And the swell came, and the swell went ..

The nicest shot I got on the day

And so the mythical and long sought after swell came and .. went .. and was a bit of a disappointment to me.
You would have expected – having been surfing and windsurfing and in one more day kiting for five weeks – that I would be the fittest and readiest windsurfer in town. I know this place.
I cannot say I command Ho’okipa after a total of over 12 months of sailing here spread over 20 years – my first time here was in 1999 – but man I do know this place, his tricks and pitfalls.
And I have been on the water in Ho’okipa almost every day for five weeks, so being fit and training are definitely not an issue.
My session on the 19th of April alas was a total disaster.
I’ve had three separate sessions, with in between the second and the third a long shooting session whose results are captured in iSurf.it albums.
Take away from the day number one, especially when it’s hyper busy.

Look at the wind! Midday – empty and nuclear


Do get the sail right.
It might look obvious but if you are underpowered and your session mates are the best windsurfers in the world you’d better be going if you want catch a wave.
That is unfortunately not what occurred to me around 12:00 when I first got in. I was slogging on my 4.5 and saw everybody else taking waves from the back, from the front, from the upside, from beneath me.
I was standing idle, not moving at all and could not even pump to get on the plane, coz someone else would already be coming planing from the outside and make my “pumpable” wave on my behalf.
This ain’t mid march anymore where an error like this, having often been in 5 on the water or less, would be spared.
This is end super busy of April and a mistake like that kills your session.
I got close to zero waves and what I made was the left overs of others.

Ricardo Campello downrigs a notch for his second session: from 4.7 to 4.5

I did get out, but in the meantime the bad news is that you have wasted all your best energies of the first session, as the rest of it, the waves on the head, the let-try-my-luck-to-get-out part and the effort are on par with the best sessions.
Sesh two was in mid afternoon after having had my take-away home-made lunch at the car.
I got back in, and boy this time it was windy.
It was not just windy.
It was nuclear.
My 4.5 was way overpowered and the wind was typical Ho’okipa stuff, up and down 0 to 35 knots. By this I don’t just intend to exaggerate the fact that is the wind is not constant.
I do intend to say that at times you are sitting empty handed, and two seconds after you are struggling to sheet in your sail. It’s a bit of a ride on a raging bull.

This was my best wave shot of the day. You can tell it was not my day

So I got three nice waves, and then found myself in front of the beach with the forearms completely stiffened and having a hard time to water start due to fatigue and the nuclear wind. As a Ho’okipa semi-veteran I now am, I do know what needs to be done in these cases.
Get your ass out of the water immediately before you damage your kit or get hurt.
And that is what I did: I sailed in after less than half an hour.
Next I got to my spot on the hill to shoot photos and videos and appreciate at the fullest the art of windsurfing represented at the very top of the game.
After an hour and a half I was done with over 450 shots and 2 Gb of hi quality video: Album Part I Album Part II Video

Titoun-theMonkey going wild

After shooting the champs, I figured I was ready and hyped to get finally a good sesh in.
I went back in, always on my 4.5 with on an easing wind.
Got out nicely, what I dub “the strike” in bowling terms, that is when you are able to get in without taking any waves on the head, not very common feature in my sessions at Ho’okipa, and set myself up at Green Tress waiting for some good sets. The crowds were much better than the morning. We must have been 12 but were rapidly increasing with the late session brigade making the water. By comparison at lunch we were out in just 5.

How we would always like our lives to be: gear rigged up sitting on the beach and Hookipa firing on 4 cylinders

Unfortunately the wind had eased a bit too much for my 86 and 4.5 to feel confident. I got another three nice waves, rode them to the best of my ability and then decided, noting I was tired, it was getting busy and the forecast for the next day looked even better than it was for the day, to come out after less than 1 hour.
I did not want to find myself struggling the little wind and high surf in the evening.
I got out. The day was gone. My wave count was minimal to my 2019 standards, with possibly less than 10 good waves. What in 2016 would have counted for a super session.
I was hopeful for Saturday, but Saturday will prove to be a total disappointment, with the swell going back to 1 ft summer conditions in a matter of a few hours.
So my Good Friday was wasted and the expected session of the season did not work out for me as it has for many others.

