Thursday, July 13, 2006

Kauai + full moon surfing

For Rowena (see comment to the post below this). Here's a few pics of a trip in Kauai in May 05. Let's start with a spectacular sunset in Hanalei.

Let's continue with one of the views that the marvellous hike on the Napali coast can offer.

And let's end with a handsome chap in front a water fall. Rowena, I bet you never saw that water fall. It's in a private property (and that sucks... specially if you're not the owner), and we had it all for ourself...
BTW, the naked version of the same photos is available for... make an offer.

Not done yet. I got something to tell ya.
Tuesday night, I went surfing standing up on the 12.6 with the full moon. I called a few friends, but it's not easy to find somebody available for those kind of things, even in Hawaii. People (who work!) go to sleep early and most of the people I know are also a bit scared by being in the ocean at night (no blame for that). But I just had to do it. I surfed somewhere on the south shore in the afternoon and I hung out happily alone in Lahaina till it was time. I ate a slice of pizza at Gaby's pizzeria, took a walk on the beach, sat on the breakwall to check the waves, waited for the moon to pop up out of the thin layer of clouds pushed by the trade winds off the cliffs of West Maui mountain. When the moon rose, around 10.30, I got to my car. There were a few kids hanging out in the parking and I amused them waxing my board, getting ready to go surf.
I had surfed with the fool moon already a few times, but it was the first time standing up with the paddle. I was the first one to go out, and for 45 minutes I was completely alone. When you stand up on a 12 footer, you are completely out of the water and that helped me to stay calm. Fear was not what I was feeling. Rather bliss, I'd say...
The surface of the ocean was so smooth and glassy that I could see the rocks on the bottom. Positioning for the wave was a bit tricky. Not many reference points in the darkness. So I went on what I thought it was the break, and waited not long before I saw a black line coming. That's what the waves look like at night, even with the full moon.
Am I in the right spot? Oh, well... I guess I'll find out... I was. Here's how that first wave was: magic.
I need to get a little technical now, but it's important. Stick with me, don't lose it!
The first time I surfed at night was at Hookipa, on the north shore. I was catching the lefts, because I like them better. Going left at Hookipa means going east, towards the rising moon. So I could see the light of the moon reflected on the face of the wave in front of me. A vision that I will never forget. A moment in which I hoped I had one of those helmets that record feelings in the movie Strange Days. I didn't have that helmet, but that vision is still quite firmly planted in my brain. It sucks that I can't share it with you guys! These words are my best try, but they are far away from rendering that undescribable emotion.
Going left at the breakwall in Lahaina, instead, means going west. So the face of the wave was completely dark. It looked like a snake moving under a sheet of black silk... and I was riding it.
I just had to go by the feel, since the vision wasn't helping that much. And that enhanced the whole body experience, since the brain had one less information to compute.
Well, since I can't really see the wave, so why not turn my head back to check the moon? So I did and not only I saw a huge shining circle in the sky, but I also was amazed by the glowing of the white water of the wave breaking behind me. It was like an avalanche of phosphorescent snow rolling down the flat surface of the ocean...
It was unreal.
I caught 11 waves just like that. Then two surfers showed up. They were a bit loud (they probably had a few beers) and that broke the magic atmosphere. Plus, they were sitting on the inside and I couldn't see them. I didn't want to catch a wave with the risk of running them over, so I decided to leave... I had enough already.
Wait a moment. Shark pit (another break) is just 300 yards away. 5 minutes paddling? I'm not in hurry. And there I was. Paddling in the ocean, standing on a surfboard in the middle of the night, going to surf Shark pit, because Breakwall got too crowded... I just love when I do shit like that!
Guess why I didn't surf at Shark pit? 'Cause I couldn't find it!
Mmmm... is that it? No wait, maybe it's there... oh, forget it! Without the light of the harbor as a reference there was no way I could find it. As the moon went behind a cloud, I paddled back.
I was in bed by 12.30 and even though I was really tired I had a big smile on my face. Must be the same smile I have now, just remembering that night. That's one of the reasons because I like to write.

Can you tell?


Lim said...


cammar said...

Thanks Lim (now that I know that your first name is Jo, all of the sudden I like to call you Lim...)!

Got to add a self-comment.
While I was writing, I was thinking of how to describe such a thing like that wave, when the image of a snake moving under a sheet of black silk suddenly popped up in my brain.
I really think it's a brilliant description, the best analogy I did in my "blogger" carrier. But to really appreciate how cool and appropriate it is, you got to have seen the real thing...
I just want to state that I'm pretty stoked about what I wrote.
Anybody who have surfed at night, catching waves going in the opposite direction of the moon (that's what the snake is), please post a comment and let me know... or, even better, come up with another description, if you have one.
But I guess there's not many people who did that...

mater70 said...

Can't post a description of a night-time wave as we don't get many in Leeds but did feel as though I was with you (metaphorically) when you were surfing. Congratulations, your written English is possibly better than your spoken (if that's possible)
Take care of the knee.
Mater70 x

cammar said...

Mater70, thanks a lot.
Yes, just use your imagination and you'll surfing with me. My pleasure.

Ulli said...

Yeah Brah!

Only a surfer knows the feeling.

Alessandro Brunialti said...

Ciao Cammar,
scusa ma non ho trovato una tua mail, ora, io come te sogno un casino, e come te porto a segno molti dei miei sogni (sono stato a vivere alle canarie e molti altri posti) ora sono in italia, e la redbull mi da la possibilità di realizzarne un'altro, su, nelle sezione Great Britain se mi votate (Alessandro Brunialti) io continuo a sognare!
grazie a tutti e seguite sempre onde e vento :))))