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Hawaii, February 7, 2008

Surfing Serenity on Oahu's North Shore

Sun + Sand + Surf

bonzai perfection
Dreaming in waves
My kind of pipleine
My Pipline reality
beauty I see
Another kinetic beauty
The North Shore of Oahu is a fabled land to a surfer. Bonzai Pipeline. Sunset Beach. Waimea Bay. Legendary beaches, waves, experiences that fascinate those that ride the ocean swells.

Growing up the surfer in Vero Beach, Florida, these were words that held my imagination on many a tiny swell day. They were mysterious visions of aquatic power from magazines or moves. Places in far off Hawaii that I dreamed about, but yet, never thought about visiting.

Hawaii was just a little too far off the map for me. Costa Rica was closer, Europe more intriguing. So the North Shore was left undiscovered, until now. After Amy and I tired of Honolulu, the Vegas of the Pacific, we escaped to the sleep, surf Mecca of Oahu's North Shore.

There we found a refreshingly local scene. Sandy beaches divided by wild rock and reef outcroppings, relaxed Hawaiians happy for a swell and a beer. And I joined them, both in the beers and the surfing.

Knowing I am not a Florida surfer boy any more, I started out at Waialua Bay, surfing what looked like easy wedges from the shore. In the water, I realized these were Pacific freight trains of power and speed. Walls of water literally barreling towards shore. Past my limits, I shoulder hopped smaller waves till exhaustion.

The next day, I took on the much easier swell at Haleiwa Beach Park. At 35, I am now longer as fast or nimble, and the smaller, easier swells were a relief. The rights were short drops, the lefts long lines, and the mid-week crowd friendly and small.

Down at Bonzai Pipeline, the scene was much different. With the first decent swell of the winter surfing season in full effect, the water was black with swarming surfers. Steps from the shore, sheets of clear blue Pacific Ocean leaped into the sky, propelling a mix of youth and sea towards a beautiful sandy beach.

Kinetic art at its best.

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Hawaii, February 3, 2008

Waikiki: Vegas of the Pacific

beach snuggle time
Amy and Wayan, styling
What happens when you cross the mystique of a tropical island with the skill of American marketing, and toss in Elvis and America's only royal family, mixing it all up for at least a hundred years, adding in waves of Japanese tourists for the last twenty years?

Vegas of the Pacific. That is my impression of Honolulu, a place like Los Vegas - full of hype and glossy history that feels tired and cliché by the light of day.

Yes, you can play Rambo, shooting live ammunition with pistols and rifles at an indoor gun range. Japanese women are rumored to see free love on weekends of passion. And there are enough bars filled with hope and booze to make things happen. But does anything? Really?

Continue reading "Waikiki: Vegas of the Pacific"

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Hawaii, January 31, 2008

A Cold, Wet, and Impressive Kauai

beach snuggle time
Having fun yet, Amy?
Before Amy and I arrived in Kauai for our honeymoon, we read that this small island in Hawaii was the rainbow capitol. That rainbows would be visible at all time of the day. What we did not appreciate was the two sides of the local saying: You can't have rainbows without rain.

Because it rained every day we were in Kauai. In fact, Mount Wai’ale’ale, in the center of the island, is the wettest place on earth with an average 460+ inches of rainfall. Knowing that, I expected a tropical rainfall pattern - steamy heat all morning with a hard downpour every day at 4pm. Such was not the case.

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