Surfers hope for a happier New Year

January 3rd, 2015

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

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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September 22nd, 2014

Helicopter over photo by Sean Davey

I have not been blogging too much because I have just been surfing... and surfing... and surfing... and surfing. We have had a continual flow of waves from town to country since the hurricane swells last month which have produced a consistent flow of 2-4 foot surf. The last two weeks of August offered town swells in the 3-4 foot range during the peak days which were Aug 22 -23 and the 29th. The surf did not wane much between the peak days, it would die down to 2-3 then 1-3 and then come back up.

September kicked off with a solid 3-5 foot country swell on September 9th followed by the biggest south swell of the season on Sept 15-16th. The south swell produced some 6 foot sets that were tapping the buoy in the Big Bowl with super glassy early morning conditions and sea breezes off and on throughout the day. Guys who stuck around, scored when the onshore wind changed and there were just a few guys in the water. Kala Alexander came down to the Bowl that day and broke his board inside the barrel under his feet on a solid buoy set so the swell had some juice. During the solid south swell country produced 3ft plus surf for about three days so there were waves for everyone. Town and country have quieted down a bit since then, but both sides still have fun surf with beautiful conditions.

It has been super hot outside, but beautiful in the water. It is so nice to surf without a wetsuit and not even be cold. The trades finally came back today after a couple of still, humid weeks. It seems like hot weather coincides with good surf so maybe we can be hopeful for the upcoming season which started fairly early and looks to continue throughout the next couple weeks with a few more fun little swells followed by another decent looking south swell.

Aloha & RIP to legendary surfer Kalani Foster who died on September 15, 2014. He has been fighting liver cancer for about a year or so. Check out the memorial video , go to his Facebook page and feel free to donate to his ohana fund. We will keep you updated on a paddle out for Kalani.

There were a host of beach cleanups this past weekend so thanks to all who are keeping our beaches clean. Sometimes I think the tourists must assume we have a maid to come and clean up after their mess, and I guess we do

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Like pigs in the mud.

August 14th, 2014

Mid July to mid August has been more active than usual in the islands. The south shore had a week long swell from July 12-20th which was as big as anything we have had all summer and the coconut wireless suggests that some west side locations offered a few six foot sets. As I mentioned in my last blog, I missed the whole thing because I was on the mainland and when I returned the water at Ala Moana Bowls was the dirtiest and smelliest I have seen seen the 2006 sewage spill. A couple days later there was a mean onslaught of jellyfish, one of the worse we have seen in ages, followed by another sewage spill in the Ala Wai. Last week the whole world watched as Hawai‘i prepared to take a direct hit by hurricanes Isselle and Julio, but in reality we have been hit a lot harder by storms that never received any national coverage. It was kind of funny to watch the national news network's try to hype of the waves after there wasn't much damage to report; it was like, if you want to hype up Hawai‘i surf you should come back in January.

Although we dodged severe damage from all the hurricanes so far, the water has been brown all around the island since I came home almost a month ago. It has varied from light brown to dark brown, itchy and smelly but, surf on the Northshore in August, we don't care, we are like pigs in the mud. Following the east swell last week, we received a north, west, and southwest swell all at once so the line ups have been pretty uncrowded at times which can make the brown water a little more creepy. Both North and South shores are expecting another bump late tomorrow into the weekend and beyond.

Sage Erickson won the 6-Star Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro in a final against Tatiana Weston-Webb. Although Erickson is known as a California girl, she spent her early childhood here on the Northshore with her Dad Greg. The guys are gearing up for the trials in Tahiti, and the forecasts are looking pretty good. Hopefully we will get some sizable late south swells in September which can be really good to get us in shape for winter.

a hui hou!

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Small Summer

July 5th, 2014

While there were a wide array of fourth of July celebrations across Oahu this year, there was not much selection for surf. All sides the island were small as south swells seem to have come to a screeching halt for the past week or so and the last swell was downgraded taking almost an hour for the predicted soft four foot sets. Although there was a nice fun run of 2-3 occ 4 foot swells in June, we have not had much for size at all. Matter of fact, even five foot waves have been very scarce this summer and there has not been anything above that which is a let down after last year which offered three rounds of swells that were pretty much as big as town can hold in the time period before the fourth of July.

Bowls has seen a consistent run of contests however. Last weekend, the Triple Crown of Town hosted by No Rep Boardshorts ran their second leg at Bowls. Although the waves were tiny, Cole Yamakawa was able to find enough waves to take the shortboard and Kai Sallas the longboard division. Next Thursday and Friday, will host another pro contests, yet again at Bowls on the 10th and 11th. Arnette will be holding their free surfing contest. Contestants simply show up early and register with no entry fee required.

Makua Rothman recently won the Billabong big wave event in Peru. Koko Ho will grace the pages of ESPNʻs SI body issue and Carissa Moore will have a special ceremony honoring her selection into the Surfers Hall of Fame on July 25th.

Da Hui had itʻs 36th annual paddle board race yesterday on the fourth, just before Turtle Bay kicked off a nice array of fireworks at 8pm. Today, July 5th, JGeeks and Alex Marley will be performing. Hawaii Surf N Sea will host another paddle board race on July 12th. The Northshore has had a little trickle of waves for the past few days, but as usual, holiday weekends on the Northshore are not so nice since it is so packed you canʻt move. Lanis got up to about 3 feet on Wednesday, but it was so packed with long boarders, SUPs and even surf skis that the hardcore guys have to find somewhere else to surf. I guess some more man ini waves are expected on the Northshore for Sunday.

The Honolulu Museum of Art is hosting several surf flicks this month that might be worth checking out. You can view the schedule online.

There is a big south swell stirring for the middle of the month which makes sense because I will be on the mainland, donʻt you hate that. Then again, almost every swell predicted has been downgraded so far this summer so I guess I should not fall into a state of depression just yet. Ah, the woes of being a surfer.
a hui hou.

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