No Mas -- 12/13/01

It was gnarlier than this looks

Paddling out at Haleiwa, I knew I was getting in over my head.

First off, I've never been really fond of the place. The lineup is perplexing, with a challenging takeoff and incredibly strong rip current. In fact, Haleiwa is known as the spot most likely to get caught inside on the North Shore.

The other problem was that I was on a borrowed 7'10" hybrid board. But more on that later.

As usual, the regulars out there were making the spot look deceptively doable. The relatively short period surf (14 seconds) was coming in from the northwest, a bit choppy, but there were still some sweet walls coming in.

Despite being on a 6'3", Buddy adapted well to the conditions. The shortness of his board made it difficult to catch waves, but once he was on, man, he blazed. I saw one wave where he took off and immediately pumped rather than do a full bottom turn, and charged down the line right in the hook. I was impressed, as always.

Lots of whitewater takeoffs

Me? Well, I was having a really hard time of it. I had a great opportunity at a medium-sized wave (5' Hawín), but I totally psyched myself out. I had so little confidence in my abilities that before I even took off, I was thinking about wiping out. That was my demise.

I got to my feet, but couldn't seem to control the board and just flubbed out, tumbling into oblivion.

The rest of the session got even worse for me. Trying to catch the smaller waves, I just couldn't stroke into them. Of course, I ended up getting mowed down by the oncoming waves. It was a hilarious cycle that I got into: get caught inside, catch the whitewater to the beach, walk down the beach, paddle back out through the Toilet Bowl section. I did this three times, losing more and more confidence and energy each time.

Because it wasn't my board, I was that much more tentative to take off. I just didn't want to break my friend's board. This is the excuse I put into my head--that I wasnít doing well because I didn't want to break the board. But the reality was that I just didnít have the confidence to take off and race the heaving walls.

The waves started getting more and more intense, with these giant peaks rolling in from Avalanche. Paddling over some waves, I found that the ocean dropped off behind it, with mega-peaks coming in behind with lots of ocean behind it. After seeing a few of those, I decided that I was out of my league and I had to get in.

Got caught inside once again for good measure, then "surfed" the whitewater into shore.

Even though I didn't get to even ride an open face, I'd like to think that I at least learned a little bit more about the complex lineup at Haleiwa. Buddy and I were rapping about it later and he told me that the peaks usually back off a bit, allowing for late entries. Guess Iíll try and go for it the next time (hope I have the guts to do it).

But this time, I just didn't have it. In the immortal words of Roberto Duran, "No mas." The ocean bested me.

Aloha from Paradise,