An expert of later sessions, Graham Ezzy, showing how it’s done

But – men and women – this is Ho’okipa.
You are welcome to love her or hate her, but you have to acknowledge she is never and easy girl.
She does not let herself be subdued by anyone.
She can work in your favour if you pursue her long and well enough and you whisper to her the right words in her ear.
But she will never ever be yours.
An acquaintance, never a friend.
Ready to let you down and run for the next lover, more appealing, fitter or simply more motivated to pursue her than you are.
Ho’okipa, I love you!!
Like all the things that you know for sure in life will never be fully yours.

Evening: winds shifted side off and the conditions looks good even on the iPhone

The story of an unexpected double session

Ok this picture deserves raccontino, a little story
Today we were supposed to get a hard earned day off from the wind.Yesterday I shot all my bullets (Italian figurative way of saying) since we were supposed to get three days without wind.I checked with Giampaolo Cammarota on his blog were to go surf – SSN was giving massive 3-7+ at hookipa. But Giampaolo gives you bouy readings and webcams, and the new swell wasnt supposed to kick in until later in the day, so I decided to give a shot to hookipa.When I got there quote early for my standards I found hookipa surfwise as good as it gets: 1-3 and glassy.I felt so confident that I mounted my gopro on the board. A thing you don’t do on bigger days if you care about your camera.I had a nice session an possibly something will come out of that cam. I’ve had a few wave. Nothing worth mentioning as there were 20 people out, spread between Green Trees and H’Poko, and more farther towards Pavillion.

What it looks like underwater

A lot by hookipa standard. A friendly chap from southern california local of Topanga, a place I surfed too a couple of times while living in LA, a boy who must have been no older than 13/14 came by and with a grown up grim told me “these people are complaining it’s busy. This is not busy. They have no idea” Well I remember a day at Rincon on a very large north swell – a day that would see most of SoCal maxed out – entering Rincon and working all the way up from being the last one in to taking the top spot on the main peak. I did that not do that of the intention to actually surf, but simply to reduce the number of wave that I’d be getting on the head. That day in that spot I counted hundreds, literally hundreds of surfers.

The wait game

Going back to my session I got up on a few waves with my favourite technique: sitting in the inside with the kids and taking advantage of the leftovers of the other surfers. Of course this strategy comes at expense: you will get all the incoming large sets on the head. if you are sitting deep inside that is the deal.

The fatigue of going out: you can see surfing is more social than expected

The business was worth a few take offs, followed by very short runs. I still don’t have the speed to stand in the right spot on the board, so I tend to loose the wave that eventually closes out on me. But I am improving.

One of take offs

As I ended my session with my third wave, I got out and it was obvious that the wind was picking up. Windguru had sown a dead north shore, but I was on the hill trying to read my book and it was impossible. After half an hour with perfectly glassy conditions the first guy is out.
I decide to go back home and get my gear. Rule of thumb for hookipa: always have your gear in the car, you never know the magics of the North Shore. As I got home I relaxed had a coffee connected with friends back at home and .. an hour wen by.
By the time I was back on spot I could see a lot of action (check Jimmie Hepp album from the 04-05-2019 to judge for yourself

In the water the likes of Browzino, Jaeger Stone, Thomas Traversa. As I was almost rigged, they started to come out. The conditions had become too light even for them. I decide to go in anyways. After 20 minutes to get to the point with 10 knots maybe less of wind I decide to make it back in possibily on a wave. This was the result

The drop: mind you there is close to zero wind. You see that from the crest braking and not being blown at all
Close up
Wave is over

If you want to check out the pow video from the boom – you can see the cam in the close up picture

You can see from the video that there are two top turns that have not come out in picture

If you want to check out the full quick edit of the session, you can find on Vimeo iSurf video channel https://vimeo.com/328873718
Enjoy and keep the stoke alive!

