Woke up before the alarm for my first South Shore dawn patrol of the year (Saturday, 5/11/96). Now that summer's here, I wanted to make the most of the available light while mommy and baby were still asleep. Fed the little one and darted out the door in no time flat.
Made it to Ala Moana Beach Park parking lot by 5:30, and was greeted by the early morning joggers and overnight patrons. The wind was dead calm, with a little bit of whitewater action on the reef.
The surf reports said that a small swell kicked in late Thursday, with waves occasionally reaching four feet. The tradition of a Mother's Day south swell continues. However, that swell was already all but gone.
Paddled out from Magic Island all the way to Courts where a few surfers were already enjoying the glassy one-to-two foot waves. I had some heavy anticipation because I was on my brand- spanking new bodyboard.
This one was a custom-made Custom X with a squared-off tail. It had good flotation, was easy to paddle and was real loose (reminescent of the old twin-fin surfboards). It'll make a great summer board. But enough sponsor promotion for now.
Anybody who surfs Town knows that Courts is a predominately longboarding spot. I've never been one to be shy about paddling into a lineup (except at certain spots on the North Shore), but being on a bodyboard put me at a distinct paddling disadvantage.
Whenever you get a mix of wave riders, there's always a bit of class stratification. The bodyboarders tend to group and interact together, and the shortboarders and longboarders do the same. Since I do a little of everything on occasion, I'm acutely aware of the way people treat you depending on what you ride.
Unfortunately, bodyboarders are traditionally on the lower end of the food chain. Even some of my friends who surf treat me a little differently if I'm sponging--they have to to retain their presence in the microcosm we call the lineup. Sometimes friends acknowledge me only with a casual bat of the eyebrow, but that's cool; that's life.
So it was with great surprise, that a longboarding acquaintance of mine paddled right up to me on the outside and shook my hand. We are not the closest of friends, but I often see him cruising the lineup at Courts.
Sammy (not his real name) is an exceptional longboarder who has gained much respect in the Town. Though graying at the temples, he's still as fit as a gymnast and can outsurf anyone on a given day. Sammy's got Courts so wired, it seems he can smell the waves coming.
As far as stature, he would be one step down from an OG (see Surfer Magazine, June 96, p. 44). He used to totally control the lineup, and got any wave he wanted. Now he has been relegated to elder statesman. To this day, even the loud, 300 pound local bruddahs talk to him with quiet respect.
We made the typical small talk about the swell, shapers and contests. He was quietly proud of his son who just went on a surf trip to Indo.
As a small set approached, Sammy gestured to me and called it out for me. "Going Neal." I scored a nice long right that connected all the way inside. Thanks, Sammy!
It's refreshing to know that there are still people in this world who can look beyond the board and see people as wave riders, and not a particular type of board rider.
Mucked around a little while more before the lineup got super crowded. I decided to move over to America's, and caught some fun ones over there. Finished up my session with some waist- high thrillers near some exposed coral heads at Over the Reefs.
Not the best waves, but a truly positive sesh. Hope the south picks up again next weekend.
Aloha from Paradise,