Sunday, January 31, 2016

7am Hookipa is head high plus and a little windy

1 31 16 morning call

Give Maui an opportunity to be windy and it will.
The wind ruined my early morning session yesterday, I sure got spoiled by all those glassy days lately. Then windsurfing happened, but I had to work.

In need of a change and not inspired by any action shots, for today's call I picked a photo of a surfboard posted by shaper Joshua Weisfeld who is clearly not scared to think different.
I've been trying to imagine how that thing rides, but I'm pretty sure that my guess is wrong.
Not an easy one to glass and sand either, that's for sure.

Interesting numbers at the buoys since Pauwela has been 2 feet bigger than NW and Waimea for the last 36 hours or so. I think that's because the last stages of the fetch that generated the big super long period swell on Wednesday where east of the dateline and aiming at the Mainland's west coast. As a consequence, we're getting more angular spreading than the islands west of us.
Anyway, whatever the reason is, I'm sure not gonna complain about it and enjoy the 6.1ft @ 13s from 332° (NNW) that are still recorded in the Maui waters at 3am.

The wind will pose a threat though. You can see from the wind map below that the trades area moved north a bit and now we are right at the edge of it. Notice also the two fetches. The NW one is what's left of yesterday's powerful one (swell on Monday). The WNW one is a new one entering the arena.
I did a whole 2 weeks windity run and didn't particularly like what I saw in the first week, but once again, weather and waves like we had throughout the whole month of January are rare.
I did see some windless days in the second week of February though and that's good for the surf. In Maui the local wind conditions are FAR more important than the size of the waves.
Or at least, I personally enjoy more 2 glassy feet than 6 bumpy ones.

MC2km map at noon shows plenty wind for wind powered sports.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

7.20am Hookipa still has occasional doh, but the most common size is head to head and a half. Mddles packed already.

1 30 16 morning call

Yet another beautiful day of surfing of this January that deserves to be remembered.
I had a surf and a SUP session, but didn't take any pictures, so here's a couple of shots of Jaws from Wednesday.

Remember what I said about long period waves being more throwy? You don't want to get hit by that lip. Photo by John Patao.

Photographer Erik Aeder posted this shot with the following caption: "Kai Lenny drawing lines you could not on a 9 ft. gun..... sometimes I miss the constant action of the tow days."

Buoys are slowly trending down, even though Pauwela is stubbornly showing pretty high readings like 7.5ft @ 13s from 321° (NW) at 4am. That makes me question my plan of surfing Hookipa, hopefully in a couple of hours it will be less than that. At 13s, I prefer 6f. With light offshore and dressing on the side, please.

The Volcom Pipe Pro started yesterday.

Wind maps shows a nice solid NW fetch. That's the one for Monday's swell that is forecasted around 9f 15s.

I keep seeing fetches down south, even though Pat Caldwell says "No surf is expected from the southern hemisphere through the period and into the long range."
We'll find out in a week.

MC2km at noon shows light trades up the coast. Might be enough for sailing, but the 10 men rule might be in effect all day at Hookipa.

Friday, January 29, 2016

7am Hookipa is doh too often for my taste.

1 29 16 morning call

One day of surfing clean 25s waves and I'm already spoiled.

The swell peaked during last night and the status of the ocean this morning was an absolute mess. At least compared to what it was yesterday morning when I had my sessions. Unless you're at Jaws or any outer reefs, the breaks closer to the shore do suffer from all the water that's been moved by a big consistent swell. Just like in life, no time to settle down is not a good thing.
So I couldn't find anything that pleased me, drove all the way to the other side (photos below), didn't like anything over there either (for different reasons though) and ended up doing a power hour of surfing with some friends at Paia Bay.

Paia Bay power hour rules (by yourself or with friends, doesn't matter): you try to catch as many waves as possible. A wave counts when you get on your feet and make the drop in control (wipeouts in the drop don't count). Whoever gets the most waves in 60 minutes wins. I find it a motivating way of surfing Paia Bay, which I consider one of the most difficult places to surf well on the island. The read is so challenging. I had results varying from 0 to over 20... it's totally random (just like the waves) and for sure the more you surf it, the better you get at it. Russ killed it yesterday, I scored a decent 5, but I had a new board to try and, believe it or not, I still know nothing about it after those 5 waves... will look for something better today.

As expected, a ton of photos from Jaws (two days ago at sunset and yesterday morning) flooded the internet. I started going through them, but then I realized I was never gonna end, so I stopped after I picked the first three. Sorry, time is a limited resource.

Let's start with Andrea Moeller, who was pretty happy to have survived the wipeout that is coming from above on this massive one. I'm glad someone tow surfed it. Photo by Erik Aeder.

This photo by Cuda Shots shows Jaws paddle-in pioneer Marcio Freire dropping into a massive left. I tried to imagine the vision and the feeling of a drop like that, but there's no way I can get close to what he's seeing/feeling. That's a good thing, I might have escaped a heart attack in front of the computer.

In this photo by John Bruder (congrats for making the blog!), what looks like Ian Walsh sets a lovely line to get barreled in that UPcoming section.

