Non stop south swells

June 28th, 2015
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Ala Moana Bowls  6-21-2015

Ala Moana Bowls
6-21-2015

The south shore has been pumping out plenty of swell this summer. There have hardly been any flat days and with the exception of one slow week it has rarely been under two feet. There was only one solid swell reaching into the 6 foot plus range, but there have been several days with sets up to four feet so sometimes consistency is a fair substitute for size especially when the crowds really start to weed out after several days of ongoing swell. Driving to town from various locations can be a bit of a drag this summer especially on the weekends because of the roadwork onslaught. I think there were at least three road projects going east or west around the island to the Northshore on Saturday and Sunday. What a drag!

The IBA scored a couple of the best days all summer on the weekend of June 20-21. Melanie Bartels and Dave Hubbard won the event. Locals are frustrated since several weekends of the summer have been taken up by contests. From what I have heard, there are no limits to the amount of permits that can be allowed for surf contests in town. Furthermore, time restrictions are not imposed on the permits therefore the contests can start and end whenever they want which prevents free surfers from surfing before or after these events. There is no venue for free surfers to find out about these surfing events or their event schedule. It is nice that the events cater to local surfers, unlike so many contests in the country, but it would be nice if they would distribute them amongst various surf spots in town and provide a place for beachgoers to look up all the information with some restrictions similar to the standards that are imposed in the country.

The Northshore Swim Series held their second event yesterday meanwhile Da Hui is gearing up for their 37th annual Paddleboard race next weekend. Turtle Bay will also be hosting their annual fireworks display on Independence Day so there will be a lot of activities over the holiday weekend. Honolulu's surf film festival will run from July 11- Aug 1st with a nice line up of unique flicks.

It seems that the south swells will persist for at least another two weeks which should prepare us for the the typical early August slump. It seems that the surf has been pumping all around the planet so maybe the El Nino prediction is coming true.

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Summer is off to a good start!

June 5th, 2015
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SharksCoveFishWave_e
After a terrible winter and a disappointing spring, summer is getting off to a fairly good start. The Hawai‘i State championships and the Local Motion Surf Into Summer were each held in 3-4 foot waves at Ala Moana Bowls. The Surf Into Summer scored clean conditions for most of their event whereas the states were held in onshore conditions. The T&C Gromfest was also held during the week prior to Memorial Day weekend which closed with the Lantern Lighting ceremony at Ala Moana Park.

Summer kicked in to full gear last weekend as the largest swell of the season rolled into Hawaii's southern shores. It was cleanest on Sunday prior to its peak on Monday which produced some six foot plus sets. Ala Moana Bowls, Big Rights and other locations were not epic due to strong southerly component in the swell, but conditions cleaned up in the afternoon to offer some nice barrels with a less crowed line up than usual.

Several events are on tap this weekend. The Ocean Fest kicks off at Turtle Bay just after the Roxy RUNSUPYOGA fitness challenge concluded last weekend. Looks like those who journey to the country to participate in the festivities may find some fun late season swell which was already producing some 3 foot waves this evening. In Waikiki, the women are preparing for Chinaʻs 19th Annual Womenʻs Surfing Classic while Quicksilverʻs All Military event takes place at While Plains. The Oahu swim series which has grown to nearly a thousand contestants begins next weekend on the Northshore with a sprint from Sunset to Pipeline.

After a long winter season which was consistently comprised of less than ideal conditions all the way through spring, the warm clean swells that have been fairly consistent on north and south shores lately have been a bit of a treat. This morning a pack of dolphins were jumping for joy outside Ala Moana Bowls as if they were sharing some good vibes with their fellow surfers.

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Worst Winter Ever!!!!

April 22nd, 2015
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As winter comes to a close I can confidently say, it was one of the worst I have ever experienced in 25 years of surfing the Northshore. It started off slow, but there were a few fun swells, then the winds and wave patterns were just off all year. In January we had straight north winds for most of the month, February offered a very unusual span of west winds and then side onshore northerly trades prevailed for most of March. Pipe barely got good even though we had a lot of west swells. One of the only makable waves I saw ridden from the second reef was the day they cancelled the Pipe masters and the day before the Volcom Pro was probably the best Pipe all year. There were a couple days that the boogies were scoring and I remember GT getting a nutz double barrel on one wave, but it was not good for surfing. Keala Kennelly won the Womens Pipe Pro by finding a sick barrel in less than ideal conditions and scored a Jen Miles Alaia board. Joshua Moniz won the Jr. Mens event which followed the women as the swell turned more north changing the focus of the competition to Backdoor. Since then, the surf has backed down and the wind has continued to be a factor for most swells. We had a solid swell that reached 10 feet by late Wednesday and the boogies were literally having a blast in the big backwash, but most of the surfers opted for Sunset or other more user friendly locations.
The south shore started coming up Monday and all the kids have been out practicing for the State Meet which starts tomorrow (Thursday). The winds may not be ideal since they were switching from offshore to side onshore for the last couple days. I guess these aspiring pros will have to apply their skills in wave selection. The contest runs from 7am -5pm.

