Town & Country -- 10/13/96

Hooked up with Jerry, a work-buddy of mine and dawn-patrolled Diamond Head. The North Shore had dropped to a measly flat to a foot, so there really wasn't much of an option on venues.

Drove up in the dark, and saw a bunch of regulars talking story and waiting for the sunrise. The crew were all in their late-thirties/early-forties, and most rode longboards. Just about every time I surf Diamond Head, I see a few of these guys and gals--probably all weekend warriors like myself. It seems like a lot of Town surfers stick to just one spot.

Winds were kicking big time in the 15-30 mph range, causing strong sideshores at Cliffs. But it also was the reason for the shoulder-high surf. No complaints.

Since it was sloppy, I decided to ride the funboard. Bodyboarding just doesn't cut it in junky conditions. After jonesing for ten days, waiting to surf, the conditions were pretty dismal (especially for early winter Hawaii), but you gotta make the most of it.

Jerry has just been bodyboarding for a year, but he's shown marked improvement with rail control, and even getting a little tube time. It's fun going out with him because of his enthusiasm and stoke.

As for me, I did ok on my surfboard. My memorable moment came on a smallish wave that I caught a little behind the peak. I did a couple of micro-pumps and surprisingly found myself racing to the shoulder. That burst of speed made my session. There's so much subtlety in wave riding that cannot be explained to a nonsurfer--truly, only a surfer knows the feeling.

Bailed after two and a half hours with a decent burn in the shoulders. Monday was a work holiday for us, so (with the blessing of my wife) we decided to dawn it to the Country the next day.

10/14/96. Contacted another work friend--Jimmy--and he decided to tag along. The surf was expected to bump up a tad by lunchtime, but only to three feet. I expected to get skunked, but we made the trek to the North Shore anyway--chance um!

After scanning the coast, Laniakea was the call. The swell was supposed to be from the NNW, so Lanis would probably catch it pretty good. It looked small, but there were some near-head-high peaks, and it was fairly smooth.

As we were preparing to go out, a small, cool rain squall blew thru, making us put on short-johns. This proved to be a bad move. It was just about sunrise when we paddled out to join a half dozen other surfers in the lineup.

Laniakea is an awesome wave that works best on a north swell. Its known for the long rights that usually section at three distinct peaks, but occasionally connects for one loooong ride. There are lefts, but they are short (sometimes intense) and they close out with size.

On this day, the peaks were fairly well-defined, and the left was in good form. Goofy Jimmy started out at the lefts while sponging Jerry and funboarding me went to the first peak in search of rights. Although there were some lulls, the surf seemed to be trying to improve.

While Jimmy was avoiding some intense lips on the lefts, Jerry was scoring nice rides on the second peak. After every ride, Jerry came back with a grin from ear to ear. Even though he's in his late twenties, he's still a stoked grom.

I got some good rides, but was hurting from the previous session. Usually when I'm bodyboarding, I can balance out paddling between my arms and legs, thus getting a full-body workout. When I surf however, my lower body gets neglected from lack of use, and my arms and shoulders get pumped. After two straight days of surfing, I got tired real fast, especially after getting caught inside a couple of times (anyone who surfed Lanis knows).

I did have some fun when I traded off boards with Jimmy. He has a 6' 6" with a standard template. It had about as much float as a toothpick, and was difficult to catch waves with. But once I was on, it was so responsive. I actually spanked the lip and recovered in the whitewater once. (Big Wow)

Towards the end of the session, the sun started to peak out. I felt like a real kook in my 2/2 short john with air temp at about 85 and water about 80. I even got sarcastically hassled by this older-type haole surfer (*not* said in a derogatory manner). I deserved it.

After nearly three hours in the water, the lineup got a bit crowded. There were some older locals who showed up with longboards (probably the overflow from Chuns) and started giving everyone "stink eye." Even Jerry started feeling the vibe. We both thought it was pretty laughable.

By that time we had all caught more than our share, so we made the long paddle in. Managed to make it home by ten. I had aching shoulders, a dull pain in my lower back, and a feeling of pure content.

In Hawaii, we only have two seasons: summer and winter. During the summer, Town becomes the focal point in surfing, characterized by smaller waves. In the winter, the Country comes alive with giant swells rocking the island. It is this coexistence that make up the essence of surfing in Hawaii, and is so aptly captured in the Town and Country Surf Designs name and logo. Surfers who exclusively ride in Town are a totally different animal than their Country counterparts--whole different mindset and playing field. The T&C logo is a Chinese Yin-Yang symbol, representing this relationship of small/big waves. One cannot exist without the another, so they both coexist in harmony.

Whew! Now I'm ready to meditate and recite some mantras.

Aloha from Paradise,

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