May 30-June 6, 2020

May 31, 2020

The moon was inching past half full and the low tide was just below 0 at about 5:50 this morning. High tide topped out at 1.17 feet at 12:39 p.m. The trades were blowing, moderately, cooling the day. We all went down to Mahaʻulepu, with a stop at Konohiki for musubi and chi chi dango and then Walmart for a honu floaty. I dropped the girls and Erin off at Keoneloa Bay so they could hike in and I parked over near the stables. I hauled my 7’ single fin down the hill, along with the Beater board, the waterbottle, and the snacks.

The waves were a bit warbly, the tide already high enough to send a backwash out across the reef, but I had fun anyway, as usual. The first few waves were decent in size, but soft and slow. It felt like surfing in mud compared to that tiny Vanguard out at Anchors the other day. As the swell shifted and the tide continued its rise, the waves began breaking closer in, causing them to bowl up and speed up down the line. The bottom dropped out of a few, letting me drop down into the hollow section, with one arm on the face of the wave as it peeled over me, and the other grabbing the rail. I remember the tail releasing on one wave as I grabbed rail on the inside and then feeling it catch again as the lip covered me and I glided out the back.

I paddled in when Erin and the girls walked up to the trees, Evora waving and Violet yelling “Hi! Dad!” As is usual now, especially with Violet, they immediately needed everything: a snack, the ants off the banana, some water, the floaty blown up, dad to swim with, the Beater in water. Somehow we weathered the storm of requests and enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach, swimming, floating, bodyboarding with Violet on my back, catching waves on the honu, dodging rocks.

As everyone was wrapping up their last swim, I paddled the Beater out across the reef and over to the main break, just to mess around. By this time, the tide was so high, the waves were breaking well up on the main ledge. I had a surprising amount of fun catching these hollow little runners in inches of water, no wax, no leash, no problem.

***

The month of June might be named for the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter. Or it might be a variant of the Latin word iuniores, meaning younger ones, as opposed to May’s nod to the older ones, maiores. The Old English word for this month, a word I can’t pronounce or seem to replicate on the keyboard, means “earlier mildness.” Perfect for the time of year that holds the coming of summer not yet here and the later mildness, or extremes, before summer actually arrives, just hinting at the way the year might age. This month is the inverse of December, carrying the longest day to oppose December’s shortest. 

“Pegging clothing on the line
Training jasmine how to vine
Up the arbor to your door
And more”
“The truth is I've been dreaming of some tired tranquil place
Where the weather won't get trapped inside my bones
And if all the years of searching find one sympathetic face
Then it's there I will plant these seeds and make my home”

My daughter and my grandmother and the month before summer.

June 1, 2020

No surfing today. We left early to take the family to Lumahai. Ke Hala Hala, actually, just around the corner from Waikoko’s. We got to the beach by 8:15 and had it almost to ourselves. I haven’t been here for 17 years, when Erin and I made a brief visit during the spring we spent here before grad school. Today we, Erin, me, Violet, and Evora, spent the day swimming, bodysurfing, and cliff jumping. Not a bad way to welcome in the earlier mildness.

June 2, 2020

The moon is waxing, approaching full, and the high tide is over 2 feet today, in early afternoon, just when I have a few hours to run down to the water. The south swell is rising to advisory heights but I only have time for an east side surf. The winds are light enough, so I head to Anchors again, this time with Tudor twin fin.

The combination of the high tide and the large south swell makes the break a bit of a mess. Waves are coming in at all angles, across each other, splitting apart into two or three different waves, or even one large wave breaking on top as another wave sucks up and breaks half way down the face. Each weird wave was still sucking off and exploding back on to that ledge that makes the wave so fun, when it works. I managed to find a few fun lefts amidst all the cross swell. 

My last wave came in around head high and then the bottom dropped out, as I expected, adding a few feet to the face. I made the drop and only had time to pump down the line, away from the lip, so I could make the section. Then the whole wave bent to the north, at almost a right angle. I made a huge, long top turn as the wave curved quickly, perpendicular to the shore, like making the turn at the top of a skate pool. With that strange ride behind me, I paddled home.