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Surfers hope for a happier New Year

January 3rd, 2015
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Medina Crowned World Champion at Pipeline December 2015

Medina Crowned World Champion at Pipeline December 2015

Heat between Pipemaster Julian Wilson and world champion Gabriel Medina 2015

Heat between Pipemaster Julian Wilson and world champion Gabriel Medina 2015

The contest stand was so big that this sign was posted at the Sunset bridge the day after it was set up. It says "weight limit 27 tons"

The contest stand was so big that this sign was posted at the Sunset bridge the day after it was set up. It says "weight limit 27 tons"

The Triple Crown lingered on and on and on this year. To their credit, the waves were junk and they had to work with the windows of contestable waves, but their frequent efforts of holding up the beach in hope for better conditions also holds up residents from their daily routine not to mention the surf which most of us pay a pretty big price to be here for when its good. Nowdays we find ourselves spending up to two hours in traffic to reach our favorite surf spot which is typically a 5-10 minute drive from our house.There is no such thing as going for a quick surf. If you have to work or attend scheduled events for the day, the idea of a quick surf or even a trip to Foodland could throw you off, big time, therefore many of us are forced to stay home and make major adjustments during this time.

As the Triple Crown expands with an increasing larger set up, TV coverage and influx of employs, the Northshore community is more and more inconvenienced to say the least. Rumor has it that someone actually sued the Triple Crown for running two man heats because even though they have four men in the water, it is illegal. Although I respect such notables as Marty Thomas and Jodie Wilmot who seem to have the interests of the community at heart, the commercial conglomerate of surfing and the new WLA seem to care less about their impact to our environment. You might notice that they don't really thank the Northshore community for allowing them to run the contests anymore and most of us are treated like we don't belong there at our own beaches that we have been surfing at for twenty plus years. The attitude is "get out of our way" we have bought this beach for the day. Most residents will voice this opinion the moment you mention "Triple Crown". It is just not a very nice way to treat the people that pay the taxes and put up with all the hooplah that these so-called "important people" are profiting from because at the end of the day,we are left with beat up beaches, bigger potholes and more flies.

Between the Triple Crown and the onslaught of tourists who come for Christmas, the Northshore is not a very fun place to be during the holidays. This year has been especially trying because the waves have been really junk with 1 or 2 decent days between 3 or 4 unriddable days and this has gone on for almost six weeks now with the worst of it upon us over the Christmas break. We can always expect a bad run of weather in January, but Christmas is almost always epic. Not this year. Surfers must have been really bad because Santa neva bring us waves.

There have only been about 4 true WNW-NW swells this entire year; the very first swell, a side onshore swell that happened right before the Pipe masters, the one that they ran half day during the Pipemasters and one on the 21st immediately after the end of the Triple Crown waiting period. These swells were for the most part duds however since there was way too much sand for the waves to get good. The swell that they tried to run the Pipemasters was a good example of what that looks like which is just unmakeable close outs for the most part. The waves ridden on that day however were still some of the best all season. Kelly's crazy backwash wave in the morning and a couple that were ridden late that afternoon by guys like Waikita, Mikey Bruno, Jamie 'O Brien and Landon McNamara. Even on those days, it has been pretty slim pickins though with just a few makable waves popping up throughout the entire day. Tom Carroll should be in the mix for wave of the winter with the barrel he got in the expression session the night before. Derek Ho found some sick ones which are really just like standard provisions for him. The swell on the 21st was a little smaller but a bit more lucrative with less close outs and of course less crowds.

Even amongst the oppression of the contests, I have to admit The Triple Crown was pretty intense this year being that the world title was still on the line with Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning in contention for it. It was an exciting win for Medina and the international surfing community was happy to see Brazil step into the lime light, but right now the Northshore feels like Rio De Janerio.

