Confidence Lost -- 12/29/96

Dawn patrolled it Sunday morning. The sky was totally overcast, with no light to give me an early jump in the water. Conditions were sketchy at Pipe, with dumpy conditions and semi-onshore winds.

Before I knew it, there were dozens of bodyboarders swarming the lineup. All the Internationals were in town for the upcoming Morey bodyboarding contest: Aussies, South Africans, Brazilians, Japanese along with a few locals.

I was on fire in the early morning, catching lots of waves, taking off deep and making it around the section. I felt good.

My best wave was a five footer that went concave on the takeoff. Didn't think I'd make the drop, but it kinda let me in. Immediately set the rail and got pitted nicely. The left on the Backdoor side of Pipe oftentimes pinches rather than opens up, but this one stayed round long enough for me to exit the barrel. Ended up being tossed on the inside by the oncoming section like a little Tickle-Me-Elmo doll on Christmas morn, but it was definitely worth it.

As time went along, the waves seemed to be getting bigger, though conditions stayed pretty marginal. However, despite the weather, I saw that they were setting up some tents on the beach. Apparently, the Hui (Hui o He'e Nalu) was running the Backdoor Shootout contest. No wonder there was a huge gallery near Off-the-Wall.

For some reason, my session soon started going to pieces. Was I trying to show off for the cameras, frustrated by the increasing crowd, or tentative from the rising surf? I don't know. All I do know is that I went totally out of synch.

The defining moment of my session came when a huge (by my standards) set wave reared up at Off-the-Wall rights. I was the only one in position, and was scratching for the horizon. As I looked down the line at the massive wall, I had to instantly weigh the consequences.

Then I pu$$ied out! I could almost feel all the eyes staring with disdain as I paddled over the wave--it was just too intimidating for me. I regretted it the moment I went over the hump.

An Aussie bodyboarder (I think it was Nugget) was paddling out about 20 yards down the line, and he whipped around and caught the tail end. The lineup took a collective breath as the wave folded over into an obvious cavern. Just as it was about to close out, he was spat over the shoulder. Fark!!!

All the confidence I had gained from this winter's sessions was lost in an instant. The rest of the session was a waste of time for me as I unsuccessfully jockeyed for waves, and kooked big time on the small ones I did manage to catch.

Sometimes I'm totally in synch with the surf; other times I'm out of rhythm. It's not often that I hit both extremes on the same session. I only wished I finished up my session on a high note, instead of the other way around. Now I have to pick up the pieces and rebuild my fragile confidence.

Tough way to finish the year. Hope for stoke in '97. Happy New Year and good waves to all!

Trying to regain my composure in Paradise,