittedly, I didn't catch too many waves in the dark. It was a bit spooky, but that only added to the overall mood. Got one fun left, climbing and falling on a silky wall, feeling my way through. Nothing special, but at the same time very special.

One of the best moments was actually when I was caught inside after a ride. As I scratched for the outside, I ducked under a pitching lip and managed to glance at moonbeams shining through the crystalline lip. It was a beautiful moment. Then I got mowed down by the second and third wave in the set. But it was all good.

Eventually, a few bodyboarders and then surfers trickled into the lineup (including Bruddah Rich). But it never got to the level that a typical winter weekend morn would bring.

I was much chattier than normal. Usually, I tend to be very businesslike in the lineup (easier to drop in on someone you don't know--nah!). But having Rich out there made me rap a bit more, and that continued throughout the sesh.

I talked with Andres, a bodyboarder from Venezuela who was doing pretty good at Backdoor. Had to ask him what language he spoke back home (Spanish). I also asked how long he was staying and he replied, "Just a short while--two months." Wow! Whatís short for some is long for others.

Also talked with a kneeboarder from Santa Cruz who took a couple of bad wipeouts, but charged nonetheless. We were talking about the reefs north of SC, and he said they were great, but very sharky. He said he had two encounters with the beasts, with one great white gliding just a few feet directly under him.

Then there was this Aussie surfer guy who looked like a local. His accent gave him away big time. He was favoring the rights, going shoulder-to-shoulder with me in a semi-competitive spirit, getting some sweet barrels. Nice guy, actually.

The surf got a little better as the morning progressed, but only a little. Fair conditions were maintained despite some intimidating cloud cover and gusts.

I was actually having a field day, snagging lots of rides. Since it was small, I tried earnestly to make waves, and was fairly successful in driving through a bunch of little tubes. Even purposely charged a few small closeouts, relishing the view and the water movement from inside the wave. My board was working great, holding a high line at full trim with speed.

The makeup of the lineup was very odd. After the first wave of Aussie and RSA bodyboarders, a few odd visiting surfers came in, along with locals like Isaac Kaneshiro. Eventually, a pod of bodysurfers led by the incomparable Mark Cunningham, joined us, snagging the inside waves that came through. At one point, the bodysurfers actually outnumbered the craft riders seven to five. But again, it was all good.

After three and a half hours, it was time for me to leave. Guess the swell never did fully materialize. Usually high expectations that arenít fulfilled leads to a less-than-stoking session for me. However, the uncrowded and cool lineup more than made up for the lack of size.

Thinking back to the friends I had made, it was neat that they came from such diverse places of the world. In their surf travels, I guess Hawaii was the hub of convergence for them to come together; a bisecting point in the middle of the Pacific.


It was not a cakewalk...

Aloha from Paradise,
stickman


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