"When in Doubt..." -- 12/24/01

Where is everyone?

With buoy #1 pinging at 13-15 feet, 13-14 seconds, the surf was going to be big on the North Shore. But just how big was the question.

Checking out Pipeline, I was bummed out to find it big and gnarly. Some waves were cresting at Second Reef, and there seemed to be a definite northerly component to it. It wasn't looking pretty.

Still, I seriously contemplated heading out. I spent a good hour, sitting under an umbrella in the rain, watching for potential walls to ride and analyzing the shorebreak intensity.

The only taker to try and tackle the peaks was hellman Alistair Taylor, the South African who charges Mavericks and any other intense surfspot around the world. And even he was having a tough time finding a ridable wave. Pass.

Drove to Waimea Bay, figuring that Pinballs would be ridable. However, it just didn't look all that great. It was just tossing outside, somewhat chaotic and messy.

In the parking lot, a guy struck up a conversation with me, asking if I was going out. I told him it didn't look so hot. "When in doubt, donít go out, eh?" was his insightful reply before speeding away in a truck.

Because of the northern component, I decided to check out Laniakea. There was no one in the lineup; in fact, there was no one even in the parking lot. The inside peaks actually looked like they were lining up fairly well, although you could tell that it was breaking all over the place. Decided to go for it, solo.

Paddling out, I found it to be a lot better from the lineup perspective with some sweet walls winding through. However, the shortish period swell, coupled with a mix of swell directions made for some tricky surfing, with shifty peaks and doubled-up walls.

I got some really fun ones, bouncing around on the takeoffs and getting a few clean walls. Got some adrenalin rush getting caught inside a few times, but the waves were quite a bit more forgiving than I've seen it before. It was really cool being alone in all that power.

Just one other guy came out during my sesh, a Japanese national on a shortboard. He snagged a pretty good sized backside wave and rode it far. However, he got nailed on a subsequent set, broke his leash, and swam in. (I made sure he was OK and could reach his board before proceeding.)

Kept riding for a little while longer. My sesh ended when I tried to pull into a tube--it pinched me really hard and ragdolled me. The following couple of waves closed out in front of me. It was time to go.

Honestly, I was a bit hesitant about going out, but was comfortable with my skills and subsequently stoked that I did. I guess sometimes a little bit of doubt is all right.

Aloha from Paradise,