Although the season started out early with a lot of small clean surf, waveriders are looking forward to the New Year of surf. I do not think I have ever seen so many back to back storms and North swells consistently throughout November through to January where we are still surfing a couple days here and there in-between several days of unridable conditions even as I write this blog.

In my own records it looks like there was about seven days totally onshore in November or 10 days if you add in the side onshore days. December had about ten days of onshore or up to 14 days if you include the side onshore days, plus there were four days taken by the Pipe contest and three days when the beach was on hold.ugh.

All we can hope for is that once the pros and tourists ship out this week, the surf will roll in. Next week does look better with more days of trades and west swells, but it appears that they will be mixed up with north swells once again before another storm front predicted for next weekend. I still feel like I am waiting for the season to start, but I realize that we are already half way through so don't just pray for surf, pray for west swells and clean conditions!

Japanese tourist no care if the waves junk

Japanese tourist no care if the waves junk

Jan 3, 2015 onshore winds knock down a few trees by the Pipe path

Jan 3, 2015 onshore winds knock down a few trees by the Pipe path

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Triple Crown is coming to town

November 21st, 2014
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Surfing at Haleiwa, on Oahu's north shoreOpening Day @ Haleiwa, but this picture makes it look a lot better than it was

Rick_111014__003 Locals still rule in a pack of pros. Rick Shinabuku

Surfing at Haleiwa, on Oahu's north shore

This past August was one of the best we have ever seen, September was active and October had some fun waves, but November has been a bit of a dud as usual. We have had plenty of surf, but the majority of it has been real close together intervals with overlapping swells and just kind of a mess for the most part. There have been a few windows in between however which kept surfers smiling. We did have one solid 15 foot plus swell, but the majority of the sizable surf was in onshore conditions. Unfortunately the next solid swell looks like it may prose the same onshore weather pattern and the long run of North swells have jammed up the sand at Pipeline, but Backdoor has been fairly decent.

The HIC event kicked off in somewhat sloppy surf, but it cleaned up here and there making for an exciting final which slotted Danny Fuller in the top spot at the start of the winter contest season. Dusty Payne claimed the title at the Reef Hawaiian Pro and now surfers are waiting for the start of the Vans World Cup on Nov 24th. I had to catch my breath when I drove by Sunset and saw all the heavy equipment and a crane hoisted 100 ft into the air just to build the contest scaffold. It is a huge upgrade from its former glorified tent status, but I think I liked the old one better, you know the one that could be set up and taken down with a set of human hands; hands that typically shared and cared about the surf culture and lifestyle that these contests were promoting. Surfing, like everything else nowdays has become more of a product used to generate profit than a lifestyle. It makes me wonder what comes next for a sport that has been somewhat severed from the soul of its roots. My husband and photographer Sean Davey keeps harping about the lack of sponsored surfers in the line ups stating that nine out of ten of them don't even have logos on their boards. That makes sense however, since giant corporations are only interested in mass marketing, rather than fueling lifestyle brands that only appeal to an intimate audience. At the same time the artillery of photographers has been reduced to a bare minimum meanwhile drones are swarming around like flies and every pro surfer paddles out with a go pro hanging out of his mouth.

It is interesting that with all the hoopla surrounding the Triple Crown this year, it is not quite as busy as I expected it to be ...... not yet anyways. Don't get me wrong, the lineups have been really crowded for the last couple weeks with a whole set of new keikis that look completely different from last years pool, but it doesn't seem like the main ship has arrived yet. I am thinking that Thanksgiving holiday may be the time for that. Still yet, the traffic was backed up past Vland during the HIC at Sunset so get ready to wait.

The women will return to Hawaii for the 2014 competitive season. Target is hosting their WCT event on Maui and there will be a women's invitational for the first time at the Pipemasters. They held a women's expression session during the Pipe Masters a couple years ago, but this time it looks more official with the structure of an actual event including eight women.

This month we mourned one year since Button's passed away and said aloha to Kalani Foster who died in September from liver cancer. It was a "celebration of life" at Ali‘i Beach Park that was packed full of Kalani's friends from the old generation to the new. It was a beautiful time for those who took part and it was great to hear that some top pro surfers and companies pitched in to help out and make it all happen. Perhaps it is in these moments that we remember why surfing means so much to all of us, it is the people we meet and the memories we share together in the sea.

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