It has been a pretty exciting March. Last Thursdayʻs swell (March 21st) was probably the best waves we have seen since Christmas day. Although Pipe has been somewhat plagued from all the sand deposited by all the past north winds and swells, that day offered a few open tubes. Randall Paulson took off on a second reefer and pulled into what looked like a complete sandbar pinching closeout, but somehow managed to hang on and magically reappear in the foam. Some are claiming his ride was the wave of the winter or at least one of them which is pretty good for late March. Surfline awarded Richard Dos Santos the $25,000 cash prize for their Wave of the Winter contest which wrapped up on February 28th. I have to say, it has been a lot less crowded since February 28th so thank God that is over and we got some late season swell for ourselves.
Pipe never really got that epic this year. Sure there were some great waves, but not many if any perfect days. In my opinion Pipe has not shown its classic form since that El Nino winter in 2010. One method of separating the new school surfers from the old school diehards is the way they talk about waves. In our time, it was not cool to say the surf was bigger or better than it was; the older guys would look down on you or even scold you for doing that. Nowdays, it is trendy to hype everything up as we experience so readily through the commentators who host the big surf contests on channel 250. Unfortunately this irritating method of getting people to watch what is on TV has made its way to our youth and produced a form of egomania which sort of suggests that each surfer should promote themselves through hyping up the size and surf conditions in their sessions.
The Womenʻs Pipe Pro wrapped up on March 12th and 14th with 3-4 occasional 5 foot surf. Dax McGill won the Womenʻs open, Tatiana Webb took the Jrs division, Izumi Baldwin claimed the Longboard title and Karla Costa Taylor was the bodyboarding champion. The event also included a celebration of female surf artists at Wyland Galleries this year. San Lorenzo Bikinis and Surf n Sea in Haleiwa were the proud sponsors of this one of a kind womenʻs event. For the past two years, the womenʻs event has combined with the Jr Mens series. The Jr men were probably in for a shock when the predicted medium sized swell showed up with a couple freak 10 foot plus sets early that morning before their heats. I do not know if they were scared, but I was frightened for them. As I sat in the line up that morning watching barely 4 foot tall boys paddle past me with chunky Pipe waves behind them, I remember thinking something is wrong with this picture, but somehow they all managed to survive in what is now being called the most dangerous Jrs event in history. whew! The older teens were ready and rearing to surf Pipe all to themselves. Micah and Seth Moniz were charging some serious waves that morning before the contest, but dedicated Pipe soldier Kalani David claimed the Jr title with Koa Smith in second, and Nathan Flourence in 3rd place. Mini Makana Pang was another standout grom that day who won the heart of the crowds with his confidence and aloha spirit.
Looks like Red Bull is running a full feature on big wave rider Jamie Stearling. You can check it out on the Red Bull video series website.
Garrett McNamara goes on a wild ride with Anderson Cooper in a very interesting segment on 60 minutes. Anderson is an animal in this classic clip, you just gotta check it out. It seems like they set it up after Garrettʻs CNN interview about his recent hundred foot wave. Garrett goes big in the surf and the media. Rumor has it that he barred the XXL awards because they are sponsored by a beer company which is a bad example for the kids. Ah, who needs XXL, when you have Anderson Cooper on the back of your ski?
Bethany Hamilton with be teaming up with Chrissie Beavis for the all-womens off road rally raid. Looks like it will be an exciting adventure for our local surf star. You can tune into Rallye Aicha des Gazelles for more information on the event. Carissa Moore and Dusty Payne shared the stage at the Margret River Drug Aware Pro claiming the menʻs and womenʻs title. Airwalk recently signed 6 time NSSA champion and Maui local Granger Larsen to join the team alongside homegrown surfer Anastasia Ashley.
Yesterday we had another underpredicted swell. It was suppose to be a mere 3-5 feet, but managed to produce 6-8 foot surf throughout the day with a freak 12 foot set right before dark last night. It was really backwashy and weird in the morning, but by yesterday afternoon some of the sand had moved and guys were scoring some sick rides. There were still a couple 8 foot sets early morning in the dark, but it had dropped back to 6 ft by first light and continued dropping throughout the day. There is still another solid swell predicted for this weekend, but the direction may be a little too north for Pipe and conditions look pretty shaky. We canʻt complain, it seems like whatever we get from now on is just a bonus round. Photo: Dan Campbell-Lloyd.