Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bautiful but flat sunrise in Canggu.

2015 first Indo trip report n.1. Not the smoothest start.

I apologize with the readers for having declared that I was going to keep doing the daily Maui morning call from Bali, but as soon as I arrived, it was immediately clear that I had no interest in doing so.

The idea of publishing a daily forecast for Maui on this blog came to me because that is something (the forecast) that I do for myself every morning anyway. So it only takes me the extra effort of selecting the pictures and writing the post. But from here, the last thing I care of is what the waves are doing in Maui (well, that's not 100% true...), and it would require a much bigger effort to do a forecast I'm not really interested in.

So, sorry but no more Maui forecast until I came back, which will be on May 13.
But don't stop checking the blog because I will do random Bali report posts, much more like how the blog used to be for the past 10 years.
Please post comments if you have any interest in me posting a daily photo of the Bali surf conditions, because that takes almost nothing from my phone.
In the meantime, here's the first "old style" report from my first 2015 Indo trip.

As I quickly posted on Facebook, the photo below is the first spot I checked in this trip, but it's not Bali. It's the beautiful beach of Makapuu in Oahu. This one day lay over wasn't planned, and here's what happened.

I believe this is my fifth time I go to Indo and for the third time I found an affordable ticket from Honolulu to Bali with Korean Air. The trick is to start checking the prices as much in advance as you can. Usually, the earlier the cheaper.
For some reasons, Maui to Bali is always a lot more expensive, so I usually buy the inter-island ticket separately with Hawaiian.
In my two previous experiences with these two airlines, I was always able to check my baggage in Maui all the way to Bali. Plus in this case, I didn't even think I had baggage to check in, since I already had two boards in Bali. So I booked the Maui-Oahu flight 2 hours before the the Honolulu-Seul flight. I know that the walk between terminals is only 5 minutes and the Hawaiian inter-island flights are usually on time, so 1.5h seemed a safe enough connection time.

The bad luck started manifesting itself when the Hawaiian check in agent told me the two months ago the rules changed and she could not check in my boards all the way to Bali anymore.
Oh yeah, in the meantime I had found out that Korean doesn't charge for boards anymore, so I thought about taking a couple more... you know, as one does.
No big deal I thought, I should still be able to make it without too much stress.

So I checked in the boards to Oahu and went to the gate. I pulled out my kindle to start reading my friend Bill Boyum's book (he's the man who discovered G-Land) and noticed that the battery was low. I did remember to charge it a couple of days before leaving, but evidently it got turned on in the backpack and it was low. Below is the photo I took that made for another facebook post.

I then looked for a power plug to recharge it. Couldn't find any in the hall of gate 13, which was also completely full of people waiting for the flight (or their flight I should say... as I was about to find out) to be called. But plenty power plugs and absolutely nobody sitting in the adjacent hall.
So I sat there, charging the kindle and keeping an eye on the hall of gate 13.
"Even if I can't hear the announcement from here, I can easily detect when everybody is going to stand up and start boarding" was my weak plan. It seemed good enough at the time, but it wasn't.
I started reading. Once in a while I would check the hall of gate 13 and notice that there was still a lot of people sitting. I admit I got into the reading and spaced out a bit.
When I finally noticed some of the people standing up and starting to form the line for boarding, I noticed it was half an hour later that the scheduled boarding time.
Still not too worried and hoping for a fast boarding procedure, I placed myself in line and got to the gate, only to be told:"sorry sir, your flight has already left!"
"Really? Did you change the gate?"
"No sir, it left from this gate."
"Well I have to catch a flight at noon in Oahu, can you get me on this flight anyway?"

They did get me on that flight, but it was going to be too late.
What happened is that they boarded two consecutive flights (half an hour difference) from the same gate and the people that was filling the waiting room was waiting for both flights. So the room was never really empty as I expected it to be and that was the reason for my mistake.
Quite a beginner mistake, considering the amount of travelling that I do, I have to admit.

Despite the objective list of bad lucks (boards not checked in all the way, kindle needing a recharge, power plugs only available in the adjacent room and two consecutive flights 30 minutes apart boarded at the same gate with people of both flights sitting in the waiting hall), I was blaming my stupidity and being angry at myself for a good... 20 minutes.
After that, my zen approach to life took over and I was able to cope with it a lot better while I was on the plane for Honolulu not knowing yet if I was gonna make it or not.

