Friday, November 27, 2009

thanksgiving bliss + Jaws pics

Just updated this post with a few PS's at the bottom.


Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I gave plenty thanks... to mother nature, as usual.

Actually my session started pretty bad. It was the second day in a row that I drove to this super fickle spot. I got skunked already the day before and it looked like I was going to get skunked again: as soon as I hit the water, the wind dropped drastically.
Super light, super offshore. Thanks to all that practice at Da Spot last summer in Oahu, I was able to do my usual slog and surf thing and catch waves doing just one turn.
A bit frustrating, since till a few minutes before they were sailing on 4.5s... but, better than nothing I thought.
Lower Kanaha was onshore, there was no point to drive back. Allegedly Uppers was pretty good instead.

So, having finally given up the fantasy of an epic session, I was enjoying my one turn waves when unexpectedly the wind came back. At that point it was only me and Glenn and it was getting better and better. He had to leave kind of early though and I was left completely alone.

Let me try to describe how bloody awesome the thing got.
Upwind the clouds were low, dark and full of rain, framed by a monster super bright rainbow. The water upwind was very dark, but, since the sun downwind was out and low on the horizon, the white caps were so bright that they were almost glowing in the middle of the menacing chops. In this surreal beauty, I found myself catching peeling head high waves perfectly powered on my 4.7.

The wind was about 30 degrees offshore (0 degrees being sideshore) and the non intimidating size of the waves pushed me to do my top turns as close to the breaking lip as possible, in the so called pocket. I did so also because I thought that most of the times it was going to be a one turn wave anyway. But here's what happens when you do a turn in such a critical section.
The lip that is about to break but is held in place by the offshore wind acts like a slingshot being tensioned... and when you hit it just before it falls, you get a incredible push from it. That projected me in the next bottom turn with unexpected extra speed that, guess what, allowed me to stick another unplanned top turn. Still in the pocket, of course, and the whole thing happened again!
In other words, I had several waves in which I thought I was going to do only one turn and I ended up doing 3, 4 or 5... but not racing down the line, rather hitting the most critical section instead!
Unbelievable amount of fun.

I was just sorry for Glenn that had to leave early and I thought that it was a shame not to share such bliss with anybody else. But - cherry on the cake - when I got out of the water (5.30... couldn't do till 6 because my arms gave up) a couple of tourists renting one of the condos right in front of the spot gave me a standing ovation thanking me for the "awesome show".
It was probably the first wave sailing action they saw in their life, but still... I admit that I was flattered. They kept clapping hands until I walked out of their sight slightly embarrassed...

Photos now. Again, these photos were taken before the magic happened...
The one on top is Glenn doing a backloop. He pumped his arms off to get the speed. Click on the photo and admire the dramatic cliffs on the background. That's an awesome shot! Patrick did great, considering that it was the first time he used my camera...

This one is Nico instead, who was part of the early crew.

Just like Ferdinando. He was rigging down from 5.0 to 4.5 when I arrived. 20 minutes later the wind dropped and he headed back in.

That's how Nico made it back.

And that's me heading out. Had to swim for a while before I was able to uphaul and catch a little puff...
Those guys seem to be having more fun than me.

Didn't know kitesurfers could swim back in like that.

Glenn bottom turn.

Blog author.

Glenn top turn.

Patrick got bored.

This is Nick the day before. The wind was so light that me, Glenn and Andres decided it wasn't worth it. I'm sure Nick disagrees with us. BTW, brah I need to borrow those fins!

Couple of Hawaii shots.

And now a few photos of Jaws on Wednesday that Tormod sent me.
This looks like Polakow.

This is Levi.

But the most amazing shot I actually took from Nayra's blog. That is Francisco Porcella sliding on his back, head first, down the face of a monster. Patrick was there (congrats on his first Jaws experience) and told me that he kept sliding until he got caught by the lip and thrown over the falls.

That didn't stop him from going windsurfing later on.

For more Jaws photos, check Tormod's and Nayra's blogs.
Special thanks to Tormod who is about to leave the island. Very nice guy and I have to admit that his peculiar English spelling and grammar crack me up... I'm sure I do the same effect to someone else!

PS. Congrats to Tatiana for winning the 2009 Paia Bay invitational surf contest.
PPS. Thanks to Ian and Danny for the delicious food. You guys rock!
PPPS. The forecast continues to be awesome. New swells on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. And check what Pat Calwells says in his latest forecast:
In the northern hemisphere, it will be the 40th anniversary next week of the hugest surf of the last 50 years, a series of episodes with the peak day on December 4, 1969. That episode was a typhoon-fueled, extratropical source. Presently, there is a typhoon in the western Pacific, nadi, to watch for re-curvature into the central north Pacific mid next week. It is too early for specifics, though the potential for the gender bender, meaning a tropical warm core low turning to a mid latitude cold core low, ups the surf potential ante.

And this is the weather map modeled to happen Sunday dec 6th.
It's going to be Jaws time again for someone. It's going to be uncrowded smaller waves again for someone else...
Meanwhile, the Pipe Masters in Oahu is going to be epic just like the women's contest at Honolua Bay in Maui.
Winter in Hawaii: what a bloody awesome thing!

PPPPS. The surf contest at Sunset Beach in Oahu is on. Here's the link to the webcast.


Dave said...

G, Glad to see you got some of the "magic" that spot can offer. Very moody and lots of different conditions in a span of hours at times, but the place can get soooooo good. Like today again!!

Magnum said...

Yeah sometimes wondsurfing gives us those incredible moments.
Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing the stoke.
Wish you more turns in the pocket!
All the best

Anonymous said...

Hi GP,
nice post...
thank you for "broadcasting emotions" !

Nicholas Warmuth said...

Glad you got some action there on Thursday, you didn't miss much on Wednesday. Uppers was pretty fun that day, outer bowl was setting up nice. Let me know if you want to swap fins, I can sail everyday email me. I'm seeing the same thing in the long range forecasts, looks like a monster swell.

meesh said...

I'm up for a gender bender next weekend!