September 7-September 13, 2020

September 9, 2020

I decided to leave work early today so I could paddle around. There is only one low tide today, around 1:30 this afternoon, bottoming out close to .3 feet. The moon is halfway to new and I wonder if the long flat tides, showing up as only one low and one high, correlate to this time of the moon. The trades are up today, not super strong, but steady and there is no real swell around, just background wind swell and a dying SSW.

I decided to just paddle out at Makaʻiwa, not expecting much. The shoreline is still piled with hundreds of sticks and not a few huge tree trunks, but the water is clear and perfect. I head out to an empty line up and immediately catch a long, shoulder high left that takes me almost all the way to the heiau. Happy, I paddle back, directly into a steep right. I duck under the lip for a quick barrel and then sit in the pocket the rest of the way. Two fun waves before five minutes is up, before I even made it out to the line up, really. 

Eventually a large-ish white guy paddled out on an overly large long board. I could smell his sunblock from 30 yards away and he annoyed me before he was even close. We spent the rest of the session not acknowledging each other. I think he was mad or embarrassed about bailing on a wave when he tried to cut me off. Nothing to argue about. The waves were mostly slop.

I did find one nearly perfect Makaʻiwa right. I popped up just behind the peak and watched it bend as the bottom dropped. I tucked under the lip and came out to a big empty face to carve, then another steep section and the final fade into the flats. When the sunscreen guyʻs friend paddled out and started jabbering about fires and BLM and Colorado gummies, I headed in to rinse off.

September 11, 2020

Nineteen years ago we know what happened. I remember not understanding what V— was telling me about the world trade center. I remember not understanding that my coworkers were still going in to work. I remember not being able to find A— or M— for a few days. They fled to the west coast not long after.

Twenty eight years ago my parents were on the mainland with David. The sirens woke me up early and I had to get the house ready so my sister and I could be safe. My grandparents stopped by and tried to take us to Kalihiwai, but I turned them down. Their house was half glass that shattered and pierced June’s artery in her leg. The sheet that Dale wrapped her in became so heavy with her blood, they didn’t need us to carry around, too. I made it to the farm somehow to lock the animals out of the barn and back at home I brought all the dogs and cats inside. Sarah and I hid down in the hallway at the bottom of the house away from the large windows and sliding glass doors.

Thirty one years ago I learned to surf at Makaʻiwa with Sara V, where I went today. Paddling around the shallow ledges, tucking into fast, bending barrels, snapping the tops off the open faces was a nice way to be alive today.

September 13, 2020

When I took the dog outside this morning, around 5:40, the almost new moon hung low and bright in the eastern sky, Venus just below it and slightly to the right, nearly as bright, burning a whole in the blue black of almost sunrise. Low tide was just before 6:00 a.m. and high tide was just after 1:00, topping out over 2 feet. With the dying, or dead, south swell and no real east swell, I did not expect much, but the winds were light all day, keeping the conditions clean, at least. I met M— at Mahaʻulepu after he called off AD’s and Waiohai as too crowded and too small and I greeted him with a birthday cupcake that Violet and I made yesterday. She chose funfetti cake with funfetti frosting, always a winner. M—’s birthday present, Sad Topographies, is in the mail.

We talked story up above the beach, about waves and getting older and about cupcakes. Just as we turned to leave to search elsewhere, we saw a set and decided to just head down the hill here, which turned out to be the right call. The waves were much bigger and more fun than we expected. They stayed clean all morning due to the light winds and there was no real current. Most waves came through at about chest high, a few were proper head high runners. Atypically for Mahaʻulepu, all the waves coming through stood up tall and steep and had some nice power. I think maybe that was the leftovers of the south swell lighting up on this tiny little reef, but no matter why, we enjoyed. I found a few pockets, one or two lips to tuck under, and I even landed a little air, but most waves were just simple fun, drop, turn, pump, and a big snap off the top, two or three, on the really good ones.

Between waves we talked about kids and virtual schooling, the hell that is middle school, dogs needing other dogs, zoysia grass in the shower, outdoor privacy, refinancing, and eagle rays flying like UFOs, which makes me smile as I hear the Pixies song again.

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