The forecast for Saturday was eight-to-ten feet on the North Shore. Way to big for me!
I've really enjoyed going to the west side to surf, but I wanted to get back to the Country--especially since the Morey Bodyboard International was on and a lot of people would be there. So I decided to push back my surf day to Sunday, and let the surf dwindle down some.
Pulled up early in the morning to an empty Ehukai parking lot. Under a full moon was some decent size waves, with a firm easterly wind blowing in a light drizzle. Because of the contest going on, I knew I'd better get the waves when I could.
While stretching on the sand, I was joined by fellow bodyboarders Nelz Vellocido and Brian Wise. We all jumped in a half hour before sunrise.
The waves were not your vision of perfect Pipe. There was a definite northerly push (bad) with the winds creating a lot of small chop (bad-bad). But the waves were wedging nicely, with some bowling sections (good).
After a small wave just to get the feel, I went for a nicely walled up one. Hesitation earned me a trip over the falls. I really hate that weightless feeling while being thrown for the rinse cycle. Fortunately, I surfaced quickly and unscathed.
The next wave was my restitution. It was the kind of wave where the wall starts hooking towards shore, and your vision is framed by a teardrop border. All I did was pull in and get spat out (a little). Made my day.
After that, I got starved for waves. Because of the contest, all the internationals were out practicing for the event. It's really intimidating when your jockeying for waves with three world champs (Tamega, Eppo and Stewart).
Stewie was giving a clinic to everyone with his impeccable positioning and maneuvers. The other standout was Matt Walbrou, the French expatriate from Tahiti, who was pulling into some cherry pits.
However, the most interesting thing that happened out there was Kainoa having a "conversation" with a surfer who dropped in on him.
Among the fray of the thirty "some-odd" spongers, I managed to catch only one set wave. A peak swung north, where I was sitting all alone. I heard a distant voice (Jay Reale) yelling, "Go, Neal!" Had to go, no matter what--I was called out. Bounced down the face and held on for dear life. The foamball caught up to me and pushed me into the channel.
They ran the second day of the contest in four-to-six foot surf. Conditions cleaned up quite a bit later in the morning. It seems that the bodyboarding competition is very tight nowadays, with the rest of the world finally starting to catch up to Mike Stewart's level of performance. IMHO, he's still the man.
I did three interviews on the beach with: Ivan Okuda (my buddy), Tom Morey (inventor of the bodyboard) and Fred Simpson (Wedge bodysurfer and owner/designer of Viper Fins). Look for the interviews real soon on my surfing page under VIEWS.
There's a big swell coming Wednesday night--maybe twenty feet. The Morey will probably finish up sometime during the decline; probably Friday or Saturday. It should be awesome.
Aloha from Paradise,