Man, I wish I had some pictures for this post. I’ll take some tomorrow and try to illustrate.
So I’ve spent every day since Saturday on a board in Hanalei Bay. I “learned” to surf here like, jeeze, 9 (!?) years ago with my cousin Ben, who fell completely in love that trip and became an amazing short board wild man surfer in the cold cold water of the pacific northwest. No interest ya. I just do it in Hawaii, and a half a dozen or so times over the years in Galveston and south Texas. I’m not, like, skilled. I get a big long board, destroy myself paddling, stand up, cruise around in the foam, fall in like, then go eat.
But this year has been way awesomer so far. Maybe I’m more fit than usual from so much climbing, or more brave, definitely less impatient and kind of relieved to do something I don’t have any ambition about. Either way, I’ve been having a blast, and today was the best day yet. This morning I traded in my ultra barge longboard that looked like a Sportiva Testarosa for a slightly shorter, narrower, lighter, thinner one. I was tired of hauling the fat one around the beach, and figured I was standing up and walking on it most of the time, so I could graduate. The new one is super rad and kind of beater, with lots of scratches and dings all over it. It has Kassia Meador’s signature on it, some hearts, a ROXY logo, and it’s pretty and blue. Sometimes, I have always maintained, it just takes the right outfit. My dad and I discussed it, and we weren’t sure if I could ride on the lighter, narrower board, but oh well. The water this morning, however, was perfect for me — medium sized waves breaking right then meeting up with their other half and rolling straight in. Not too terribly big, but, like, the face was up to my chest when I stood up. So not small, but the main thing was how clean they were, coming up from a calm green surface and taking time to form up nicely. The new board took a few runs to get balanced on, but once I got on I realized it was a great fit. Stable, but lighter to paddle and more responsive to my slow, epic turns.
Anyway, I stayed out all morning doing a little circuit: ride 5 waves, read 2 chapters of this annoying book I was stuck in (Jennifer Weiner yuck but I couldn’t put it down), go back out ride 5 more, read 2 more, repeat. That pretty much went on all day. There were two other people out there in the same zone, a guy on a shortboard and another tourist who was having a hard time standing up and was mostly practicing in the foam. Blah blah blah, having so much fun, sun is out, getting clobbered trying to paddle out, then cruising on the blue board, getting up earlier and earlier, feeling like holy zorgz I am TOTALLY not flailing right now!! My parents were dually impressed, which is, I suppose, the most important thing.
Then, I was sitting out on my board, singing to myself, mostly this song which is performed in this movie on and about the island that I’m on!
waiting for another little set of delicious rights when this larger, steeper wave came up. It had no angle, just a wall, a total “closeout” I think it’s called, and easily over my head if I had been standing. I have a very limited surfing vocabulary, but let me try to explain: I was waaayyyy back behind where the waves had been breaking. I was paddling into them when they were barely lumps. I was pretty far out at sea, considering. But this mother, I realized, was about to BREAK on me. So I did this thing that you’re nevAr suppose to do in surfing. I ditched my board and ducked under. I felt the wave pass over, and a few seconds later a tiny tug at my ankle. I came up in a mess of foam with the blue board right behind me. Sorry! I know that’s total chuffer behavior I just didn’t know what else to do. Dang. Maybe the rest of the set will be smaller. I mean, we had had some biggies here and there all day. No biggie, so to speak. I’m good. I’m a SURF GODDESS today.
But then I saw the next one coming, exactly the same tall closeout about to crash into me, and I realized this whole set was rowdy. I spun around and sat on the back of my board and let the wave lift me up and break underneath. It exploded in front of me. Ok shoot. These are definitely bigger than the others. I do not need to be comfortable with this right now. I am not a surf goddess. I have a gripping novel about fat rich Jewish neurotics and their neurotic pre-fat daughters waiting for me on the sand and that is most assuredly where I belong. I swung down onto my stomach, paddled towards the beach, and let the next 3 hugies crash into my back and shove me towards home. The last one caught me and I sat up on my knees and rode all the way to the sand. Jebus what was all that?
“Just in time!” Said this guy in a wetsuit sitting on a log.
“Huh? Yeah that got kinda big just then!”
“Ah, shyeah it did! You got out just in time! Turn around!”
Behind me, out in bay where I just was, an easily waaayyy overhead closeout wave was crashing, making a brown tunnel with the sand it had churned up. “Holy Moly!”
“See out there? That mountain moving toward us? This is the swell coming in! I think surfing is over for today.”
And dang, was it ever. I watched it for another half hour, the waves got bigger still, you could see the sand churning up underneath and getting dragged out father, huge brown and white waves crashing far past where I’d been floating around catching slow green rights ten minutes ago. It was quite a show. The tide came up ten feet onto the (already narrow) beach within another five minutes, and those mountains were just rolling in. It was so awesome.
Hopefully tomorrow morning will be calm again for a while.