Here's some of the concepts I strongly believe in that I usually remind myself of in these occasions:
- everything happens for a reason and it's for my best
- there's always something positive in everything and even if right now it's not evident what it is, it will manifest itself sooner or later
- being pissed off won't make it any better
- nothing matters (Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan taught me that).

But the one that really worked in this case (and in many other cases) is the following:
There will be a time when what now seems to be a big deal will only be a distant memory. In this particular case, I could even quantify it quite precisely: a couple of days. Once I get to Bali, in fact, I won't think anymore about how stupid I was to miss a flight. So, why I don't start right now not thinking about it anymore and enjoy the challenges and new unplanned things it will bring?
It worked beautifully and I did the rest of the short flight in a much more serene mode, until I finally got to Honolulu and the Korean Air check in manager told me that maybe without boards to check in I could have made it, but with boards I stood no chances. I had then to rebook the flight for the day after.

Here's two new little details that really challenged my zen attitude again:
1) I was supposed to leave on April 25th. On that day the time between the Honolulu-Seul flight and the Seoul-Bali one was going to be 2 hours, enough for Korean Air to sell it as one ticket. On April 26th, the new day of my departure, a change in their schedule would take place and the time between the two flights would only be 40 minutes. Not enough for them to commit for a one ticket. I was then booked for the Honolulu-Seoul for the 26th and on the Seoul-Bali on the 27th. That meant one full day to spend in Seul and two days late in Bali.
2) the cost of the rebook was $280.

I rented a car, got in touch with some friends that live in Honolulu, went to check Makapuu under one of them's suggestion (it was beautiful and offshore, but you can't surf the break in the photos, because it's reserved for body boarders), ended up surfing Publics (onshore and shitty, but still nice memories of my 2009 two months stay in Oahu), took my friends out for dinner in a nice Thai place, met more friends, went to a live music club.
Bit pricey, but fun.

I was a lot more worried about the day to spend in Seoul (I have no interest whatsoever in visiting big cities anymore), but fortunately I managed to make that 40 minutes connection and so in the end I arrived in Bali only 1 day later and with 400 bucks less on my bank account. Could have been worse.
Could have been 2 days and 800 bucks. That's another easy thing to think of when you think things are going bad. Thing, think, think, things... geez, how was that sentence?

Wow, that was a hell lot of unnecessary/uninteresting details. I could have just said "I missed a flight", but:
- I enjoy writing
- I analyzed what happened so many times (in order to learn and not do it again) that the story came out without much effort
- it's a rainy (and flat) late afternoon in Bali
- someone might actually read all this and learn something out of it (like to put at least 3 hours between connection when booking flights not as one ticket)
- I don't have much to report from the surfing point just yet.

The first day in fact, was relatively small (waist to chest) and I surfed in Canggu (not too far from where I'm staying this time). Here's how a spot called Old Man's looked like at high tide at sunset.
I would have loved to have a single fin longboard. It was perfect for trimming and nose riding.

While the rest of Bali (specifically the Bukit peninsula) has waves that are more or less for experts only, Canggu is an area that offers waves for all skill levels, beginners included. The speed at which it has developed (and I see no signs of slowing down either) is almost frightening.
When I first surfed here in 2011 (here's the 8 posts I did at the time...  impossible to do such a reference to previous posts on facebook!), there was NO board rentals on this beach. Now this "operation" has more than a hundred boards. And the amount of home stays and cafĂ© and restaurants that popped out like mushrooms is mesmerizing. Same applies to the increment of people in the water, as you can imagine.

Well today it was quite flat as I said, and I finally on my trip n.5 I decided to do a classic tourist thing and go visit the small town of Ubud. Also because I had the right company, I have to add. Here's the Murni's Warung where we had a lovely fresh coconut. It looks like someone's eccentric living room and the view on the left was on a beautiful green gulch.

The part of the ride through the rice fields was the best, but my phone camera sucks and it doesn't render it.

The forecast calls for another couple of flat/small days (which can happen in this season), but then there should be a couple of fun size swells before a solid 9f 16s one (biggest of the new season they say) will hit on May 6th.
Definitely more excited about the first ones, since I still haven't figured out where to surf here when it's that big.

