August 31-September 6, 2020

The seventh month is number nine right now, called hærfestmonað or haligmonað in Old English, the “harvest month” or the “holy month.” Hawaiians counted time by nights, not days or months, by the moons, each with its own name, to know when to plant or fish or rest.

And what else about September…? The fucking Green Day song, of course.

As I think about this month ahead, I reread the epigraph from We Gon’ Be Alright, “…and all of this for you is fuel/like September kiawe./You vow to write so hard/the paper burns.” And I don’t know if kiawe is different during this month, but my feet still ache when I recall the thorns that have reminded me to tread carefully in the sand, and so we walk across this month, exiting summer.

September 2, 2020

The winds were light last night and this morning. I had a hope of finding some fun waves at Playgrounds or Anchors or Wailua Kai. But the tide was too high for Playgrounds, the swell backed down too much for Wailua, and the wind picked up just enough to blow Anchors out. I ended up at Kealia, looking at thick closeouts pitching off of the sandbars. The moon was full last night and high tide was on its way, over 2 feet at 4:00, and the sandbars did not seem to be working well, but I paddled out to be in the salt and the sun.

As usual, the waves here, on the sandbars between the lifeguard tower and the river mouth, are heavy and thick, pitching way out in front, closing out or ripping down the line. I was able to find one or two corners and some runners, but mostly I pulled into closeouts or dodged lunging lips. A quick and hectic 90 minutes of fun.

September 5, 2020

The moon is still large, but dipping down towards three quarters full, and it hung low in the western sky as I sat looking at Kukuiʻula Harbor. High tide passed around 6:00 this morning, peaking at 1.41 feet above sea level, and a long period south swell was filling in. Centers looked good, but crowded. Acids wasn’t working because of the tide, I think. I had hopes that Honus would be fun, but I didn’t see much besides the white fading moon and a bunch of retirees in blue shirts and runnerʻs numbers fast walking past my truck window. I headed for Mahaʻulepu, into the wind, expecting nothing, chastising myself for not heading into the crowd out at Centers, which was legitimately fun looking.

At Mahaʻulepu, a family was fishing on the rocks near the river mouth. I walked past quickly, the moon lower behind me now as the sun rose up the east. I paddled out just past 9:00, into the dropping tide and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the waves that made it through. No east swell was working, but some of the south snuck in, reeling off the reef in nice, long, clean rides with perfect pocket sections and big open faces for turns. The waves also packed a pleasant amount of power, a rarity here. Mostly I was making fun slashes and cutbacks, with a few floaters and stalls mixed in. 

The water was not clear today, on the inside, but it shone translucent green on the outside. Turtles were everywhere, one or two popping up right next to me, close enough that I could hear them gulp air before they ducked back down. After one wave, I was startled by a huge black shadow in the swell in front of me, and then two triangles of fin peaked up above the water and I could make out the silhouette of a spotted eagle ray as it swam past me, just a few feet away. Its fins, black and grey, spotted, looked just like Hihimanu over Hanalei town but under water, over the reef, the sky the ocean now.

I’ve never taken the time to wonder if eagle rays are dangerous but now I do as I lose track of the flying swimming creature, a mountain in the sea. Later, I sing that Pixiesʻ song to calm myself.

After almost two hours, a woman paddled out. I recognized her from a few weeks ago, in her same suit, beautiful in the sun and water, an intricate tattoo spilling down her right shoulder and arm. She chatted with me a bit. I caught a few more, and headed in. As I walked up the shore, past her stuff, I noted her phone set up. She was recording herself surfing, which means Iʻd made a cameo in her video. I had fun today, ripping some nice turns and cutbacks, but I wonder how I awkward I look through someone elseʻs lens.

***

After lunch at home with the girls, Erin, and Cosmo, I took Violet and Evora to Lae Nani. C— and his kids were there. We spent a few hours enjoying the epically beautiful day. Both girls asked me to paddle them out to catch waves out on the rock piles. Violet and I caught two long ones. Evora and I struggled a bit, but had fun teasing the swells and spotting turtles. We ended up catching one closer to the kiddie pool. When the kids were off in the rocks, I paddled back and caught two of my own, taking one in from the rock pile all the way to the blowhole. I then set up in the shallows outside the kiddie pool and found a fun little left. I slid just past the rocks then hooked back towards shore, a foot or two from the rock wall.

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