Sorry so late! Had too much Christmas shopping to do. Hope you like.
Paddling Over (Sorry about the color--the film was old)
The North Shore was expecting a big swell on Saturday (12/23/95), so I once again headed west.
When I arrived at the point break, I couldn't tell just how big it was. One thing was for sure--conditions were primo.
There was a small crowd of people watching the waves, seemingly waiting for someone to take the first plunge. I was hesitant because of some deep feelings I harbored--that this place was steeped in Hawaiian lore. It seemed that paddling out first would bring bad luck upon me.
Well, my precious water time was dwindling away, so I decided to go for it. Jumping in a full twenty minutes before sunrise, I slowly made my way out to the lineup through choppy waters.
Halfway out, I was startled by a huge object which surfaced not six feet away. It was a four foot green sea turtle, and he seemed as scared as I was as he quickly dove back under. Shades of Jaws! Took a short break to gather myself, then started up again.
As I was paddling, I saw the sets just rolling in. The overhead waves just peeled endlessly with glassy faces and no one on them. It reminded me of The Search video series, but it was right here in front of me. I was about to score!
Caught about three waves, well overhead, before anyone else caught a wave. It was awesome! On one wave, I had to raise my hands in a mock pose--domination of the curl sort of thing.
Soon after that, it happened. I was paddling back out at where I thought was the edge of the channel, when a huge set shifted over and caught me inside. Because of my inexperience in duck diving a 9' 0", I bailed right in front of the breaking double overhead wave.
Fortunately, there was no one behind me, and my leash held. But wave number two came soon after, and bore down right on top of me.
I felt the board towing me underwater, then all of a sudden, snap! No pressure. I surfaced with just a leash strapped to my leg. Well, at least the board didn't break (or so I thought).
It took me a long time to paddle in. Since I bodyboard most of the time, swimming without fins made me feel like a cripple.
I was halfway in when I found it. Floating in the rip was six feet of my longboard. Damn!!! Bad karma, or what?!?
When I got in, I managed a few words with Rusty. He saw the set that swung wide, and gestured that it broke waaaay over to the east of the main peak. I didn't stand a chance.
I looked all over for the other part of the board, but it must've been swept out to sea. It was a small price to pay for my insolence.
I hung around for a while, and saw the swell rise to maybe fifteen feet. It was pretty inspiring watching the regulars charging from the point. Maybe it was nature's way of telling me that I had no business out there--maybe it was a blessing in disguise.
P.S. On that day, Donny Solomon of California was killed while surfing Waimea Bay.
Aloha from Paradise,
Scratching Over the Top