Respecting Generals -- 11/22/03

It was bigger than it looked

Date: November 22, 2003
Time: 1330 -- 1415
Spot(s): Generals at Sandy Beach
Conditions: Side-offshore bruisers; fairly light crowd
Swell: Diminishing, but still huge NE swell, wrapping on the SE
Surf: 6-8' Haw'n

Words: On Friday, my family went camping on the northeast side of the island. Swell was absolutely huge, but I didn't get a chance to look around for surf. The shoreline was badly damaged with lots of erosion and even road closures along Kam Highway.

Drove around on Saturday to find the eastern shoreline smaller, but still getting pounded. Some very spectacular seascapes were to be seen as monster waves came in with relatively short, 14 second periods.

Sandy Beach was open to experienced riders only and some surfers were scoring some great rides at both Full Point and Generals. It looked fairly manageable from shore, and my wife encouraged me to head out. And so I did.

Although I cruised in the shorebreak (which was relatively small), I had my eye on Generals. Made a quick jaunt out there to test the conditions. It was pretty big, with surfers nervously waiting in an uncertain lineup. Saw my friend Surfer Joe Teipel out, scoring some good ones.

Suddenly, a set came in that looked like I could take off on. I started stroking and kicking for it when it just hefted up and got way steep. Whoah! The wave was over eight feet Hawaiian, and totally sketched me out with its mass and power.

Right then and there, I knew it would be prudent for me to go in. I cautiously worked my way further in and waited for a small one. After an excruciatingly long wait, a left came my way that I bounced down towards Gas Chambers. Made my way inside Cobbles and caught a small, free-fall drop/wipeout into the sand.

I was happy that I went out, no doubt about it. However, there was a realization that it was beyond my meager skills. I gained a much bigger respect for Generals on that day, and lost a little bit of my overconfidence. In hindsight, maybe that was a good thing.

More photos available at East Swell 03.