October 15, 2020
Today is Erinʻs birthday. We are staying in Hanalei, trying to celebrate and enjoy this island and our lives and each other before the visitors come storming back.
The moon is new late tonight, early tomorrow morning. We went out for a walk on the bay around 8:00 a.m. The plan was to walk up to the pier but the girls only made it to about Pavilions before they wanted to jump in and swim the rest of the way. After much shuffling on shore while the girls “swam” to the pier, Erin walked up the rest of the way on her own. We walked back to the sand bar in front of Pine Trees and bodysurfed for a while. I took Evora about halfway out the sand bar and we caught some nice fun waves. I even found a few big empty barrels.
Covered in sand and salt, we walked back to the house and had a bit of lunch before we headed out to Keʻe for the end of the day.
October 16, 2020
The moon is officially “new” this morning, though it was not in the sky last night either. The winds are still down, nonexistent, and there is a rising NW swell. Yesterday, the bay was nearly flat apart from the little peelers on the sand bars, but today Pine Trees was closing out overhead barrels. The bowl looked fun and Middles had a big mushy wave, with the left disappearing, weirdly.
Erin had walked out on the bay earlier, on her own, and I met her with the girls around 8:15 so I could paddle out for a bit. I saw a bit of a corner on the waves at the far side of Pine Trees, closer to Pavilions but not up at the cape. The waves there still looked steep, extremely fast, and large, but I saw two guys paddle out convincing me to give it a shot.
I made it out to the line up without much trouble, but as I approached that spot where the sand kicked the wave up and over, I rerealized how big and fast and hollow Pine Trees is. I took my time finding a first wave to ride, while the local guy was tearing it up. His bald haole buddy paddled a lot but did not catch anything for quite a while. Eventually, I found the corner of a nice right with no sections. I paddle, popped up, and immediately ducked under the lip, then pumped out and ducked again, then I sped down the line and up over the end. I made it back to the line up with getting caught inside; a victory in itself.
For the next 90 minutes, I mostly had fun picking off the smaller set waves, still well over head, some long smooth rides like my first, many short close out barrels that required me to punch out the back. One wave left me caught inside the next set. 10 minutes of paddling and I thought I was outside only to be sucked back by the next set, the largest of the day so far. Another 10 minutes of scratching, duck diving, bear hugging my board, and I eventually scratched out past the break, sucking for oxygen, worried I might pass out. By this time, a crew of bodyboarders had paddled out, hooting and hollering a bit more than the local guy would have liked. He stayed inside after his next wave and let himself drift down the shore.
My last wave was extremely fun, a large set wave but one that set up with a big peak closer to Pavillions and a shoulder sloping off towards Pine Trees. I knew if I could catch the wave and make the drop, I’d have no closeout sections to navigate. I turned, blinked, paddled, and was rewarded with my wave of the day, a long, fast, hollow wave with a proper barrel right off the front, then a cut back section way at the end, a rarity today. With that wave, I headed in to walk down to Waiʻoli stream to find my family.
Later in the afternoon, after icecream, we all went to the pier to swim and play and surf. Both Evora and Violet caught some long fun waves. I even found a few peelers on the wavestorm once they had given up. I caught one or two all the way through and under the pier, dodging the pilings and gliding out the other side.
October 17, 2020
After our last day in Hanalei, celebrating Erinʻs birthday week, I found some time in the afternoon for a quick session at Anchors. There was no wind at all so I thought I might get some fun glassy waves but the water was inexplicably rippled. It was a dull mossy green with a silver mirror overlaid, reflecting the colors of the grayblue sky.
The current was strong, running across the reef from north to south and there was a lot of water moving around, but I was able to find some fun rides. The sets were beefy, coming in head high and fast, but were mostly just a quick steep drop and then not much face. I did manage to find one spectacular left and one very long fun right. After what I thought was my last wave, a left where I dropped down the face and then hopped over another ledge as the wave over took the wave in front, I found myself looking back at a large hollow wave rushing towards me. I tried to paddle to the corner and thought I could just pop up under the lip. I realized at the last second I was too deep and the wave too fast, so I turned and tried to paddle off the back, but I became enveloped in the lip as it curled and sucked me over, the board under my right arm. I prepared for a horrible hold down, or at least a scrap across the reef, but was surprised to relatively delicately float up in the white water, unscathed.
October 18, 2020
The tide swings are large right now, as the moon drifts from new towards crescent then half. The peak high tide was 2.33 feet around 4:00 this morning, and low tide was around 10:00, bottoming out at .44 feet. I wanted to take advantage of the still decent NW swell and the light winds before the konas blew across the mountains and ruined the conditions, so I invited M— and C— to check Kalihiwai. M— had to stay south, finding an empty (and flat) Waiohai, and C— was set on trying Bowling Alleys, on the north side of the Anahola river mouth.
I got to Bowling Alleys first and reported the lack of swell then headed to Kalihiwai. When I pulled up, the conditions were beautiful: glassy waters, clear and calm skies, and no crowd. The waves looked small off the point, but I decided to take advantage of a nearly empty Kalihiwai while C— opted for Hanalei Bowl.
Kalihiwai is a small sandy bay with the Kalihiwai stream at the north west corner, near a lava bench and low cliff. The south east side of the bay is walled by a large cliff of volcanic rock, a decent example of columnar jointing in the islands. The lower sections of the cliff have been cut out by centuries of huge North swell pounding away and the outer tip curves in such a way that it looks more like a giant ship jutting out from the hillside, when viewed from the lineup.
I paddled out at 8:30, passing the small group messing around on the inside. As I reached the main line up, the one guy I saw bobbing around had given up and paddled halfway in. I almost immediately paddled into a fun head high wave, easy and playful, but with a nice long wall running me back along the cliffside. The guy saw my wave, thought twice about abandoning the point, but then continued in.
I had the main break to myself for a while before two longboarders joined me. The woman was nice, chatting about the rarity of empty Kalihiwai between waves. They left and were replaced by a local guy giving two women a surf lesson, perhaps pushing their limits too far, perhaps taking out some frustration that visitors were back at all. He complimented the wave he saw me catch on his paddle out and marveled along with me that no one was out here. He managed to push one of the women into a few fun looking waves while the other one seemed nervous from the get go. He eventually pushed her into a decent wave but she stayed down on her belly most of the ride until she popped up at the very end only to fall right off. The guy started asking me about my board before we were interrupted by a large set wave coming in wide.
I paddled and popped up under the lip, made it around the section, and just enjoyed the huge face running out in front of me. The wave was easily two or three feet overhead and much steeper than the first hour or so. As I made my way down the line, I saw that nervous lady bobbing in the white wash, still not back on her board. I took a high line as I went past her, cut back a few more times and let out an involuntary hoot of joy. I slid off the back of the wave and paddled over to the woman to see if she was okay, knowing she not only fell off her wave but that she just got hammered by the largest wave of the day so far. I helped her on her board and she asked me to let the surf instructor know that she had decided to paddle back in, where things felt calmer.
After that, I basically had the point to myself again and the waves just kept getting steeper and better as the tide dropped. Eventually the wind came up a bit, making the face bumpy and bit more difficult to make sharp cuts. I was happy, though, having found countless overhead waves, long runners with great sections. Many of the rides were so long, my legs were burning at the end of each ride, which is uncommon for me, not because my legs are strong.
As I made my way in after one last epic ride, I found a fun little inside section off the cliff and then another that took me all the way to the sand.