So long, till next one.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

4 25 15 morning call

Still fun surfing on the south shore yesterday. This swell did not impress me as much as the previous one (when was it, couple of weeks ago?), but it's lasting long time.

Here's my massage therapist Priya on a nice little right that we surfed together. I surf with friends only when I meet them by chance at the beach. I'm so peculiar with my preferences and I don't like to compromise them for company (which means more people in the water anyway). I'd rather surf with 2 unknown people than with 3 friends. I'm that bad. I'm the worse surfing buddy you can imagine.
We had fun in this occasion.

Wind map shows a nice fetch NNW of us. The Monday/Tuesday swell should be nice.

I believe today there is the Butterfly Effect and they're launching at 9am from Baldwin Beach. Below is the MC2km wind map at that time and it shows it should be glassy and flat like a lake.

 Different story at 1pm, so if you sit on your board for 3-4 hours, you actually have a chance to do a downwinder.


6.7ft @ 10s from 79° (ENE)
2.3ft @ 5s from 211° (SW)

5.7ft @ 9s from 83° (E)           
2.1ft @ 4s from 83° (E)

3ft @ 8s from 166° (SSE)
2.3ft @ 12s from 178° (S)
1.3ft @ 16s from 194° (SSW)
0.8ft @ 3s from 190° (S

Pure windswell (going down) on the north shore which tomorrow should be completely flat.

Still a bit of energy on the south shore instead. Which is where I would be today if I didn't have to catch a plane to go to Bali, where I'm gonna spend 18 days. Just a "short" trip. Wait until the next one...
Depending on the internet speed, I'll try to still do the morning call. The report instead, will definitely be a Bali one.
I'm taking with me 8 sets of fins. Eight! Who the hell do I think I am? Parko or something?

One more thing: this beautiful 8.0 Haut by Surftech is for sale at Hi-Tech Paia for $250 with fins. Board is SUPER light and overall in good conditions. Total steal for a Haut.

Friday, April 24, 2015

4 14 15 morning call

Got a new gopro and here's a shot I took yesterday. I guess the mouth mount makes the most sense when you get barreled, but at least you see a bit of a wall. Lahaina was weak and the onshore come up quite early.



Things you do when you don't have a drone (and you have a floaty backdoor).

Wind map shows a decent fetch that will give life to a swell that should reach 7f 11s between Monday and Tuesday.

MC2km wind map at noon shows the usual strong offshore wind. Very unreliable at Kanaha from this direction.

7.6ft @ 10s from 81° (E)
5.6ft @ 7s from 146° (SE)

7.2ft @ 9s from 83° (E)           
3.6ft @ 5s from 85° (E)

4ft @ 8s from 171° (S)           
2.4ft @ 14s from 189° (S)

Windswell is predominant in size (at least on an east facing beach), but south swell hanging in there too.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Windswell only. Pavils and the point get a little bit of action

4 23 15 morning call

Pretty bad call I did yesterday morning.
I went for the windswell and yes there was no wind at all and some size, but too sloppy and no shape.
Then I opted for a relaxing coffee in the quiet of the harbor and these guys were catching little rollers in the glitter. Jumped in with a longboard and caught a few myself. It was as peaceful as it gets.

Wind map shows a pretty small fetch up NW, a even more offshore direction in the trades and that small low pressure that will kill the wind Saturday/sunday. Too bad I won't be here to enjoy that.
Surfed Hookipa at sunset and it was still blowing 25 at times...

That small low will bring some clouds too (otherwise, what kind of low is it?). Pretty close to Kauai already, but judging from the sunrise I'm seeing out of my window, today should be another gorgeous day.

This is the wind map for noon. Still strong and gusty and sailable at Hookipa. Maybe also down the coast. Catch it till it lasts!

7ft @ 9s from 85° (E)           
3.7ft @ 6s from 133° (SE)
2.6ft @ 14s from 181° (S)
2.3ft @ 7s from 89° (E)

4.2ft @ 9s from 47° (NE)
1.5ft @ 15s from 247° (WSW)
7.9ft @ 9s from 74° (ENE)
2.5ft @ 6s from 82° (E)
Pure windswell on the north shore.
3.5ft @ 7s from 167° (SSE)           
2.6ft @ 14s from 193° (SSW)
0.6ft @ 3s from 194° (SSW)

4.4ft @ 14s from 193° (SSW)
2.7ft @ 8s from 146° (SE)
How's that 4.4 vs 2.6? I'm moving to Oahu...

