Hawaii, February 7, 2008
Sun + Sand + Surf
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.