Participant -- 12/15/04

Would you rather watch or participate?

Date: December 15, 2004
Time: 0830 -- 1130
Spot(s): Somewhere out west
Conditions: Variables to southerlies (side-onshore), just a few of us guys
Swell: Eddie day northwest swell
Surf: 3-5+' Haw'n and super fun

Words: Everybody was waiting for Big Wednesday, when a huge swell rivaling January 28, 1998 (stuff/almosted.htm) was to hit the islands. George Downing pretty much called the Eddie on the day before.

Originally I was planning on heading out to watch the event. That is, until Buddy called asking if I wanted to surf with him and Makani out west. Watch the big contest, or go surfing? I quickly decided to shine the crowd and be a participant rather than a spectator.

Got on the road ahead of the boys and drove to Makaha. Surf along the coast was surprisingly small given the size of the surf in the Country (20-30 ft Haw'n at the time). Makaha was about triple-overhead, but was more about the takeoff and racing for the channel. We admittedly were not chasing the biggest waves--we were looking for more performance-type waves.

We all converged on this rare wave that we catch maybe once a season (if that), a place I call Stinky's. It wasn't cresting on the outer reefs, so we knew it wasn't all that big. However, conditions were nice and the lineup was empty. We were on it!

I actually had a pretty awesome session. Expecting much bigger surf, I only brought my bodyboard to ride. But I took the opportunity to put it through its paces, seeing what I could do with it.

The board is a new Custom X Vice board. What is curious about the board is that rather than channels, the board has a single convex outcropping on the bottom, sort of like a reverse channel. No doubt about it, the board "bites" way differently. But could it maneuver?

I was fortunate to score some good waves and made use of the open canvases with some fun maneuvers and tricks. Jury's still out on the board, but it seems to do OK after you get used to it.

Makani and Buddy were ripping as usual. Makani used his 7'0", but was maneuvering like it was his shortboard. Buddy was carving it up to, and probably caught one of the biggest waves of the day. Liam was there also, catching some good ones too (although I don't have photographic proof).

Later, some locals came out and shared the lineup with us. Thought it was going to get awkward, but everything was cool. I even shared a wave with a pretty notorious guy (DO).

Went in as the southerlies started to freshen. The Eddie ended up being pretty awesome, with Bruce Irons taking it. The crowd at Waimea Bay was estimated to be around 20,000. However, on this day I was glad I chose to be a participant rather than a spectator.

Aloha from Paradise,