Anyway, south swell still here, catch that one too till it lasts!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

16 people at pavils at 6am. Chest to head with a bit of wind.

4 22 15 morning call

Another good day of action on the south side, even though the Lahaina side had light onshore wind pretty much from the very beginning of the day.
I surfed two spots, but the best session was at sunset at Hookipa where I caught two sick lefts at green trees. Best two waves in the last two weeks, that's for sure.
So photo of the day is from there and goes to my friend Cathy and I'm gonna use it also to point out where you should be looking during your take off: not on the board, but straight in front of you where you want the bottom turn to happen. Nice job Cathy!

Wind map doesn't show any fetch of remark. What I like though is that it seems that the trades are getting more and more easterly and then after that there should be an area with no wind (marked with an X)  before the next high pressure cell takes over.
I understand that some of you guys like the wind, but it's been blowing non stop forever... a little break (on Sunday) will be good for everybody.

6.3ft @ 9s from 102° (ESE)
4.5ft @ 7s from 114° (ESE)
2.9ft @ 14s from 189° (S)

4.8ft @ 8s from 34° (NE)
2ft @ 11s from 331° (NNW)
1.6ft @ 15s from 260° (W)

6.6ft @ 9s from 79° (ENE)
4.7ft @ 7s from 75° (ENE)
2.8ft @ 12s from 346° (NNW)

I like both the 346 and the 79 degrees readings, if the MC2km map would be updated (so frustrating that it gets updated just after I publish my post), you guys could guess where I'm planning to go surf this morning before work. But you can still guess it even without the map. That is if you have a bit of local weather knowledge. And if you're reading this blog, you're actually building it.
3.4ft @ 6s from 170° (S)
2.6ft @ 15s from 194° (SSW)
0.4ft @ 3s from 173° (S)

3.3ft @ 15s from 187° (S)
2.7ft @ 7s from 144° (SE)
2.3ft @ 9s from 137° (SE)
1.5ft @ 12s from 218° (SW)

There was a point yesterday (as you can easily imagine, I check the buoys more often than my watch during the day), in which barbers was at 4f and lanai at 2f. Once again, no explanation for that. I would try to come up with some theory of sort if it was always like that, but sometimes it's the other way around, so I'm lost.
Anyway, south swell still at fun levels, now that we're three days into it, you can expect a little more consistency. But still not as much as a windswell (maximum consistency) or a ground swell that has travelled less. What makes south swells inconsistent is the travel time.
Waves of different period travel at different speed and the longer they travel the more they space out between themselves. At a start of a swell, only the long period ones arrive, that's why the waits are so long. Later on there's more a mix of long period sets from the tail of the fetch and medium period sets from the rest of the fetch, so it's a bit more consistent.

Oh there we go, MC2km has updated the maps! Sometimes complaining to the universe helps.
Below is the 6am one. Now you guys can EASILY see where I'm thinking of going surfing.

Below is the 1pm one instead for the wind obsessed people. Super strong and gusty at Hookipa, eventually reaching down to Kanaha, but.... don't choose today as you day to try kitesurfing, that's my best recommendation if you want to keep living.
Notice the original ESE direction just below Hana.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mixed sea and windy

4 21 15 morning call

Gonna use this sequence to:
1) show that the early morning saw some small waves on south shore yesterday, but the swell slowly and steadily grew all day
2) show my SUP and longboard students how a sharp change of direction is achieved on a big board (this post labeled under "surfing technique").

The guy is lifting his back foot from a cruising position.

He moves it far back on the board. How far back depends on how sharp of a turn he wants to do. Notice also that the toes are in the middle of the board and that will make the hill go well on the side.
In backside turns you can't leverage on the front of the foot to push the rail in, so you have to place the hill well on the rail. Once again, how much on the rail depends on the radius of the turn you want to achieve.

Back foot is now planted in the perfect spot, he starts shifting some weight on it.

