May 2-May 8, 2020

May 3, 2020

M– mentioned he might be able to surf this morning, so I headed for Mahaʻulepu, hoping the wind wouldn’t be too bad. The low tide bottomed out at -0.07 feet at 7:14 this morning, which meant a rising tide. I love catching Mahaʻulepu just after a really low tide. The skies were blue, dotted with the typical trade wind white clouds. The sun was still low enough when I parked, around 8:45, to make the waters sparkle grey and black, turning the clear blues and greens opaque. The wind rushing sideshore, almost offshore, textured the ocean, the sunlight low, blazing off of liquid, always in motion, broken glass. I texted M– a general rundown: “Little bit of a wave. Two people out. Headed down the hill.” And then I indeed headed down the hill.

By the time I had put my bag and towel on the tree and peed, M– was stepping up the bluff to join me under the iron woods, formerly Hale Nalu. We chatted a bit, waxed up, and then he headed his way and I headed for my favored walk across the reef. The water was perfect, cool under the warm sun, and the current wasn’t too bad. M– and I reconvened out at the break, chatting briefly with the two guys out; one a doctor from urgent care that M– knew and the other that guy I surfed with at Playgrounds who was planning his trip to Indo. I suppose that was canceled along with the rest of the world. They headed in shortly and we enjoyed the break to ourselves for the next hour.

The waves were pleasant, not super consistent but the waits weren’t too long either. We found many fun rides to salt and pepper our conversation which ranged from children to viruses to building boards and other ways to positively spend a life. Eventually we were visited by three spear fishermen, lazily drifting and diving through the lineup, an unusual occurrence. M– paddled in after an hour, shortly behind the divers, on the end of a decent left, and I stayed for another hour or so, alone. 

***

“All our waves are water.”
    -Jaimal Yogis

Even the waves of joy and pain and grief, the waves of interest and focus, of apathy or disgust, the waves of pleasure and mourning, the ones we ride, the ones we watch, all our waves are water, as are we.

***

Hoʻopiʻi Falls between surfs

May 8, 2020

The low tide was around 9:30 this morning, bottoming out just under -0.4 feet, one of the lowest tides of the year. The full moon, Mahealani, set at 7:09 this morning, dragging the tides along behind it. Today the trades continued to bless us with beautiful skies, blues and whites, helping the sun to shine through the salt thick air.

S– headed for Waiohai. M– headed to court. C– suggested Mahaʻulepu. Those winds though suggested that nowhere would be great. As I drove past Wailua, looked out at Makaʻiwa, I could see there was no real swell making it to shore. I still held out hope that there would be a mystery bump down at Mahaʻulepu but when I pulled up at about 11:45, Erinʻs Motherʻs Day Cake chilling in the cooler, I could tell there wasn’t much happening. The tide was still super low, which down here limits how much of the swell makes it in and changes where it breaks. I sat and watched for five minutes, ten, twenty, and was still not convinced anything was rideable. The wind was smoothing out the seas, holding up any swell that looked like it might break in time, and the waves were pushed way inside, breaking deeper than usual, across the entire shallow shelf, effectively a whole rideʻs length closer to shore.

I decided to head down and just paddle around, maybe head out past the outside reef to work my arms and back. C– arrived just after I made it to the adjusted lineup, his hoodie up, protecting his skull from the sun. Surfing any wave is fun, more fun than it looks. Despite the looks from shore, I found wave after wave and was surprised on each one by the novelty of a peak I know better than any showing me something different. Since the waves were pushed so deep, almost to the house, and the tide was so low, the rides were reeling off in unexpected ways. 

I found a few bowling sections, a few sections of face to hack at, and few times I could lay back and tuck under the lip, all with the wind blowing sea salt in my face. Over the two hours, C– and I talked about work, kids, the virus, always the virus, and even found a few mini-bombs rolling through. We did not talk about mother’s day, but I wished K–and L– a happy day as I drifted between waves.

“Was it good?” S– texted later. “It was fun,” is my response. “Lucky to be in the ocean.”

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