Pipeline Paddling -- 3/11/01
Decisions, decisions. A large swell (10-15 ft Haw'n) was expected on Friday, tapering throughout the weekend, with another one coming in on Sunday eve. In the meantime, the winds were expected to peak on Saturday at 15-30 mph. Should I surf the Westside on Saturday morn, or chance a Country run on Sunday? I chose the latter.
As it turned out, the surf didn't really become mega-huge on Saturday, and the winds were strong, but manageable. Sunday's surf was looking pretty dismal with the declining swell. Little did I know that the new swell would be arriving just a bit early.
At the Beach Park, I found that some idiots nabbed the toilet paper from the bathroom and threw it all over the place. Spent a little while cleaning up the mess. Part of it was self-serving--had the pre-surf "anxieties."
Paddled out in the dark and had Pipeline by myself for a half hour. Surf was overhead, but not over-threatening. A few larger-than-expected peaks caught me out of position and did give me the chills, but I think it as just nerves from being alone and reacquainting myself to the conditions.
Took off on some sweet shoulders with lots of power. Nothing super critical, but really fun nonetheless.
Then the crowd came out. Four surfers paddled out and sat right on top of me. WTF!?!
In the short term, it actually was a good thing. The crew pushed me deep and made me take off really late on a nice one. Kind of backdoored a section into a clean, dry, deep tube. Yeah!
Unfortunately, the long term effect of the increased crowd totally reduced my waves/hour quota significantly.
I made several trips to the beach, awaiting the rest of the crew. Unfortunately, each time I went in, it was a false alarm. Actually this turned into a kind of good thing, because the surf was surprisingly rising, and each time I paddled out was became more and more difficult. The channel started kicking stronger and stronger, and the sandbar eventually was closing out. It was a great way to rebuild my confidence in my paddling ability.
Sharing the lineup with me was Jack "The Ripper" Lindholm. After what, 25 years, the man still got it, dropping in late in his patented "Jackstance," flowing through barrel after barrel.
Later on, a familiar face paddled out. It was none other than Fabian, one of Makani's friends. We surfed together for quite a while, with him charging some big ones.
Eventually I went in to find out what happened to Buddy. When I called, I found out that he had a bout with his non-sleeping son, so wasn't going to make it out. Not a big deal.
Since I still had some time to kill, I decided to go for one more short session. Walking on the beach, I had the pleasure to witness a bodyboarder get viciously axed trying to straighten out on an eight footer. Shudder!
Also saw Fabian get a massive set. Sketch takeoff, good bottom turn right into a double-up section. Fabe decided to take the low road and drop into the heaving section, getting an even meaner wall. Ended the ride with an el rollo. All that riding in typhoon surf in Okinawa has paid off.
I put on my gear and waited for a break in the swell. I waited, and waited and waited. The surf was pounding with very few waves being ridden.
After ten or 15 minutes of waiting, I almost gave up because the surf was shutting down. I even went so far as to take off one of my fins in surrender. Just then, a window of opportunity showed up. I quickly put my fin back on and raced out, unscathed.
That series of waves must've been a freak because the next hour of my session didn't seem as big, although it was pushing my comfort zone. I ended up catching only like two or three waves on that go-out, but it was still good paddling around and exercising the body, specifically the achilles.
Coming back in, I talked story for quite a while with Jack in the parking lot. He mentioned that some hardcore guy had lost his fin in the surf and was asking around for an extra one. Just so happened that Jack had his size so he bought it off of Jack.
I later found out that that "core" guy was none other than Fabian. I couldn't agree with Jack more.
Good fun, but tense session. Even paddling around can be a good experience.
Aloha from Paradise,