Just Like Old Times -- 6/21/97

File Photo of Lysols

Throughout the week, I contemplated attending my 15th year high school reunion on Kauai, mainly because it would give me a chance to check out my old breaks. However, after not being able to get discount interisland tickets, I decided to shine it.

On Friday, I got a call from my lawyer/friend/classmate, Richard. In college, he coaxed me into going to a football game, and we ended up having a blast doing the wave all by ourselves, etc, until security pulled us out for drinking with bottles. Anyway, his oratorical skills overwhelmed me again, and he convinced me to go to the casual class get-together that night--the free airline tickets he gave me were the clincher.

With full blessing from my wifey, I scurried home, packed my gear and bodyboard, and barely made the flight on standby.

My folks were happy to see me. Although they visit us on Oahu often, I hadnít come back home in nearly a year. No excuses. We decided to drop by the local O-Bon Dance first (a traditional Japanese festival to celebrate the dead--nowadays more like a carnival/bazaar). Met a lot of my old schoolteachers and family friends there. (That Cheers song rang in my head!)

But time was flying, so I bailed and went to a store to pick up some pupus (local hors díoeuvres): raw squid, fish, seaweed... all that good stuff! I met Richard at my house, and we hustled over to the casual reunion.

It was really nice seeing some old friends, embarrassing forgetting the names of others, and downright ugly not even remembering a few of them. We had a small, tight class despite the diverse ethnic blend (Japs, Flips, Portagees and Richard, the token haole). But all in all, we had a blast. I never swore into peopleís faces so much before (all in fun, of course). Most people looked a bit older (not wiser, though :-) ), but they havenít changed much. We partied on till the clock struck 12.

The next morning, I had planned to meet my classmate Roy for a surf. Because he had some work to do later that morning, we decided to go to a spot near to our homes. So we planned to dawn it at Lysols (fictitious name).

I was zombied out when the alarm rang. Found my dad wide-awake with some grinds (food) and coffee all ready to go. Good old dad!

Got there at 5:30 to find an empty Lysols working pretty good. Because of its geographic layout, Lysols has an extremely tight swell window and is a rare wave. Fortunately, the trades were blowing strong throughout the week, providing for some epic days before my arrival. It was still decent, so we were on it! Roy, his friend Charles and I all charged into the lineup on our sponges.

The lineup was a little tricky. Inconsistent sets were coming in about shoulder-high plus, with a subtle sidewash action. The sets would come in through a narrow pass, then rear up on a reef shelf. Only the rights were any good, with a decent ride through some warpy sections. The water had a dirty greenish quality to it because of river runoff, coupled with the high level of boat traffic nearby.

I used to go there on and off to surf when I was growing up on Kauai. One time after a session in the mid-eighties, I found a sign on shore saying, "Beach closed due to sewage spill." Yuck! Just last year, I heard that they had a huge fuel spill, again closing off the area for surfing and fishing. You would think that we would take better care of our resources.

Anyway, Roy was doing pretty good despite his highly impaired vision. I know he was stoked because you could hear him hoot after especially good rides. Charles was charging too. Originally from North Carolina, he took up the sport four years ago and hasnít looked back. He caught the wave of the session, a sick wedge that heaved nicely--I was intensely jealous.

I did ok, catching a lot of waves. Did three rolls on one wave and got a couple tubes on others. For the most part, I was lining up too deep and getting closed out on tube sections. I kept looking for the second wave of the set, because they seemed to be the best with a low trough and lots of ocean behind it. Ended up waiting in vain for a wave like Charlesí.

As the sun cleared the overcast skies, we caught a great view of a line of palm trees lit up in front of dark, rugged mountains. This was early morning art exclusively for the lucky few who were there.

A few surfers eventually joined us, but the lineup stayed fairly casual. Intense competition for waves is still uncommon here. Weathered through several lulls and rain squalls before calling it quits five hours later. "Burnt out to da max!"

When I got home from the beach, I got a call from Roy who was pissed off. He had heard that 6,000 gallons of raw sewage was dumped there a couple days ago (again!), and we were right in the midst of it. Roy went so far as calling the county health department and the local radio station to get more info and complain.

Although I was angry, I wasnít surprised. I guess some things never change.

Aloha from Lysols (needing some major disinfectant),