Long awaited (at least by me) epic winter surf conditions finally hit the Hawaiian islands the last few days.
The NW swell started to really pump on the morning of the 9th, peaked on the 10th and slowly started to subside on the 11th. Three days of glassy beautiful hawaiian surf.
Here's my birthday present from Mother Nature as registered at the Waimea buoy:
Here's a little three days report.
I went to check Kanaha first, it looked a little too small and too much wait in between sets. I decided to surf up the coast instead and got in the water at Lanes.
Lanes is such a difficult wave, specially with a longboard. It jacks up really quick and on low tide is sooo steep. I didn't catch much, but I got worked pretty well and got stuck on the inside a few times. Kanaha would have been so much better for me...
One of the qualities of a good surfer is to pick the spot that fits his ability. I failed on that matter, but Quatro owners Keith Taboul and Lalo Goya didn't, for they both are pretty good surfers.
Lalo:"Hi! How is it out there?"
Me:"Good... if you're good! And it's getting bigger..."
Here he is in a nice bottom turn at The point.
He caught a hell lot of waves (more in the slide below), but the bomb of the day was tamed by Keith. What's that, triple overhead?
This unknown kid instead surfed the shore break at the end of his session. I had the zoom set at the maximum (that'll be 12x optical + 2x digital) and I scored this lucky shot.
In the afternoon, as the buoy clearly shows, the swell picked up a lot and even though there was a light wind on it, this time I scored a nearly epic sesh at Lowers. Maybe because of the frustration of the morning, I was particularly inspired and caught 18 waves in 1.5 hours... each one of them was a deligth.
Wait, I know what it was... after having surfed (or tried to) Lanes, the left at Lowers felt like the easiest wave in the world...
So much fun and four stars for the day!
Thursday 1 10
I don't know where I found the strength, but I paddled out again in the morning at lowers. This time it was glassy till late. I shared a few with Michelle and caught another bunch for another FUNtastic session.
"Meesh, this is already four stars. If I get in the water again later, by definition it's a five stars day..."
Actually I did get in the water again at sunset on the standup (couldn't physically lay down paddle anymore). But the swell was peaking and most sets were closing out. I was out of my comfort zone, didn't want to hurt anyone and left the lineup without having added any fun... and any stars.
Not a problem, since the five star session was delayed of less than 24 hours...
Friday 1 11
Waves in decline, but still some really big sets.
Around 1.30 I stopped at Hookipa and saw two guys standup surfing. One was clearly Dave Kalama.
The other one looked like Laird, but as soon as he caught his first wave, I knew he wasn't him... This is a killer shot though!
The wind was picking up and the first windsurfer (and a few kiters) hit the water.
Later on, more windsurfers went out for what was a really good session (at least for Kevin Pritchard.. that's what he told me). But I had to leave... Lowers was calling.
Lighter wind at Kanaha, perfect for longboard sailing.
Those lefts... oh my god those lefts... glassy perfection.
I'm getting more and more into my 10 SUP sailing longboard. Specially going lefts, upwind, on the back of the sail, goofy stance... you can really try to make the sail neutral in the wind and pump the rail like if you were surfing...
Once on the face of the wave, it becomes 10% windsurfing and 90% surfing... with the difference that you don't have to paddle to catch the wave (which comes handy if you are surfed out after two days of intense surfing and you couldn't paddle anymore even if they pay you!), you can catch a whole lot more waves (sailing out again after a ride is way faster than paddling out) and you can also do a better wave selection (standing up you see them better) and be in the right spot faster (more mobility with the sail).
In other words, longboard wave sailing is a blast!
At one point we were: me, Luke and Carter on longboards, Jeff on his Seal and Glenn on his floaty shortboard... all on Hot Sails! Great to share the stoke with a few friends.
The storm NW of Hawaii in this weather map of Jan 8th evidently generated another large swell that will hit Sunday.
At the same time, the wind will be NNE. Better make sure my tank is full of gas... I can see some driving in my future!