The back of the board is being sinked on the rail inside the turn. As a result, the nose sticks up. The guy is twisting his upper body towards the turn and he's looking at where he wants to go.

That's the moment of maximum pressure. Had he had the paddle on the inside of the turn, he would be leaning on it now. He could have switched side mid turn, but for such a small wave there was no need really.

 As he's coming out of the turn, he starts releasing some pressure so that he can get some speed again. In the next few shots, he will actually walk forward a bit.

And there we go, we got a longboarder too doing the same thing.

Wind map today only shows a almost insignificant fetch NW of us. No more fetched pointed at us down south.

Wind should be strong and gusty seen the easterly direction.

6.0ft @ 9s from 98° (E)
4.8ft @ 12s from 301° (WNW)
4.6ft @ 7s from 80° (E)

4.1ft @ 7s from 31° (NE)
3.4ft @ 11s from 339° (NNW)
1.4ft @ 16s from 267° (W)
1ft @ 5s from 28° (NNE)

6ft @ 7s from 74° (ENE)
5.9ft @ 9s from 82° (E)
1.7ft @ 3s from 83° (E)

Pretty decent NW reading at the NW buoy, nothing at the Pauwela, but I'm pretty sure there will be something more than just windswell at Hookipa today.

2.6ft @ 7s from 174° (S)
2.3ft @ 15s from 203° (SSW)
0.9ft @ 4s from 167° (SSE)

3.3ft @ 15s from 194° (SSW)
2.8ft @ 8s from 131° (SE)
2.7ft @ 9s from 131° (SE)
One foot difference between Barbers and Lanai is a lot and I don't know how to explain. Maui's south shore gets blocked by Kahoolawe a lot, but not Lanai. I've seen this often, and I'm gonna guess that Barbers is more sensitive than Lanai, but I've seen the other way around too.
What counts is that there is some energy in the water and it should be a pretty good day.
Below is the weather map of 7 days ago down south. As you can see, compared to the one I posted yesterday, the fetch is now just east of NZ and that's where you want it to be. Direction from there will be straight south for Maui and as usual the following factors will influence the height of the waves it will generate:
- wind speed
- width
- length
- fetch speed and direction. The only direction that will actually increase the wave size is when the fetch moves in the same direction of the winds it is made by. In this case it should move straight north. If it happens that it also moves at the same speed of the waves it generates, then it's called captured and that provides the maximum wave heights. Unfortunately, as we will see the next days (I'm gonna post the week old map for every day of this week), it won't do anything like that. Fetches down there like to move east. So in this case, the slower they move the better, so they keep building waves over the same area of sea.

What happened between yesterday and today ONE WEEK AGO is also beautifully explained by Pat Caldwell. Unfortunately he doesn't have the possibility of using the help of graphics and maps (why not, I don't really know), so he has to use a lot of words to describe it. But it's a great read. Thanks Pat!
Low pressure over New Zealand 4/11-12 placed gales in the Tasman sea. Swell from this source out of 208-220 degrees picked up locally Sunday 4/19. It should linger on Tuesday.
The low pressure area moved east 4/13-14 as a secondary low pressure cell from S of New Zealand merged into it, dropping central pressure to 955 mb near 50s, 170°W 4/14. A long, wide fetch of gales to severe gales grew seas to 30 feet with the head of the fetch about 3800 nm away. The system weakened as it moved slowly ENE 4/15-18.
The pacioos/cdip american samoa buoy showed a sharp rise in swell height 4/17. It remained elevated with a secondary maximum early on 4/19. Dominant periods were around 15 seconds through the period. With the 2200 nm travel distance and swell centered on 190 degrees, this would take 4 days to reach Hawaii.
Surf is expected to slowly increase late Monday through Tuesday, then remain at a quasi-maximum late Tuesday to early Thursday from 180-200 degrees at levels above the summer average. Heights should fall to near the summer average on Friday then gradually fall to summer background levels over the weekend from the same direction.
 Pat also told us so that the travel time for 15s swells is around 4 days from Samoa to Hawaii. It is probably 4 more days from the fetch to that buoy some maybe the total is 8 instead of the commonly known 7?
Graph below will help a bit, but the message here is that I'm never really sure how long the waves generated down there travelled to get here. But for sure they travelled a long time. That's why you don't want to miss them and if you catch them, you don't want to blow them!
Have a great day, and don't forget my golden rules for south swells. Unless is 4f 15 at the buoy, never ever under any circumstances get excited about a south swell in Maui!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Some nw lines, but wind and windswell on it.

