June 7-June 13, 2020

June 7, 2020

Yesterday, the moon was Kulua, or Kulu, to drop or pass, as time does. Today the moon is one day closer to new and the tides are still swinging from below zero in the morning to almost 2.5 feet in the afternoon.

I met M– on the road in front of Acids around 8:15 this morning. The south swell was gone and what waves were coming through were crumbly, so we headed for Maha’ulepu, where I hoped the east swell I saw on the buoys would finally give us a proper session out there. We were not disappointed.

Two of the Wilcox Hospital crew were out when we got to the line up, around 8:40. They chatted amiably for a bit about how fun the waves were, and then they headed to work. M– and I spent the next few hours talking and surfing. The current was brisk but not overwhelming, the wind was steady but not too strong, the water was clear, blue green, and the waves were consistent, no lulls. Most of the sets were head high but a few came in overhead. This was not a day of weaving from pocket to pocket all the way across the last section of inches deep water; no barrels or ramps today. Just big faces for big turns.

At one point, I took off late on a big set wave. I made the drop but just couldn’t get my balance right to make the bottom turn. I faded, crouched, the whole way down the face, and finally bailed at the bottom, only to be sucked back up and over as the wave passed. I climbed my leash up to the surface and had a split second to breathe before the next one came down on me. This time my feet hit the bottom as I felt my leash snap. Luckily my board popped out of the foam a few feet away as I broke the surface. No damage done, except the broken leash strap, but I did take a slow and wide paddle back to the line up, catching my breath.

M– headed in at that point and I carefully caught a few more rights, leashless now, before finding a nice left and heading for the shore as well.

What do we talk about in the water? Kids, school, fences, dogs, partners, all conversation colored now by the virus. An ʻiwa bird flew over, a perfect silhouette across the blue and white sky. I think about K– and L– randomly, when I am at the river, or the ocean, or see a bird like that and my heart drops and waves pass, as time does.

June 12, 2020

The rain last night was hard and the skies were still wet as the sun woke us up. The plan today was a family beach day at Waiohai, or more accurately, the strip of sand in front of the Waiohai Resort. The tide today was mostly flat, rising from a low of .25 feet at 4:28 a.m. to a high of .7 feet at almost 11:00 and then to the second low of .6 feet at 2:15 p.m. The moon today is just a bit over half full, waning, and the winds were brisk.

We made it to the beach around 8:45, maybe 9:00. The sands were mostly empty, as was the lineup. I immediately saw the large east swell wrapping in around the rocky point off the former tombolo, lighting up the rights out on the reef, with Left Lefts also working. There was one person at the main break and a family pack of bodyboarders headed out to Left Lefts. I haven’t seen the wave at Waiohai this empty…ever, maybe. I quickly got ready and paddled out, into the blues. I paddled over a turtle, over the sand, the reef, noticing that what I once thought was a long haul, seemed short, after all my days at Anchors and Honus.

I spent about two hours surfing and the crowd never got over five, unheard of here. There was the woman we passed in the parking lot, in her purple and black shorty wetsuit, her face painted white with sunblock, reminiscent of Dylan in the Rolling Thunder Review but without the hat. The bald white guy trying to catch lefts, closer to Sheratons, stayed mostly over there. An older local guy covered in tattoos joined us, with his strange pop up style. Every wave, he had a hitch in his pop up, with his feet close together, one arm up and bent, knees almost meeting, until he shifted into a more traditional stance. He looked like a study in retro surf, but somehow here on a modern shortboard. Eventually he told me he was feeling off and he couldn’t get his feet right when he popped up today. So, not style, just not feeling it. A couple of longboarders rounded out the crowded at it largest, one of them that guy with the sides of his head shaved and his sun blond hair on top hanging over, Zach Morris style, except this guy is huge, with a hulking, hairy, somewhat hunched back, and tiny lavender professional wrestling shorts. Everyone was friendly and chatty, normal for out here, as I remember, and every one was sharing waves, not so normal.

I found plenty of fun rides today. The sets were large, well over head, some coming in too close to Left Lefts and closing out, but many were setting up perfectly, with open faces and long rides down the line to the shallow inside sections. I took off late on one set wave, under the lip, and surprised myself with an unexpected, though brief, barrel ride. Another wave set me up to try boosting a little air, like I do at Mahaʻulepu. I carried way more speed into it than I anticipated and found myself well above the lip, possibly with an assist from the wind. I landed it, another surprise.

The wind never bothered the waves but did bring some rain. I saw the black clouds headed our way and thought about heading in to help Erin and the girls find a dry place to hide from the sprinkles, but before I could make up my mind, the rain arrived, not a sprinkle, but huge, fat, heavy rain. Nothing to do but get rained on. The shower passed as quickly as it arrived and the rest of our day was breezy and sunny. 

I paddled with Violet across the bay to the little island, a long way for a 7 year old. We found some cool tide pools with rushing water from one to the next. She found some shells and rocks and on our way to cross back to shore, we found a huge sleeping honu, right there with us on the sand. Later, when we were exploring the little tide pools by the chlorinated one, we found lots of tiny fish and a beautiful baby eel. It opened its mouth and sneered, I think, curled itself, and slitherswam away.

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