Friday, March 31, 2000

Honolua



Honolua is a really good wave.

I watched the swell build on the satellite charts and chose Sunday afternoon and Monday morning
as the best times to catch the last big swell of the season.  I unloaded all the windsurfing
gear, and tossed two boards, an air mattress, and a bunch of blankets into the back of the
mighty red surf truck and headed out to The Bay.  I was feeling kind of despondent during the
hour long drive, but the surf adrenaline kicked in as I rolled up to the edge of the bluff and
saw the lines wrapping in.  Double over-head barrels peeling off in the off-shore breeze with
machine like precision.  Surf perfection has a name, and her name is Honolua.  It was pretty
crowded, about 40 guys on it, but it was reeeealy good -- with no lack of waves.  Line it up,
paddle to the right spot, turn, spin, go...  the drop is fun as hell, with a the big bowl
forming right in front of The Cave.  A good bottom turn takes all the leg strength you can exert
and lines you up right under the throwing lip.  I love the sound in there: all the turbulence
gets echoed in the barrel and modulated in strange ways.  And there's no wind: just mists that 
swirl around you as you get blasted along.  If you survive the pit, it's down the line for a few 
hundred feet of off the lips and the occasional cover up before you hit the bonus round, a long 
hollow bowl on the inside that is sometimes make-able, sometimes not.  Then paddle back out and 
do it again, only deeper.

I stayed out until after nightfall, when everyone else had gone in.  I remember one ride from
just before I came in: it was too dark to really see what was going on, but I remember looking
up above me and seeing the last light of dusk being refracted through the water over my head --
beautiful.

That image stayed with me as I curled up under the blankets on top of the bluff with the sound
of the waves crashing beneath me.  I chuckled to myself.  Thirty two years old and I'm sleeping
in the back of my truck above a surf break.  All my other friends have careers, and some have
families.  Management consultants, software mavericks, astrophysicists -- the whole gamut of
intelligent responsible types; and here I am spending my days surfing and thinking.  It's an odd
choice, and I struggle with it at times, but I think it's the right one.

(Hmm, odd. A blue ball-point pen just hit the floor.  It appears to have materialized and
fallen out of the sky.  I guess it fits that if all those pens are often disappearing, they have
to be reappearing somewhere...)

The crack of dawn saw me paddling back into the line up.  The swell had dropped a bit, but the
water was smooth and head high waves were still coming in.  The barrels were less life
threatening, and it was fun to play with late take offs.  But I broke a cardinal rule of
Hawaiian surfing about two hours into the session.  I got wiped out on take off right in front
of the cave, and kicked.  Bad.  Bad.  Never, ever kick over a reef.  The top of my foot
connected with coral head, and a little bit of me is still down there.  Not too bad though, just
a bandage I have to wear for a week or so -- and some time out of the water to work on physics.
It's well worth it though, a little blood and effort for some beautiful waves.  Nothing in my
life has paid off as well or as immediately as surfing.
Here's a photo shot that morning -- pretty, no? ( the wave, if not the ugly brute riding ;) )



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