Enough Jaws photos for today, but it's with extreme pleasure that I post Jake Miller's video of it. That's when you have a better feeling of how it was. And it was like I was guessing yesterday. Tons of gnarly wipeouts due to waves too big/fast to be caught paddling. Kudos to all the surfers out there for trying. Brave and skilled, that's for sure. Enjoy the carnage.

Big and Mean- Jaws strikes again! January 27, 2016 by Xensr from Xensr on Vimeo.

A few shots from my west side trip. This guy demonstrates how to set the line for the barrel at the Bay: 1) turn at the bottom of a meaty one,

2) hit the breaks to be in the right spot when that lip is going to come down,

3) get barreled (he did and came out).

A few inside barrels from another spot.

Everyone looking into the belly of an empty one that swung wide.

Buoys show a downward trend and that is going to be the rule until Monday, but still plenty size in the water with Pauwela reading at 5am:
8.3ft @ 15s from 324° (NW)
4.1ft @ 11s from 327° (NW)

I normally don't surf Hookipa at that size (specially out of shape as I am!), so this is a case in which the buoys could help the planning. Provided I finish this post early enough, in fact, I could leave in the dark without the need to check it. Waiting for the light so you can check the webcams does offer other advantages though. We'll see what happens.

"How big is that?", I get asked many times. It's 8f 15s, what else do you want to know! You have to learn what that translates into your favorite scale (from the front, from the back, Hawaiian feet, Italian feet or whatever else) and into your particular spot to know the answer.
You guys know I like to measure wave faces with body parts, and often I find my measurements different from buddies sitting next to me on the guardrail looking at the same waves.
All those estimates are extremely personal and subjective. 8f 15s from 324 is objective and true for everyone. That's why I called the Surfline buoy link "the Bible". At least, that's my bible.

The Volcom Pipe Pro might start today. Watch that too so you'll know what Pipe looks like with whatever is showing at the Waimea buoy. The sunset even was run without a streaming broadcast instead.
Wind maps shows a solid NW fetch (swell on Monday).
The southern part also shows a small fetch that could awaken the south shore that has been dormant for the last week or so. It should get better tomorrow, I'll keep an eye on it.
MC2km map at noon shows variable winds, with possible onshore sea breezes. Much better earlier at dawn with offshore land breezes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

1 28 morning call

Yesterday was a very special day of big waves.

What made it so special is that the period of the waves was bigger than usual thanks to a wide area of hurricane force winds in the originating fetch. At noon Hanalei was reading 20f 20s and that is very rare.

As the open ocean speed table below shows, the longer the period the faster the waves travel and even though they all slow down when they start feeling the bottom, the longer period ones are still faster than the shorter period ones when they break.





When a wave starts feeling the bottom, its lower part slows down while the upper part keeps travelling at the original speed. So the faster they travel, the more throwy (and possibly barreling) the lip will be.
Most of the shots of Jaws from yesterday that I've seen so far are wipeouts. Like this one below that shows Maui surfer Tom Dosland putting his leash (and leg) at serious test. Photo by Jimmie Hepp.

But what I'm saying will become much clearer by watching the video of the same wave.
He did everything right. That wave was just moving too fast. And from what I read, 80% of them were. This would have been a good tow day. Talking about which, some very interesting comments about his Jaws quiver from Albee Layer in this article.

There were some successful rides though, like this one below. Photo by Rick Leeks.

Meanwhile, my friend Loch Eggers was catching bombs like this at a outer reef he calls "bottom turns". Sick shot.

There's other things that long period waves do differently when they break and it's all related to their speed. They suck the water in front of them in a much stronger way and they jack up a lot more.
Below is a photo I took yesterday at a north shore break around 9ish. That wave belongs to the old NW swell that was still in the water in the early morning and I counted the period as 12s. Notice how relatively soft, mushy and slopy it is.

These are shots I took around noon at another spot. A completely different beast.

I surfed a nearby spot and some sets were at least 25s. I was paddling for a wave that looked chest high and by the time I got on my feet and dropped all the way to the bottom it was well overhead.

That looks like an Indo A-Frame and the guy stuck the drop.

For some reasons that I'm not even gonna try to analyze, the Hanalei buoy had higher readings than the NW one, so I'll put it as the first one in the usual three buoys graph below (notice the different scale). The other two are Waimea and Pauwela and you can see how much energy was lost with travelling and refraction (3 and 5 feet respectively).
All of the buoys are slowly trending down, but with readings of 13.9ft @ 18s from 331° (NNW) at 4am at Pauwela, I wouldn't call that small by any means. Hookipa will still be closed out and you will have to look for spots that are not hit directly.

I might have to go take photos at Honolua after I tire myself with too many sessions. BTW, I'm looking for Honolua photographers that are willing to share their photos on this blog, please contact me on facebook for that. What I give in exchange is a link to their facebook page and that means they're gonna get more traffic and be ranked higher in the search engines algorithms.
Which is the same reason why I have advertising customers that buy banners.
BTW, the number of readers keeps steadily going uo (23,811 last month), thanks everyone for reading.

