Purple Haze -- 10/2/96
My coming weekend session looked like a no-go because of familial responsibilities. I decided to catch the last remnants of the swell that awakened the North Shore so nicely the past week.

Zoomed out to Ehukai right after work. Driving past Wahiawa, my first glimpse of the swell told me that it shifted northerly, with Mokuleias taking it straight on.

The past few days saw classic variable conditions: calm and glassy in the morning, convective onshore breezes during most of the day, followed by evening glass. The variables caused a curious haze everywhere, attributed to vog (volcanic fog) from Kilauea on the Big Island. It seemed to blur faraway objects--made you want to squint to refocus your eyes.

BTW, the fields running down to Haleiwa will not be growing any more sugar cane. Waialua Sugar Mill, the last operational site on Oahu, has closed its doors forever. Now, more than ever, Hawaii will be dependent on the almighty tourist dollar. (Pineapples are still hanging tough, though.)

After a couple great days out, this day looked like crap. It was about head-high, with crumbly sections from the onshores. The North Shore is one of the few places in the world where head-high surf is actually small. I guess everything is relative.

It would have been a perfect day for me to practice on my funboard, but coming straight from work, my sponge was the most convenient vehicle.

Caught some fun ones at tiny Backdoor. I got into the groove where I caught one wave on each of the sets that rolled through. No barrels--just point-break type rides to the inside shallows.

One thing about riding small Backdoor to the inside, you have to really be careful about paddling out. On many occasions, I've scraped my knuckles on the reef during the duck-dive, and this day was no exception.

So what does the title "Purple Haze" mean? Well, as I was pondering the session, the first word that came to mind was "hazy." Then on Saturday, the surf jumped with a surprise massive swell that peaked at 18 feet. I, of course, could only drool at the surf reports as I was committed for the weekend. It probably was junk anyway, with a lousy swell direction and onshores during the day. (Can you spell "sour grapes?")

The winter's still very young. Patience is a virtue.

Aloha from Paradise,

<-- Back to Swell Page