Choked -- 12/31/03

Pipe is almost always juicy

Date: December 31, 2003
Time: 0630 -- 0900
Spot(s): Pipeline/Backdoor
Conditions: Mostly glassy; ultra-crowded Pipe lineup
Swell: New NW was trying hard
Surf: Inconsistent 3-4'+ Haw'n

Words: Got the pass to head out on the dawn of New Year's Eve. Buoys were showing a new 9-foot swell at the buoys, with some inconsistent 10-14 second periods. It would be interesting to see if the swell would materialize. Conditions were wet (duh!),with a front hovering over the island dropping rain intermittently.

In the darkness the beach park showed that the swell wasn't happening. Although it was drizzly, winds were light making for pristine, albeit overcast conditions.

By 7:30 there were 40 heads bobbing in the lineup, choke bodyboarders prepping for the world championship in a week. Lester, Hardy, Barcello, and others were out, riding with absolute precision.

Caught some pretty fun ones on my bodyboard before the crowd came out. Pulled in more than normal (I'm a puss), but just could not make it out. I was taking off a little bit too deep, but should have been able to have made a few. I'm just not hitting trim quick enough and am bogging at the bottom. Just never had that tube savvy.

On one wave, I thought I had it, getting in early and gaining a quick trim. However, I think I took the bottom turn too sharply and ended up getting way behind the lip. Tried battling through, but to no avail. Next thing I know, the leash wrapped around my neck and jerked tight as the whitewater caught the board. I tensed up my neck, but could not relieve the chokehold until the whitewater abated. First time ever in my 27 years of bodyboarding--must be because of the new forearm leash I was using. Whew!

The rest of the session was a lesson in futility as I could not jockey and catch a wave in the competitive lineup.

Trying to catch a small one in, I ended up right in front of Mike Stewart. Whipped out the camera and got a shot of him just before the wave nailed me. Lost my camera in the tumble. While searching for it, I made the cardinal sin of turning my back to the waves. Got slammed by a set--I could hear my neck cracking. Stupid. Found my camera further in and limped to shore.

Oh well, at least I got wet before the end of the year.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year)