Ever had one of those days where you felt out of it? Saturday (4/6/96) was mine. Surfing is a cyclical sport by nature. Everything happens in waves (no pun intended), and you are either in rhythm, or out of synch.
For the weekend, the forecast was for waves to boost into the ten foot range on Friday night. Perfect! I was nervously looking forward to bodyboarding in some big surf. The swell should arrive by my Saturday dawn patrol.
Well, the buzz of my alarm woke me mid-dream, and I had to actually force myself out of bed. Somewhat deliriously, I got my s#!t together and went outside. I forgot my jacket, so I had to grudgingly go back and get it.
Hitting the beach, I soon realized that the swell was late. It looked like about two-to-three at Pipe/Backdoor, and no one was out. So I make it to the beach and started stretching.
I was about to put my gloves on when I realized that I'd lost one side. So I jogged alllllll the way back and found it right next to my car.
Back on the beach, the glow from the sunrise started to bring on the day. Rather than finish my stretch, I plunged in to catch a few lone waves before anyone else came out.
On my third wave, I took off a little late on a nice left. The wave hollowed out, and I was left in a mid-air bottom turn. Rather than focusing on regaining an edge, I played Wilbur Kookmeyer and went into a flat stall. The wave pitched a beautiful fan over me, just before I got pressed lightly onto the reef.
I did manage to get a few good waves. I caught one righteous right that went from Backdoor, through Aint's, and all the way past Off the Wall into Insanities. The wave just kept going!
Then the crowd really kicked in. At first it was just me and some California boys (fer sure, cause they were all riding Channel Island boards), but we were soon joined by spongers Chad Barba and Mike Stewart. Boy can they rip! Following them came a bunch of Hispanic fellows who were a bit on the aggressive side.
It was time for me to bail. No one was at Off the Wall in the early morning, and for good reason. The sets looked tempting, but there were a lot of closeouts. I decided to paddle over anyway, just to be alone again.
Age has caught up with me No longer do I launch myself into the obvious closeout sections for a few seconds of glorious tube time. What looked like makeable sections from the shoulder turned into heaving dumps. So I paddled back to Backdoor without catching a single wave.
I got a couple more junk ones before finally relenting to the crowd and giving OTW another go.
On my very first wave, I dialed into a beauty. A four footer swung wide past Backdoor and provided the perfect takeoff pad for me. I scooped it up and pulled into a mid-face trim. The wave started pitching, slotting me in the pit. It started opening up, but then the lip threw again ahead of me. After travelling a while longer, I straightened out just before getting shut down. Yeah!!!
After that, it was back to being out of synch. I caught a few more at OTW, but got caught inside several times. My quadriceps were scolding me for not stretching as I went into the prequel of double leg cramps. The winds picked up to steady 10 mpg north flow. What seemed like a surge in swell size soon became a passing fancy, as the swell diminished right before my eyes.
So I paddled in.
No matter how out of synch I was, it takes just one good ride to keep me coming back for more. Maybe next time... There's always another set coming over the horizon.
Aloha from Paradise,