4 20 15 morning call

Conditions at Hookipa yesterday were pretty average as this photo shows. Windswell is pumping, so it's still a lot better than flat.

Wind map shows a little NW fetch, but I have a comment on the limiting effect of what that big area of trades can have on it. I noticed throughout the years that NW fetches in spring/summer time usually produce smaller swells compared to winter. It is my opinion that the windswell generated by the trades, by travelling head first into the NW swell will reduce its size. One of those things I'm never gonna be 100% sure of.

 World wind map still shows a tiny fetch down south.

MC2km map not updated yet, here's the winguru bottom of the page showing another very strong wind day.

4.8ft @ 10s from 44° (NE)
4.4ft @ 7s from 89° (E)
3.8ft @ 8s from 95° (E)
1.8ft @ 15s from 119° (ESE)

5.3ft @ 8s from 33° (NE)
2.5ft @ 12s from 334° (NNW)
1ft @ 15s from 288° (WNW)
0.3ft @ 4s from 29° (NNE)

5.7ft @ 9s from 87° (E)
4.4ft @ 7s from 71° (ENE)
3.7ft @ 7s from 79° (ENE)
2.3ft @ 13s from 335° (NNW)

2.2ft @ 8s from 174° (S)
1.6ft @ 15s from 206° (SSW)
0.9ft @ 3s from 45° (NE)
0.8ft @ 5s from 163° (SSE)

2.6ft @ 7s from 140° (SE)
2.2ft @ 15s from 200° (SSW)
1.2ft @ 10s from 293° (WNW)
0.6ft @ 12s from 247° (WSW)

No NW readings at the NW buoy means that today's NW swell (2.3f 13s at Pauwela) is not gonna last long. But today will be bigger than yesterday.

Still only 1.6f 15s at the Lanai buoy with a slightly better reading at Barbers( 2.2f 15s).
Below is the map of 7 days ago, showing the fetch right on top of New Zealand. The fetch of the day after will be a lot better and that means that the south swell will be bigger tomorrow. Provided that 7 days IS the travelling time.
It seems to be confirmed by the NOAA guys:"Surf along south facing shores will be 3 to 5 feet today, and then 5 to 7 feet on Tuesday."

I'm on it early anyway (probably no report from Hookipa, since I'll be leaving in the dark), because I still have to decide which boards to take with me to Bali. And that's the biggest concern I have right now in my life. Not a bad one to have.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pure windswell, pavils is chest to head high. Windy.

4 19 15 morning call

Shooting Pavils from the point requires some zoom. I like the chick that went left and is checking how the right was... shoulda kept going!

The wind was brutally stong all day (so they told me) but windsurfing at sunset looked quite fun actually. Unfortunately I can't sail these days trying to heal that finger. Alex Mussolini seems not to have any issues instead.

Buoy readings are quite enigmatic today.
5.7ft @ 9s from 84° (E)
1.9ft @ 6s from 90° (E)
1.5ft @ 17s from 162° (SSE)

5.1ft @ 8s from 39° (NE)           
1.6ft @ 3s from 36° (NE)
0.6ft @ 18s from 6° (N)

6.5ft @ 9s from 83° (E)
5.2ft @ 8s from 73° (ENE)
0.3ft @ 18s from 39° (NE)

A new moderate NW swell is supposed to pick up during the day, but with no NW readings on any of the buoy (specially the NW one, of course), I'm not calling that. Overall, it seems all about the windswell on the north shore today.

2.2ft @ 7s from 178° (S)
1.2ft @ 6s from 166° (SSE)
1ft @ 10s from 241° (WSW)
0.8ft @ 12s from 191° (SSW)

Also the south swell hasn't showed up yet. There is a comforting half footish reading at 18s earlier on the Lanai buoy graph below, but considering the afternoon high tide and usual unshore flow, the day is tomorrow really.

Wind map shows still a weak fetch down under. That is gonna be a very long lasting swell... whenever it arrives. Small fetches also up north, but nothing major.

MC2km at noon shows the usual strong wind.