Thursday, January 15, 2009

kona report part one

OMG, between yesterday afternoon (when I left you with my last post) and today I collected so much stuff to post (in terms of sessions, photos, videos and emotions) that I really don't know where to start from. I got stuff for a month! But I better start posting something, since it looks like this second half of January will be just wave stuffed.
'kin awesome!

I'll resist the temptation of following a boring chronological order by delaying the report of yesterday afternoon GP's first time at Lanes with the Kona (!!!) and starting instead from this morning.
I went sailing at Kanaha and used for the first time my new GoPro wide angle. You guys know already how much I digged the regular GoPro. But this one is so much better!
Check this photo I took on a well overhead wave (there's a setting that makes the camera automatically take a photo every 2 (or 5) seconds).


Unfortunately I had a little of condensation inside the waterproof case, so it's a bit blurred on the side, but you can have an idea of the potential of this little toy. Compared the the previous one, it shows the size of the waves in a more faithful way.

In this one I'm heading out (click on the photo and notice how freaking offshore the wind is by judging by my board's direction...) and Manu is on a head higher that is lining up really sweet. Look at the beauty of the West Maui Mountain!


Somebody on a rare mast higher.


I got really excited out there...


75l and 4.2 was my happy choice (perfect in the gusts), but many 4.7s out too. Super offshore and gusty, but overall relatively manageable conditions and a hell lot of fun.
If I would have been actually able to do proper bottom and top turns on a wave when riding port tack, it would have probably been even more fun. Oh well, the only way to learn is to do it...
Would you like to feel something very similar to what I felt on most of these wonderful waves?
Try to brush you teeth with your other hand.

What a beautiful day it was.


Done with that, I went to Lanes and took photos and videos. Here are the very first two clips. No time to edit them, you take them the way they are.
I would strongly recommend to watch them, if you're thinking about trying to sail those conditions.
video

video

Makani has a video on his blog. From it you can see that Robby Swift was charging particularly hard.

OK, now I got left:
1) photos from yesterday
2) videos from this morning
3) photos from this afternoon
4) more videos from this afternoon
Tough life to be a blogger in Maui these days...

Forecast: stronger wind and bigger waves tomorrow. If I will suddenly stop updating this blog, you guys don't cry for me because I died having fun.

PS. Hugh just added a very valuable comment to the boards from the past post, check it out. Hey Hugh, would you mind dropping me an email? I have a question for you. My email is on the top right of this blog. Thanks!

PPS. Michelle just posted an album of photos from today on FB. Can you guys see it even without being friends with her? Just curious.

17 comments:

Jasper said...

Like the video's with your comments! Curious what tomorrow will bring, have fun out there!

cammar said...

Yeah, my very accurate comments:
"oh no, he's on the rocks!"
"oh no problem, he's just fine"
"yeah, he's in the middle of the channel were the current is going to pull him out"... right!
Good think I was on the bluff and not in the water!

Tomorrow, freaking gnarly. Better go to sleep.

George Markopoulos said...

GP, i really enjoyed that video of KP and francisco. We see plenty of the perfect wavesailing stuff all over the internet/blogs, its all over the place. But i particularly enjoyed watching the efforts to get out in the difficult conditions, and the tactics to handle the crisis when on rocks. I think coming from the real world east coast, we can relate much better. I'd love it if you posted more of this type of action, not just the perfect bottom, top turns, etc.

Anonymous said...

lanes vid, pleeaaassseeee!! wonna see only lanes, as much material as u get!

Anonymous said...

Sooooo refreshing!!!! Thank-you for the videos. Having commentary rather than the usual assortment of music is what i always try to find. This is the stuff we never get to see! Its like watching 'deleted scenes' and 'the making of' portions on the DVD of your all time favourite movie. Fascinating. Please keep it up.

Thanks, and aloha,
Mark
Canada

Bill said...

Damn, regarding those rocks! Nice we only have soft sand here in Hatteras to wash up on!

Gotta love light wind inside and big whitewater to work though!

Hey, would it be an easier launch from the beach at the Blue Tile house to ride kona at Lanes?

craigatk said...

Yes I could view Michelle's album although I am not friends. Thanks for posting (and to her too) those were some great shots!

andrew c said...

Awesome pics from the Go-Pro. I love that 3rd one when you are looking back on the mast high wave rider! We have some great wind coming in this weekend in Cayman too - can't wait! Enjoy!

cammar said...

George,
believe it or not, I remembered that comment you left months ago (was it you?) about these kind of videos. So, thanks for leaving it. Looks like the readers dig them.

Anon,
better stay tuned to Makani and KP's blog for that. How cool is that now there's many bloggers that post videos and photos? Actually, you guys please let me know if you found more.
I think I only have one good clip of "regular" action. But it's a really worthy one, sto stay tuned here too.

Hi Mark,
agree: it's like the cut scenes with the director LIVE commentary. It would be even better if I added another version of the same video with Francisco's commentary on his clip... Too bad we're not neighbors, otherwise I would totally knock at his door and do it now!

