Sunday, March 31, 2013

On the way to Hookipa



All starts by checking OMaui.

"North and northwest facing shores should start out around chest- to head-high levels this morning but then should rise into the 6-10+ foot range through the day, potentially reaching double-overhead or higher at the best breaks by sunset."

Double Overhead ? Sounds familiar.

Well, it is usually time for me to take my paddleboard and go to Kanaha, but I am in a middle of an epoxy repair, and it is disabled. No Wind, no chance for kiteboarding this week-end. Paia-Town is the spot of choice for when it is too big, anyway, it was time for a statement. Double overhead surf, at sunset. Let s go to Hookipa then. See where we at.

Took my good 'old Vernor fat 6.4. 
Easy choice, I have only one surfboard.

Going down from the mountain, It is raining on the "city".
It has been raining a lot those days. It usually means no wind, or Kona winds (south),
and good surf.


Avoiding Paia, very touristic those winter months. Traffic is bad and there is only one road.
Except for locals. Back country bypass. Hard on our Beetle. 


Gosh, it is raining in Hookipa as well. 
Or is it Wookipa in Hell ?


Rain does not help our trusty little car and create big holes,
making this shortcut quite challenging.

You will pass in front of the Old High school of Maui.
Deserted.

And arrive in front of 'Lanes'. Strong left, 
and only spot allowed to kitesurfers East of Kanaha.
When windy.


"Middle' is crowded. Surprising, the surf is supposed to be big.
And it is raining. I guess it is Saturday and not the Super Bowl week-end.
Maybe one of the few last good swell of the season.
And no wind ;)

A paddleboarder got it easy. 
They are kind of rare at 'Middle' or 'Pavillon'. 
Usually, we haunt 'Lanes' or 'Kanaha'.


Around 8 foot, this one. 
I guess the bigger sets will be as expected, 10 to 12 feet.
At that point, I was not so comfortable.

Good surfers have a blast. 
While the others one are washed away by the sets.
It is surprising how few waves you will catch on a session, when you are not 'That' good.
If any.

At that point, my goal was to get one wave, to not get hurt and do not hurt anybody. I do not like crowds. I guess nobody like a crowded line-up, because it means less space and less waves, but for me, it is more about not obstructing anybody actually surfing a wave, and not throwing my board in the face of somebody struggling to avoid me (almost happened last week on way smaller day).

Last time I tried on those conditions, I did not get one wave, got washed thousand times and roughly spend 2 hours swimming. Once in the line-up, as expected , actually very few surfers were catching waves. If you go for the smaller waves on the inside, you get properly cleaned up when a big set comes, and you are always on the way of the guys actually surfing the 'real' ones. The paddle-out was easy, even considering the size of the waves (This is not Ocean Beach in San Francisco). There is a big Rip current, an elevator to the line-up, placed in front of the only safe entry to the water (Reef is very shallow).

...

Long story short, got one good wave, certainly one of the biggest I ever surfed, missed a couple of scary ones (at least 50 foot waves, if you ask me), got 2 falls during drops on other ones. Did not hurt anybody, and stayed on the outside, waiting for the bigger sets, safely and wisely. Pretty happy of myself.


End of the session. Not raining anymore.
Sun is setting down, Sharks are getting hungry.

I have been surfing for 5 or six years now. 
Am I comfortable in this kind of waves ? Not at all. 
Can I surf them  ? Well, barely. 
In any case, I am closer than ever of the purpose of this blog, and I take this a good step.



By the way, we just saw 'Chasing Maverick'. Very Hollywood, and plenty of good intentions, but the images of the waves themselves, and the surfing action is pretty cool. Man, coming back from my own "Big" waves, I just cannot imagine the insanity needed to ride those actual monster waves.
Way to go.