Easing the Pain -- 4/13/02

Backdoor was stunning!

Throughout the week, the pain in my neck persisted unabated. When I twitched my head a certain way, a searing pain would jolt my brain. I ended up walking around like I was balancing an apple on my head.

Friday arrived, and I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with my workload. To top it off, we were expecting a late-season west swell to hit the North Shore. Yeah!

Problem was my neck still ached. Massage didn't work. Painkillers only provided temporary relief. Interestingly, the neck pain moved ever so slightly from the right side of the spine to the left. But it was still there. Something had to be done.

Besides drugs (Motrin), the only thing I could think of doing was to try and work it out by stretching. So I did my head-to-toe stretching routine that I've compiled from participation in various athletic endeavors through the years. I spent a solid 45 minutes slowly working my whole body, just desperate to make my next day's session more tolerable.

And you know what? It worked! The next morning I was still a bit stiff, but I was much more mobile than I'd felt in weeks. I was ready for some water time!

After checking my email and the weather websites, I drove out to Pipe. The surf was pristine, with super glassy conditions and a small west swell popping. I'm so used to being the first one out that I was surprised that people were already in the water at 5:45 (also forgot that the sun rises way earlier now). By the time I made it out, there were already a half-dozen surfers jockeying in the tight lineup.

The west swell allowed for some wide-open lefts at Pipeline, with nice open faces that I took advantage of. What I failed to notice was that the swell was draining Backdoor, making for some spitting barrels on the rights. Which brought me into a slight conflict.

I was sitting deep looking at the lefts, with a surfer on my "shoulder." Since he was looking left also, I figured he was shoulder-hopping, so I called him off and got a neat little ride.

Upon paddling back out, I was berated by this very same surfer, saying that I blew a perfect right. I generously apologized, honestly admitting that I wasn't even looking to go right. He came right back saying that I should sit to the east so I don't interfere with his groove.

Man, I got pissed. I think I told him not to tell me where to sit. It was awkward because I was a minority in the mostly shortboard lineup, but it was frustrating, you know?

Fortunately (or unfortunately), all our bickering became moot with a heavy influx of morning crowd. Despite the surf being perfect, the crowd made the lineup unbearable. After an hour and a half, I bailed.

Gave Buddy a buzz on the cell to find out his status. He was already enroute, so I waited for him to catch up. We then checked out V-land and found it nice and fairly uncrowded. Out there!

It was really weird walking to the beach. The old apartment complex that fronted the area has been reduced to rubble, with the whole park area cordoned off. Of course, we always have right of way access to the beach in Hawaii, so no big deal. The vibe of the place has just changed a lot.

As we were paddling out, I was absolutely blown away by this little girl who was ripping. She must've been about eight, but was mature in her waveriding well beyond her calendar years. She did this stall in the hook, released, then completed a full roundhouse cutback right in front of us. Wow!

The crew out there was your typical mix of riders who frequent the spot. Local boys, local haoles (no offense intended), Japanese bodyboarding girls and mini-groms (including the ripper "chicklets").

Early on, I decided to take it easy on the riding out there, and not being so aggressive. I had already gotten a bit of intensity (good and bad) during the earlier Pipe session, so I just wanted to cruise on this one.

Buddy, exiting after a sweet tube

Buddy was on his game, catching some really nice rides. I was fortunate enough to be on the inside when he snagged a deep tube on the outside, coming out cleanly. We made eye contact in the middle and he proceeded to do a cutback right in my face (again!). Cool!

I got a few here and there but nothing worth mentioning. It was just nice being out in the water, enjoying the sights. After all the pain I went through during the week, it was just nice being out at all.

Had to leave early again, so I said my sayonara to Buddy. Caught a long one inside and trucked it back to the car.

As I got to Kam Highway, I was surprised to hear someone calling my name. The surfer introduced himself as Clyde and he said that he enjoyed reading my website (read it for three years). I was really stoked and appreciative that he recognized me and that he took the time to say howzit. It always is a bit awkward for me--I forget that I do provide a window into my life. However, I'm always stoked to hear what people have to say about my writing and photography, whether it be accolades or constructive criticism.

It was a good session, not just for the fun waves ridden and the people I interacted with, but mostly just for getting beyond my neck pain and just getting out. It's amazing what a good stretch can do for your life.

Aloha from Paradise,

A headless bodyboarder launches at Pipe

The lefts had wide open walls

The little girl, laying down a fan at V-land

Buddy, carving after exiting the tube

A new vibe

Aloha from Paradise,