Snap Twice -- 12/6/03

Would you leave this because of equipment failure?

Date: December 6, 2003
Time: 0615 -- 0800
Spot(s): Laniakea, with visit to Pipeline
Conditions: Somewhat offshore; busy lineups
Swell: Diminishing NNW, rising WNW
Surf: 6-8' and 3-5' Haw'n

Words: Went out at predawn to Laniakea. It was roping. A new westerly swell was folding in, creating some closeout walls and peaks. But every once in a while, an incredible set would tease us with its apparent makeability.

Caught one decent-sized set all the way in. Decided to paddle out to the outside peak and try and snag one of the bigger sets. Mistake.

A larger-than normal set filled the horizon. I was the furthest out, but I knew I was still too far inside. Stroked as smoothly as I could, repeating in my mind that I had enough time. The wave started to feather. I kept calm, hoping to make it outside. The wave started peaking. I kicked and paddled hard, right in the pit. The wave started pitching.

As the lip bore down, I decided to bail my board (in the back of my mind, I remembered my friend Lanson). My body pushed through the wave, my board didn't. It was a firm pull followed by that staccato snap as my leash gave out. F@rk!

I immediately started swimming inside, knowing that there was a good chance the board could get caught in the rip and end up past Himalayas real fast. The subsequent waves were pretty rough, but I was surprised that I negotiated them pretty well. Ducked under the waves that were about to blow up near me, let the other, big whitewater walls roll me inside.

So stoked to find that the board ended up just sitting on the inside--I surmised that the new west was keeping the inside rip from going full throttle. For a moment, I thought about going in, but it felt so wasteful to leave such good waves. No spare leash in the car this time. I decided I could try and pick off some shoulders and salvage some of the session.

Didn't do too well after that since I was playing it a bit tentative. Still, it was really good to be around all the power and watching some of the boys charge. I managed to get a few good (but smaller) ones, including my last one. Caught it way inside on the east peak, and rode it all the way through, catching one full barrel and a veranda towards the inside.

I still had some time to kill and some energy to burn, so I decided to check out Pipe in hopes that some of the ASP competitors would be out practicing for the Pipe Masters. When I got there, I was disappointed to find no pros, and no really good swells. Just wasn't working quite right, probably because of the combination swell coupled with a poor sandbar configuration (too many north swells in a row). To top it off, the sky was overcast and the water had a tinge of runoff brown.

Still, I happily hopped in to practice getting some snaps in marginal conditions. If nothing else, I could get some exercise and work off my holiday gut.

The dual swells were pesky while sitting in the impact zone. And the lack of talent made it a little frustrating. However, there were a few gems that came through, and one local surfer who was killing it. Hope the photos come out.