Lastly (actually firstly, since the posts are in LIFO order), here are the today's conditions at Launiupoko. I surfed there standing up on the 12.6 till a strong onshore breeze picked up.
You can tell he has no leash and is committed not to swim.
How about this shot? Look at the light in the waves!
I know, I know, the photo is too blu. It's the action shot setting that does that. Tough to fix, I'm afraid. I'll need to do some testing...
On the way home I stopped at another spot. It was light offshore and the ocean surface was incredibly smooth. On a break on the far left, where it usually closes out, the waves were peeling in a perfect way. Despite the tiredness, I hopped on the 12.6 again and paddled towards that perfection. I caught a few chest high beauties in absolute loneliness and then two things happened:
1) I was joined by a few other surfers that must have seen me (and that's no problem),
2) my paddle broke (and that's problem).
It was too good to leave. I dropped the broken paddle on the rocky beach in front of the break (getting it back at the end of the session required some tight timing manoeuvres) and paddled back out. This time laying down on my belly.
Believe it or not, it was better. Yes, the paddle gives you more mobility and it's easier to catch waves, but without the paddle I could grab the rail with the front hand and stick my back one in the face of the wave to slow down the board and wait for the lip to cover me before the close out. I got covered up a little. Not even close to a barrel, though. My first barrel is still out there. Every day, one day closer. Oh, that is going to be a post you guys don't want to miss!!!