Wednesday, December 09, 2009

day 6 of a series of big NW swells: outer reef SUP surfing

First, I'd like to spend a few words on the webcast of the Eddie Aikau that went on yesterday.

Despite the fact that they were not as well organized as when the event is setup by the ASP, thanks to the amazing display put up by the competitors it was hands down the best live webcast I have ever seen (and I've seen a bunch).
Yesterday, I strategically made sure to be off (actually I strategically made sure to be off the last three days) and I tuned into it first thing in the morning. As soon as the first waves were ridden, I thought: what the hell am I doing here watching these big waves on the computer? There's big waves in Maui too and I should be out there riding them.
The webcast was on channel 1250 of the cable and I asked a friend to record it, so that we could watch it later...

So I went to Kanaha and it looked big and gnarly. Nonetheless, I went out with the standup and was lucky enough to meet another fellow standupper who agreed that there was not much to ride out there (too big and closing out).
"Shall we go to the outer reef at Uppers?", I suggested.
"Sure, why not!"

It was like paddling from hell to paradise. Big, smooth, non intimidating (kinda) rollers. The most mellow double overhead wave you can think of.
Fortunately I was wearing the GoPro chesty mount that proofed to be perfect for SUP (it never got into the way of anything... wipeouts, diving under big waves, etc...).
Unfortunately, as usual, the videos don't really give a sense of the size of the waves when you catch them or ride them.
But this clip has an interesting moment in which John (the other guy) is in front of a wave I was trying to catch and you can see how down below he looks like. And that was a small one.
The videos do give a sense of the glassiness and peacefulness of the place, though.
Only the two of us. And a bunch of huge turtles.

After he broke his leash (and I rescued his board, that's why it's good to be two people when you surf outer reefs), we decided to go back in. I caught a right at the inside reef and this is the related clip. Again, that wave was well overhead and steep as hell, but unfortunately that doesn't really show. After the close out, I ride the white water for a while and then the wave reforms on the inside for a couple of fun turns. Total duration of the ride: one minute!
And I was going pretty much straight while riding the white water.
That should give you an idea of the great distance I covered. In other words, it should give you an idea of how wide the area where the waves were breaking was. Probably twice as big as it normally is.

I'd like to send my thanks to Jonathan, who came from Australia for a trip, bought a magic SUP board and sold it to me before leaving: a wonderful Kazuma 9.2x27.5. Still clearly a standup board, but the closest feel to a regular surfboard I've ever experienced.
Cheers Jonathan! And cheers Matt (the shaper)!

PS. There's still waves, but I think I'm not going to take any videos/photos today. I got so much stuff to edit and work on and no time to do it and it keeps adding up...


Anonymous said...

Nice videos! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

wow i want to try SUPing now!


Windwiner said...

Agreed, the web cast from the Eddie yesterday was awesome. I thought Freddie P and Potz did a great job on the commentary as well. Unfortunately I didn't have the option of going surfing so I watched the whole thing while pretending to work. Classic!

Anonymous said...

I live in Hamburg, Germany, and your swell was in our local newspaper today (with some eddie pics) - how cool´s that?

Carles Carrera said...

Obviously the wide lens doesn't makes justice to the wave size, but the chesty mounts makes you feeling as been actuallt surfing the wave.

Great videos, and how lucky your are over there. Make justice and enjoy as much as you can

cammar said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

anon 1: you're welcome.

anon 2:
a) if you're a surfer, stick to it. IMO surfing is way better than SUP surfing, since the boards are smaller and one can rip harder.
SUP surfing has some advantages though. One of them is that you can paddle to remote places. I would have not paddled all the way out there on a regular board... too much work.
b) if you're not a surfer, trying surfing first!

WW, agree: Patacchia and Porter were awesome. I never got bored of them, they sounded really stoked to be watching that show ("oh my gosh", "jeez luise"... Freddie P is my new hero).

German anon, that's pretty cool.

Marcos, I am extremely lucky and one of the ways to make justice (other than enjoying as much as I can... which I'm pretty damn good at) is to share the stoke on this blog. So that everyone can enjoy a piece of it. Cheers.

Robin said...

Nice vids G.P. The board also looks good, can you tell us a bit more about is or maybe post a pic of the whole board?

I posted your vids on a dutch windsurfing forum, with a reference to this blog, I hope that's o.k. with you.

Keep up the stoke!

Rudie said...

Those videos look really good! Like you said, nothing gets in the way. Maybe it's the advantage of being on a SUP board, so no sail in the way, and no nose mounting(which I think is usually far less cool).

Which Go Pro cam do you use? And which mounting devices? I'm maybe thinking of buying one...

cammar said...

Robin, of course it's ok to post the videos somewhere else.
Photo of the board... let's see if I can remember. It's a board that would be a nightmare for most of the people. It's only 27.5 inches wide and as such it's quite tippy. I got used to that and I love it on the wave.
Still a damn SUP board though... so whenever I can I just go regular surfing.

Rudie, it's the high def one. If you mean which package it is, I don't even remember. I do have all the mounts though: the sticky plates for the surfboards (I instead absolutely love the videos from the nose. But not when SUPing, since I can't turn the video on/off easily), the handle bar clamps for mast and boom, the head band and the chest mount.
Get one, it's worth it.

Mike said...

Hey GP what kind of paddle is that? Thanks for the vids, enjoy the blog.

cammar said...

Mike, it's a custom Malama paddle.