Hana Hou (One More Time)

9/28/96. I was fortunate to catch it on the rise (9/25/96), but by the weekend, the northwest swell was already on the decline. I cracked it on Saturday anyway.

There were alrealdy six cars in the beach park lot when I got there--usually there are only two: mine and the park custodian's. Running to the beach, I was greeted by a dreamscape. In the darkness, small A-frames were pouring in at Pipeline, outlined by the sparkle of a nearly full moon right above. A surfer's dream.

I grabbed my stuff and jumped into the inky darkness a half-hour before sunrise. By the time I reached the lineup, six others were already following suit--I guess they just needed to see the first lemming take the leap before they blindly followed.

The surf was still decent in the three foot range, with some bigger ones. It was a lot easier to ride than Wednesday--a nice peak prevailed with only a hint of backwash. Winds were variable, maybe a tad offshore, making for some classic glass.

Got the scoops from my friends about the swell. Started rising on Wednesday (my last go out), peaked on Thursday with second reefers and all the A-plus crew in attendance (JBG, Derek, Liam, etc), then got more manageable on Friday (3-5 with some bigger ones). My friends enjoyed Friday the most--probably because it wasn't death or glory conditions.

By 7:30 a.m., there were already 30 people in the lineup. The mood was competitive, but there were smiles all around, with a mostly local crew. Attutudes were pretty good--nothing compared to mid-season North Shore insanity. There were no photogs or videographers to drive the hopefuls to drop in for photo incentives. The guys (and one gal) were out there just for the love of the sport.

Slowly, a funny thing started to happened. The surf seemed to get bigger, coming in with nice peaks out of the west! Totally unexpected.

It was hard for me to sit in my usual spot off to the (west) side because Backdoor was also working. I was forced to watch as these potent peaks shifted past me and into the main lineup, with guys taking off right and getting tubed out of their minds.

Of course, patience is truly a virtue, as some of those peaks failed to swing that far east, putting me in prime position for takeoff. On one engagement, after paddling over a wave, I found myself ten yards deeper than the pack. There were a few hoots by the crowd when they saw the peak, and I had it all to myself. In situations like that, you have to take off, or else risk losing face in the lineup. Sitting in the spotlight for that brief moment made my ego balloon just a bit. I made the wave, and paddled back out with my breast feathers a little more puffed.

Caught quite a few other good waves. Another one that stands out was a clean left, under four feet, that swooped in from the west and opened up wide. I was riding prone (on my bodyboard) propped up in a full arched back pose, when I decided to check out the cascading lip. As I looked skyward, the board's nose suddenly was sucked down by my increasing speed. Fortunately, my left hand was right there to compensate, otherwise I would've "Pearl Jammed" big time. A gentle reminder to never get cocky, otherwise Mother Ocean will spank you silly.

Kept the session short--just over two hours. Stoked again! Hana hou!

Aloha from Paradise,

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