HI Surf Advisory


West Side Story, The Sequel, December 29, 1995

Big waves coming again. This time it was supposed to be the biggest of the winter--so far. The buoys were bouncing at seventeen feet, twenty seconds!

That point break that I've been going to would be too big, so I checked out Tracks in the early dawn. It was only two feet and crumbly. Ahhhhh, chance 'um. I headed more west to that longboard-eating surf spot.

It was well before sunrise and people were already checking out the action. I pulled up next to three parked vans.

The size was there--maybe five feet--but conditions were pretty lousy. It started drizzling. A few moments later, all three vehicles left, one heading more west, the others going back east. I'm left there, in the dark, in the rain, under a blinking arc-sodium streetlight.

To me, it's (almost) always good enough to surf, so I ventured out. This time I'm using my bodyboard--at least the waves couldn't snap that.

As I neared the lineup, I noticed a form coming through the whitewater. It's was bodysurfer! This was the same guy that was charging these huge barrels last week.

We made some small talk, and we eventually introduced ourselves. He knew I was the sponge! Come to find out, he's dfrick. We had corresponded a few months ago, and he's read some of my posts. It was a trip meeting someone from cyberspace.

I was paddling back out after testing myself on a small one, when I felt this sharp pain across my left forearm. For an instant, I thought the worst, but when I pulled up my hand was still there. I had been stung by a Portuguese Man-O-War. Those overnight south winds must've blown them in. Was this surf spot trying to tell me something again?

Had one memorable ride. Took off between the point and the peak (my bodysurfing friend was caught behind the peak, so I jumped on it) and just flew across the face. Didn't break trim once. Made two sections before I pulled out and yelled in elation.

There are moments in surfing that are not directly related to the ride, but are still exhilirating nonetheless. I experienced a couple of them that day.

The first was just paddling over a wave--not just any wave, but scratching over a set. When you consciously have to take four or five strokes while paddling up the face, you know it's a beast. Pure adrenaline rush.

The other moment was getting closed out while riding, and waiting for the whitewater to catch up. There is that weightless moment when your forward momentum stalls and the wave gains ground on you--it's a feeling of pure helplessness. I got doughnuts on one wave--it just bowled me over from behind.

Went in a little early--didn't want to risk it again. How does that saying go? Discretion is the better part of valor?

I later found out that they tried to run the Quiksilver that day at Waimea, but had to cancel due to diminishing surf. Hope they run it by the end of the century--and I'm not trying to be facetious.

It's New Year's! I'm going to pop some firecrackers to bring good luck to my family for 1996. Have a good one.

Aloha from Paradise,

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