Bill,
with the Kona, Tavares (where the blue tile house is) is quite a bit upwind of Lanes. I guess you could launch from there, but it would be a bitch to sail back. A bit sketchy too in case you break something on the way and nobody sees that.
It would probably be ok if the Kona was side shore, but so offshore as it is, it's not a good idea.
With waves like those, there's only a channel to get out from: between Lanes and Hookipa (and often this one closes out too).
So Lanes with the Kona offers three possible launches:
1) hookipa (like KP in the clip). It's downwind of the channel and requires a very careful timing and a bit of luck. I've seen pros not making it out and going to the rocks right away.
2) a little rocky cove about 30 yards upwind of the spot where Francisco ended up. The rocks are extremely slippery and full of small sharp little barnicles-like shells. It's a very sketchy launch. because of the shore break.
3) the rocks at Lanes. These are upwind of the channel, like in front of the ridable section of the waves. In theory, the best spot, but in reality there's two problems:
- very limited parking on the other side of the road (yesterday morning around 10.30, a barefoot Josh Stone crossed the highway right in front of me, with his board under his arm...)
- it's a 20 yards wide platform of sharp rocks with plenty sea urchins and big holes were you step in with a whole leg. Even if most of the energy of the waves is dumped on the reef, there's always a considerable shore break...
Forget about launching at Kuau (no channels with this size). In other words: no, there's no easy launch for big Kona days at Lanes.
And that's just the launch: a piece of cake compared to the sailing conditions...

Craig,
thanks for your feedback. Mmm, that makes FB suitable for photo storing also for my blog... I'll have to think about that.

Andrew,
I really like the one with Manu too. If you click on it, you can see the wave bending on the reef and starting to form a bowl downwind. The wave is head high when the photo was taken and it may grow to logo high by the time it breaks.
Look at the flat on the inside, that gives you an idea of how long period waves have the ability to shoal on the reef and grow many times their open ocean size.
And again, how's the West Maui Mountain?
Nature at its best.

Anonymous said...

GP,
in regard to who left the past comment about commentary - that was me. I'm soooo glad you remembered. Your idea of having the riders add their own commentary at a later date is brilliant (those approachable). I think this would work for any moment you film that would likely be very memorable to the rider, such as an epic jump, wave or extended wash cycle through the rocks.

Well. Back to work.
Have fun.
Mark,
Canada

Anonymous said...

Hi GP, you asked for more blogs/pics, well you might be interested to read my diary of my windsurf sessions during my 3 months here on Maui:
http://www.forces-of-nature.co.uk/dbdriven/diary/diary.php?action=viewmemberentries&optionuser=Harry

And here are my pics on facebook yesterday from Lanes:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=80924&l=f4e63&id=540691773

Harry

cammar said...

Thanks Mark.

Harry,
thanks for those links.
Photo 1 shows Tristan Boxford (back in Maui for this particular swell, I guess) jumping straight off the rocks. I guess that's another way of getting in the water... and maybe come back to Hookipa. Coming in is much easier than going out, of course.
Photos 16 and 31 show great aerials of Francisco Porcella, I heard he was charging too.
Between the ones I saw instead, Robby Swift was the most inspired one.

Anonymous said...

ciao GP ..grande report !
come sempre cogli gli aspetti piĆ¹ interessanti delle situazioni...
e son contento che questo viene riconosciuto anche dagli altri ...

bye
mp

Anonymous said...

Hi GP,
I was wondering how the bunch of kiters performed at Lanes yesterday. I remember that you were not impressed about how kiters rode Lanes on the last epic session last year. On the other hand, you were impressed about that kiter that 'looked like Kelly Slater'. One key advantage I can tell from my limited experience on kiting in waves is how easy is to pass (rather jump) the white water, and also move better in areas of lulls because the kiter are so far up...
Thanks for the blogging!
Marcos

Joe Agliozzo said...

dumb question but why do you call it port tack when your right arm is forward and the wind is coming over your starboard side? Seems like riding in towards the beach (riding the wave) you would be on starboard tack with wind out of the south. In the videos, guys are going left on the wave, on an offshore or southwind day that would be starboard wouldn't it?

cammar said...

Thanks MP.

Marcos,
I wasn't impressed yesterday either. I'm never impressed by kitesurfers on big waves and strong wind. I'm not sure if it's the size of the wave or the strong wind, but they cannot carve as hard as the windsurfers.
Even though they do have a big advantage in going over the white water, their action on the wave looks almost "lame" (hope nobody gets offended, I respect every single person that was out yesterday) compared to the one of the windsurfers. These last ones, in fact, can throw way more spray and do those aerials that are way more impressive because they are generated by the impact with the lip of the wave and not by the upward pull of a kite.
Let me add that even if kiters have an overall advantage in going through the waves, once the gear is in the water, the situation is reversed. A windsurfer just swims to his gear (as long as it didn't go on the rocks), takes a breather and water starts whenever he wants.
A kite in the water in big waves is a freaking nightmare. I think I got a clip with that...
What about the "kelly slater" dude? It was light wind (when windsurfers weren't planing), smaller waves at kanaha.
The windsurfers' action was lame, the kiters were killing it.
So, I guess it depends on the conditions....

Joe,
your question is not dumb at all!
You're right, on the wave we were starboard tack, but for an unwritten agreement, you always refere to the tack you sail when you leave the beach. So, if the wind is coming from the left when you leave the beach it's all port tack sailing, even though on the wave you're actually on a starboard tack.
Confusing, uh? Imagine in another language! It took me forever to learn which one was which, until I figured that with port tack on the north shore of Maui the wind comes from the port (of Kahului). That saved me. But if I go sailing on the south shore, I'm disoriented! :)

frippe75 said...

By the way. You dont happen to have a higher res. image of the "occational mast higher" ???

Might be a friend of mine.. Not able to identify... He might be willing to pay some cash for that one!!

Drop me an email?