June 3, 2020

The moon is closer to full, the tide even higher, again exactly when we decide to head to the beach, right after lunch. Erin and I meet C– down at Lae Nani around 1:00, mostly to hang out for the first time since before quarantine. I brought the twin fin and the Beater board, mostly for Violet. There was a decent wave at Makaʻiwa, in front of the restaurant, but I didn’t paddle out. I just enjoyed talking story, sitting in the shade, and swimming with the kids.

Once Violet had abandoned the Beater board, I paddled out to the edge of the kiddy pool and waited for a set, more of that south energy surging in. I found two fun little runners, one had enough face for me to make the bottom turn and a small cut back, before gliding me all the way in to shore, just along the rock wall. Some girl gasped as I went by, “Oh, surfing” and I didn’t know what to think about that.

June 5, 2020

Low tide was at 8:31 this morning, at -0.42 feet, rising all day to a high of 2.29 feet at 4:13 this afternoon. The south swell was still maxing out, through the day, coming in consistently at 6-8 feet, occasionally 10 feet. Today is the first day of the full moon, called Akua. Tomorrow is Hoku. The final day is Mahealani. If the full moon is still in the sky tomorrow morning, it will be called Hoku ili, the stranded moon.

M– was working today. C– had the kids. S– never responded. Erin took the girls to meet some friends at Tunnels. I headed south to see if I could finally get into some decent south swell. As I rolled down the road towards NTBG, Smokeys came into view, then the condos and the restaurant block my sight line, then PKs, and Centers, and Acid Drops, with Heroins and Kukuiʻula in the distance. The road was covered with sand and gravel from the swell pushing yesterday’s high tide up over the wall. I watched Acids for a few minutes. Two people were out, a sure sign that it wasn’t really working. When the sets rolled in, they were way up toward the reef at Centers, almost across the channel, which is another sure sign that the wave isn’t working. Acids breaks deep, off a ledge in the middle of deep water, the wave drops and peels and pitches over, usually spitting as the barrel reaches the bend before the last section runs out into the inside lagoon. Today, it looked wrong, sideways, closing out. I moved on.

I parked at Kukuiʻula harbor at about 9:25 to watch my little unnamed wave underneath Spouting Horn. I could see the sets rolling in, breaking off the lava bench, so I suited up and paddled out, after one more sip of coffee. The low tide was causing the water to boil with every swell and the deep waves, breaking close to the bench, were dropping out in sickening barrels. Not for me. I briefly thought about paddling back and heading to Mahaʻulepu, but I stayed out. And I am glad that I did.

I soon found that the sets were breaking a bit away from the rock, east towards the boat harbor. These waves, the best of them, were pleasingly large and powerful, some with great bowling sections and huge swaths of face to glide across. I surfed for three hours, constantly paddling due to the current, but also constantly catching waves. A few were lackluster, most were great, and a few were nearly epic, providing a perfect combination of size and face. The twin fin was the right call for this wave today, giving me plenty of paddle and plenty of speed and many fun fish tail slides and cutbacks. Before heading in, I tried to get in close enough to the lava bench to paddle into one of the barreling trains that were cutting across the shallows. I got into a smallish one, just chest or head high, and took off in the barrel, the lip immediately curling over me as I felt that escalator lift that M– talks about before I sped off into the flats to safety.

On the paddle back, I stayed close to the rocky shore, avoiding the worst of the current. I caught a little right into the tiny bay on the east side, just before the rock pile that sticks out. Then I continued to the point of that center reef and caught one more weird little wave, mostly just an assist towards the distant shore.

Two huge turtles were hauled up on the pocket beach the whole time I surfed. A few more had visited me in the water. The wave here is big and sloping, with nooks and pockets and bowls that come and go as the swell rolls from shallow spot to shallow spot separated by deep. I think of this wave as Honus.

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