The North Shore was coming down from a fifteen foot swell on Thurdsday. The storm front which brought some rain and wind was all but gone. Conditions were looking to be excellent for the weekend.
Pulled up to the beach at 6:10 in the morning on Saturday--much too early. The wind was dead calm, with a half moon illuminating the clear sky. The waves looked to be about four feet, but couldn't tell for sure. As the waves peeled, I could see a smooth shimmering line along the face- -total glass.
Walking on the sand, I had a rude awakening. The clear night seemed to have left a frost on the sand which curled my toes and sent a chill up my spine. Jumping to the water's edge, I was received by the warm, almost hot ocean water. It beckoned.
Sunrise was a full hour away, and it was a little too big to risk going in early, so I sat on the beach. A surfer sat next to me on the beach, not fifteen feet away. Not a word was said between us; we just enjoyed the moment of solitude--relaxing, anticipating, psyching.
At about 6:40, a bodyboarder joined us and promptly jumped in the water. Finishing my pre-surf routine, I jumped in right after him.
Once out in the lineup, I introduced myself. His name was Nick from South Africa, in town for the Morey International contest. It's amazing how a common bond (being both bodyboarders) can bring people of such diverse backgrounds together. He said he went down in his first round (which was held in 8-10 foot Pipe). No shame, brah.
My first wave was by far the best of my session. Took off at Backdoor on a four footer (at the peak, anyway), and just rode forever. I rode way ahead of the barrel, but still was stoked to get such a good wave so early on.
As the dawn's light slowly appeared, I noticed that conditions were indeed perfect. There was a really light offshore breeze grooming the peaks. Both Pipeline and Backdoor were working at about three-to-six feet. Some waves were bowling sooo nicely--I get weak just thinking about them.
The only problem was ... the crowd. It got crowded real fast. Not just crowded, but intense. People were hooting each other off, dropping in, the works. At one point, I counted 50 people in the Pipe/Backdoor lineup. It was messy.
Have you ever had one of those sessions where you just couldn't catch waves? Well Saturday was the day for me. There are times when you are totally in rhythm with the ocean; times when, every time you paddle out, there's an empty wave waiting for you.
Then there are times when you are never in the right place--there's always someone else in position. That was me! Totally out of synch. The crowd was partly the reason, but I think it was more my fault.
I used to feel like this a lot when I used to compete in the amateur contests. Deja vu! Only thing was, the conditions were postcard perfect. Talk about frustration.
Anyway, after a few hours, I decided to come in. I was fortunate to catch Mike Stewart, who had just won the Morey event (for the tenth time), cruising at the beach park. Look for that interview in a week or so on my home page, under Views.
It's all about timing--sometimes you're on it, and sometimes you're not.
Aloha from Paradise,