Food Chain -- 8/1/03

Jeff, negotiating the crowd at Canoes

Date: August 1, 2003
Time: 1400--1600
Spot(s): Canoes
Conditions: Light offshores with a big crowd
Swell: Small south with a slight tradewind wrap
Surf: 1-2'+ Haw'n

Words: Had a visitor in town that wanted to get some water time. Who was I to deny him? ;-)

Jeff is an executive from San Diego, high up the food chain in my "corporation." About a year ago, we were going to hook up for a session in California, but due to a schedule change I had to bow out at the last minute. Was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to share some water time with him, and on this visit Jeff generously carved out an afternoon to get wet.

I picked him up and showed him around a bit, pointing out some of the more popular South Shore spots. But our target was the combers at Canoes.

After lucking into a fairly close parking stall (by Waikiki standards), we made our way to the Duke statue and out into the water. Surf was actually quite fun with some nice peelers coming through. However, the crowd was thick, albeit fairly cordial.

It is pretty much understood out at Canoes that most are beginners, so party waves and (unfortunately) collisions are fairly common. And boy did we see a lot of both.

Right off the bat, Jeff scored a couple of long rides on my longboard. Although he said he was just a beginner, Jeff had no problems taking off and riding the waves. The only reason why he was a bit tentative was his concern for endangering people in the cluttered lineup. It can be a bit unnerving with people scattered everywhere and canoes blasting through the crowds. But he fared well--maybe not having to wear a fullsuit helped.

I had a great time too on a borrowed longboard. Tried to milk each ride out as far as I could all the while avoiding the masses.

Unfortunately, the time on my parking meter was about to run out. Jeff said that he was going to catch one in, and scanning the lineup, I figured he had caught one all the way to shore. So I paddled in. But when I got to the beach, I could not find him--I lost Jeff!

Decided to run to the car to at least feed the meter. Left the board inside and ran back to shore. I zigzagged the shoreline looking for him to no avail. Ran back to the car to see if he went there--nada. Ran back to the shore.

Finally, I saw him in the water paddling in and waving to get my attention. Jeff was looking for that one last wave to come in on and decided to catch one of the sets. So he was sitting on the very outside of the lineup, patiently waiting. Think he was out there for the better part of an hour, but his tenacity paid off, snagging a beauty all to himself. I was relieved to find him and stoked that he got a great ride in.

Afterwards, we went to Duke's and had a brewski, enjoying and absorbing the atmosphere. Watching the surfers play, framed with Diamond Head in the background was ridiculously cliche, but it was all there in front of us.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stay long. Jeff had a plane to catch, so we bugged out and I dropped him off.

Epilogue: A couple of days later, I found out that after we left, there was a report of a five-foot shark roaming the lineup. Lifeguards actually went so far as to clear the lineup. Glad we took ourselves out of the food chain when we did.

Aloha from Paradise,