Wind map shows a new beautiful NW fetch that is going to send us the next swell on Monday.

MC2km map at noon shows a lovely light SE flow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

7am Hookipa still has doh sets with guys sitting wide at middles. No wind

1 27 16 morning call

Yesterday was yet another beautiful day of big waves and light wind on the north shore of Maui.

If you could handle the size, Hookipa offered some intense emotions. Photo by Jimmie Hepp.

The outer reefs were going off too. This is Chris Pagdilao in a photo by Tomoko Okazaki.

I don't like big waves (I get injured enough with the small ones), so I picked a more manageable head high spot for the morning session. SUP session at sunset was even better.

Read Pat Caldwell if you want to know the complex development of the fetches contributing to today's swell. At the same time (maybe in another window), grab this blog and scroll down to check the wind map of days he's talking about. That would be a analytical approach.
A more empirical approach would be to just check the buoys and act consequently. I like both.

NW buoy finally back to showing some long period readings. I put an arrow on a reading that seems to be 7f 20s at midnight. Direction has been around 300 and that should take a little less time compared to the usual 320ish, so I'm gonna guess that the same energy should get to Maui by noon. That seems way too fast, but we'll see if the formulas are right.

In the meantime, at 5am Pauwela reads
7.3ft @ 13s from 325° (NW)
2.0ft @ 9s from 334° (NNW)
0.7ft @ 25s from 326° (NW)
so I definitely recommend to focus on the first reading ("leftover" of yesterday's swell) to choose the spot for the first session in the early morning. From mid morning on, keep a close eye on the buoys if you don't want to get caught into bigger surf than you expected.
Definitely a Jaws day in the afternoon and so it will be tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, the peak is during the night.

Other 5am readings worth mentioning:
Hanalei 4.1ft @ 22s from 321° (NW) (holy crap, those long periods really travel fast!)
Barbers 0.7ft @ 25s from 296° (WNW)

BTW, together with a few webcams, the surfline buoy page (link n.11) is one of the staples of my smart phone internet favorites. It's very light, easy to read and it loads even when the signal is pretty weak and it tells what is in the water (or what was an hour before). 
Wind map shows an extremely wide but not too intense fetch that occupies the whole Pacific Ocean NW of us. The more intense part is the one now aiming at the mainland's west coast and that in the past few days generated today's big swell. New low pressure is going to form out of the air coming from mainland Asia off the north of Japan. Related swell is forecasted for Monday at 10f 15s.

MC2km map not updated yet, but I see a lovely SE light flow. Happy spot hunting everybody!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1 26 16 morning call

Yesterday was a very happy day: I felt like I finally have 100% of my freedom back. I have to use my weird rib-bra, but I can surf.

Much more of that later, let me open the call with a photo by Jimmie Hepp who caught Francisco Porcella with one of his Jaws boards practicing at Lanes before it got out of control and ugly.

Having the possibility to surf, I can plan my sessions again without restrictions. Yesterday's plan turned out to be pretty good. This is the first spot I surfed. This swell started super clean, but around mid morning the northerly wind picked up and in the afternoon mixed periods/directions started to arrive on top of the long period forerunners and ruined it. At least on the north shore. I've seen picture of the west side bombing at sunset.

This is the second spot I surfed.

The weird thing inside my wetsuit is this weird thing below. In those holes, my lowest ribs can "float" without touching the board while I paddle. Which is the reasons why I needed a custom solution instead of a rib protection inflatable jacket or similar.
My cartilage has healed a lot since Nov. 5th, but it's mostly scar tissue that built around the lesion and it feels like a ding fixed with the ding stick instead of a proper fix. It will keep building for another year I've been told, and at the moment I don't feel like putting it a risk by loading it with my weight.

Here's the layers I have to wear: a lycra and a neoprene tank top to avoid rashes, the thing, the wetsuit.
Thanks to the ribs' bays (my left ribs stick out a lot), the thing is pretty well anchored and it doesn't move much inside the wetsuit.
But it's foam, so when it's time to put the head down and paddle like there's no tomorrow, it squeezes a bit and I'm a little wobbly while I paddle. I'm getting used though.

And I'm very happy. I'm just happy to be out there, I don't even care if I catch a wave or not.
That's a good thing, because my surfing is so rusty that there's not much to be happy about it instead!

This instead is a video I posted on this blog January 26 2011. The archive is one of my favorite features of this blogging platform, since all the stuff I posted in the last 10 years is there and can be accessed any time. Like a permanent online diary.

The graphs of the three buoys all show a double hump, but the Pauwela's second hump is still going up! That can be due to the fact that the biggest part of the swell is missing us to the NE, which seems to be confirmed also by higher numbers at the N buoy.
At 3am Pauwela reads 13.6ft @ 14s from 325° (NW), no wonder the west side was firing.
Notice also how the NW buoy went back to a WNW direction around noon yesterday.

Wind map shows the big NW fetch responsible for Wednesday's swell and a new WNW one coming off Japan.

MC2km map at noon shows a lovely southerly flow.