Upon receiving the email with the heat order and learning that the two open longboard (the only category I could sign in for) heats were gonna be the first ones in the water at 7am, yesterday morning I quickly realized that I was never gonna make it to Honolua on time. I thought I was going to be there at 7.30 and thought: "It doesn't matter, I'm gonna go take photos of the groms anyway".
I even took off the car an old 9.2 that I loaded the evening before, just in case my "regular" longboard (an 8.0) was not going to be long enough for the contest's rule book.
Sipping my coffee and with no stress whatsoever, I made my way easily through the light Saturday morning traffic and got to the bay at around 7.10am instead. I quickly found a Napolitan style parking (not really, I didn't block anybody) right by the organizer's tent and inquired about my heat.
"You have 5 minutes before your heat starts! Grab a blue singlet".
"Cool! Would a 8.0 board be long enough?"
"Nope, it needs to be at least 9 feet".
"Oh, too bad then... that's all I have with me"
My Brazilian friend Oscar (father of the two lovely surfer girls I got that sweet photo with a couple of days ago) was right there, overheard the conversation and told me:"hang on, I have a friend's 9.0 in my car. Let me call him and ask him if you can use it". 5 minutes later I was hurrying down the path with a board under my arm that I had never ridden before.
|I believe this is Eli Hanneman, another hard charging grom|
|He came out of that barrel way down the line|
Until yesterday, I only had one previous experience of surf contests. It was quite a few years ago at the Ole contest at Launiupoko. There were no priorities, and with only two sets in my heat, all those super competitive guys didn't let me catch a single wave. So I was quite happy to see my friend Kaleo Amadeo's friendly face in the lineup when I paddled out at the Bay, just a couple of minutes after the horn sounded. He's a lifeguard at Hookipa, a realy good surfer and a very nice guy.
As I posted in the beach update, the conditions were nice, but slow. You could either wait for the good ones or scratch for the more frequent insiders. Or a mix of both. I managed to catch two mediocre waves, claimed my priority on one of them, didn't fall, and overall surfed as good as I could and enjoyed being out there with that special 'sun is not out yet' light.
The kid in the next photo below is instead enjoying a bright vision of a beautiful wall.
The heat had 7 competitors (I think it was supposed to be 6, but since I showed up so late, they thought I wasn't coming and let someone else in). With my two mediocre waves I got 5th, while Kaleo only got one good wave and got 6th, which made me mildly proud about my heat strategy and earned me bragging rights and some teasing next time I see him. Needless to say, I couldn't care less about the result. I just wanted to enjoy the experience and I did just that with a big smile on the face the whole time.
After my short 13 minutes of "surfing the Cave with only 6 other guys out" (that was never gonna be my motivation to sign up. I can do better than that without having to pay a contest fee), I found a killer spot on the cliff's rocks and prepared myself for a whole morning of taking photos of the groms that were ripping impressively hard. A tourist was so impressed by how comfortable and stree-free I looked in my nature surrounded setup that took a bunch of photos of me. He will send them to me in a couple of weeks (he forgot the cable to download them at home) and you guys will see. Coffee, breakfast number two, camera and beautiful waves right below me. I was mentally set to spend the whole morning there, before going to work at 2pm.
|This could be Valentin Neves (Leonardo's son), but I'm not sure. I like the crystal looking lip|
But these days there's just too many opportunities of scoring epic sessions and I just couldn't resist the pull towards another possible score and left after an hour in search of more fun. Looks like I found it.
It was again just me and that visiting friend of mine and there was plenty hooting at each other.
Here's more photos of the Eli grom from this gallery by Jimmie Hepp.
3am significant buoy readingsSouth facing local buoys still overwhelmed by the WNW swell, check the webcams.
5.4ft @ 10s from 283° (WNW)
5.2ft @ 12s from 282° (WNW)
6.1ft @ 13s from 299° (WNW)
Waimea5ft @ 13s from 320° (NW)
5.2ft @ 13s from 317° (NW)
Very similar numbers at all the buoys, 5f 13s is one of my favorite combos for one of my favorite spots. Got to just let that very high morning tide come down a bit. Beach report might be a bit late today. NW101 graph is below, the swell will be a lot smaller than yesterday, but it will only eventually loose a foot and a second by sunset, so still plenty energy all day.
Current wind map shows:1) a strong and wide WNW fetch. Next swell on Wednesday/Thursday will have some similarities to the current one
2) a compact, but intense little north fetch3) a weak windswell fetch
4) a highly blocked SSW fetch
NAM3km map at 7am shows light ESE trades.
This is the 1pm map and shows chances of sailing on the north shore. Notice the direction, it's gonna be offshore and gusty.