Rising Sun -- 7/12/97

Early in the week, my wife told me that I should plan to surf on Saturday morning, so that she and our little one could check out the big Liberty House Zooper Sale. No problem, I told her, grinning from ear to ear.

So on Saturday, I picked up Jerry and Kohei (an acquaintance from Japan) to do some sponging on the east side of the island. Wailupes looked junk, Irmas wasnít showing, and Makapuu was blown and rolling in. So Sandy Beach was the call!

We were wet by 5:30 am, riding all the spots between Half Point and Gas Chambers. Although the surf had its usual morning sickness, there was some decent size. Waves were head-high, with some much bigger ones. The winds that had been plaguing the islands, seemed to have slacked off a bit, helping the conditions.

Koheiís girlfriend Kiko had not joined us because she doesnít care for riding shorebreak. I canít say I blame her, not really caring for it myself. It takes a high level of commitment to push yourself over the edge when you can plainly see only a foot of water in the trough, and no chance of making the wave.

To me, knowing how to wipeout is essential for surviving, and fortunately, Iíve had lots of experience in that department. However, because of my many shorebreak stints, my nasals have been shot to pieces. After especially bad wipeouts, I can sometimes feel sand getting blasted up my passages and peppered onto my eyeballs. The accompanying nasal headache nausea is inevitable.

As the sun sparkled through the clouds at dawn, I pointed out to Kohei the beautiful lightshow on the horizon. He acknowledged it with a quick, reverent bow, hands together in prayer. The Rising Sun...

Jerry rebounded from the rough time at Diamond Head and had a much more satisfying session on his bodyboard. Just about all his rides at Pipe Littles were from outside peak all the way to shore.

Kohei looked very comfortable in the shorebreak, taking off on some really steep ones and pulling in. I brought out the disposable, and shot off a few. I hope some of them come out so that he can take them back to Japan and show everyone how much he really was studying for his exam. :-)

I was going berserk, running all over the place and catching as many waves as I could. Sandy Beach is usually a very competitive spot, but since we started so early, it never really got too crowded until the very end of our sesh.

I had one memorable jockey with this little kid with zinc oxide on his face. He tried to snake me at Pipe Littles, but I took off deeper and further out, carving right around the little punk, forcing him to pull out. The wave caught up with another swell, and I had to motor to get over the second lip. Once there, I pulled into trim, and the energies of both waves arced over me for several seconds before shutting down. Yeah!

It was only a little after 9:00 am and we were already burnt toast. We bailed to Hawaii Kai Zippys for some grinds (food), then hit it back to Town.

On this session, we had a longer chance to talk to Kohei and found out more about his lifestyle. Kohei lives in Kyoto, where there is very little wave action. He and his friends regularly drive to the southern islands of Japan and chase typhoon swells. The drive takes six hours and about $100 in road tolls, each way! Some of his friends have figured that if you donít go enough times, you could save the money and fly to the islands to surf. But of course, you would be ill-prepared when you got there. What a dilemma!

Another thing that Kohei recognizes is the stressful lives that some of his friends lead. Sure, they may be making a lot of money in their jobs, but they have to work from 9 am to 10 pm every day, with very little time off--they canít even spend their money. Kohei realizes that there should be more to life than constant toil. Therefore, he hopes to balance his life, with surfing weighing heavily on the leisure/relaxation side.

Kohei has also done his share of traveling, going to Phil and Indo several times each. <"Envy, envy, envy!"> Heís actually surfed a lot on the north side of Kauai too, my home island. <"Itís a Small World After All!">

Itís great to travel and get immersed in different cultures. But sometimes, you can learn about other people and places right in your own backyard. All you need to start with is a common thread, and you may find that total strangers can become good friends. Surfing can be that thread, if you give it a chance.

"Ii nami, Kohei-san (Nice wave, Kohei)."

Aloha from Paradise,