Although the season got off to an unusually slow start the month of December made up for it. Pipe was graced with 4 back to back west swells. The first one came during the Pipe contest on December 14th, the second one came on December 20th and the third one on Christmas Eve. The swell on the 20th was about as west as it gets, and the second reefers were long, but not many of them were barreling and a lot of the first reefers were warbly and shutting down. I donʻt know if that swell was as big as the one Thanksgiving, but it was cleaner. Several people were calling me due to Surflineʻs feature which was titled, "As good as it gets" however, I have come to the conclusion that most of these media guys do not really know what good even is. The swell was best on the afternoon in the 21st when there were some really nice rides, but still only about 1 in 10 waves were makable. I guess for Surfline half a dozen shots is good enough to run a feature to make it seem like every wave was as good as the one in their shot, even though they sat there the entire day to get those photos. Sorry, but the hype is so irritating and it attracts unnecessary crowds and traffic which cuts into our surfing time.
The Christmas Eve swell was really warbly, backwashy with some marly double-ups, but not the kind of double ups we like. It peaked on Christmas Day with some solid 12 footers, but there was so much water moving around that Pipe felt more like Waimea. That day was really nary, nice as nice and clean as the former swell.
The last in the series came on December the 26th. There were only a handful of boogies, Gavin Sutherland and one other surfer that morning, but I actually say the boogies get some of the best barrels all year that day. It got too big later in the day that day, but all the sand had finally moved so it was actually doing it, just sort of getting too big. I heard Randall and a couple other guys got some good ones later that day.
Those Christmas swells were nice because everyone left town and I remember being stoked to look back at the houses on the beach and there was noone around, just the surfers in the water. I remember feeling like, "what a relief". The 27th turned a little bit more north, but the waves were still fun and Pipe dropped but was good through a couple days after the New Year.
Since then there has been a lot of side onshore, unorganized waves. Only January 10th it shaped up and got decent in the afternoon before turning back onshore. Due to the junk conditions, the Backdoor Shootout was not able to run this year, but they did hold the bodysurfing event yesterday. I have not heard the results yet.
The winds turned back around today and it looks like we might get another fun run of WNW - NW swells next week.
The sand has been really weird for the last few years. As we watch our friends struggling to save their houses at Rockys, there is still sand stuck at Pipe after several WNW swells which did not used to be the case. It certainly makes you wonder what is going on with the coastline. I have heard some environmentalist suggest that development has changed the natural flow of the rivers and therefore the coastal landscape, but maybe its the tractors moving the sand or just standard erosion, who knows?
The barricades at Lanis might be helping a little bit but mainly they have just transferred a lot of the tour buses up to Sunset which is just causing a new traffic problem. Both tourists and surfers are parking alongside of the road to surf or see turles now so I do not see the barricades as a viable solution at all; instead it is an increased traffic hazard.