Associazioni libere di pensiero con la parola: Hawaii 🌺

Dice Luca!, qual’è la tua prima associazione libera con le Hawaii?

Aloha Classic 2016

La magia di un arcobaleno?

Honolua Bay

Il misticismo di un tramonto ad Honolua Bay dopo una session con dimensione umana?

Jaws Peahi challenge 2016

Le incredibili onde di Jaws?

Ho’okipa 2019

Le incredibili condizioni perfette di Hookipa?

No signore. Nulla di tutto questo. La verità è piuttosto questa:

F***ing dish washing.
Dentro la mia testa ogni volta che penso Hawaii penso ai piatti che avrò da lavare. Migliaia di piatti. Decine di migliaia.
Ma dico? Sto paese che sostiene di essere arrivato sulla Luna – uno dei più grandi cover up della storia dell’uomo, secondo solo alle torri gemelle – possibile mai che si perde sui piatti?
Nel 2016 ero cosi disperato che ho pensato, mentre cercavo business opportunities, mo torno qua e distribuisco Electrolux.
Quando questi scoprono quanto è comodo faccio miliardi.
Poi però quest’anno si è delineata parlando con Sergio una realtà meno poetica.
Le lavatrici per dindirindina ci stanno. Solo non ci stanno nei posti che affitto io.
Voglio dire non ci sono mai state.
Manco una volta.
Manco per sbaglio.
Ma dico io! Come diceva il conte!
Mai un proprietario che gli venisse in mente, ok questa non è una luxury accomodation, ma a sto poraccio de Roma mo je faccio un regalo e je faccio trova na lavastoviglie.
Niente!
Invece arrivo qui e mi trasformo nel piccolo cenerentolo.
Lavo, stiro, ammiro, cucino, faccio la spesa.
Se mi vedesse mia moglie – e fortunatamente queste cose le faccio solo di nascosto – penserebbe
“Luca, esci immediatamente da questo corpo che è posseduto!!”

Beh, boyz and girls, posso aggiungere: che cosa non abbiamo fatto nella vita per il dio del surf!
Le seghe a scuola, le bugie in ufficio, i pranzi di famiglia bucati nelle festività comandate.
Ma ora la risposta migliore ce l’ho.

I piatti!
Sissignore.
Abbiamo fatto pure quelli.
I piatti.

Aloha 🌺 ♥️ and have a great day 🌅night 🌃depending where you live.

Trip to the West side

As hookipa was slightly beyond my ability I decided to go check the west side and a some good south swell forecasts I had seen in the morning, calling 2-3, when it is normally 1-2.

Slightly over double overhead

First stop on the west side is my favourite McDonald in the world. Why it’s my favourite? Because .. it’s got the best flags! McD+US+Hawaii.

MacDonald
A super cool US truck
Inside an hawaiian Mac
McDonald = predictability

After refueling, I continued towards one of the most beautiful spots on the island, and not just for the conditions: Honolua Bay

Getting there
View from the side
Reassuring sign of human presence
The break: looking inconsistent
The beautiful beach to get out

On the way back, trying to surf the south swell, I stopped at another favourite of mine: Laniupoko

This is a nice park offering grass, palm shade, a nice beach, an enclosed little beach for kids and a decent south swell exposure.

Laniupoko – on the road to Lahaina
Laniupoko peace
Author enjoying a busy hawaiian afternoon
More sleeping under the palm trees

Nice protected little beach and finger

After some rest and having checked the minimal surf I headed back home. Drove through Ho’okipa to find it fully packed by the after work brigade.

Beach update 26-3-2019

First thing first. I am trying a custom board to complement my pyramid 92. Found this beauty at Quatro, one of Levi’s boards. Volume aft and thin tail. Tried it today in marginal conditions and rides like heaven. Snappy turns when needed and longer carves rail stuck in the water if that is your game.This is what it’s like to ride naked in Hawaii. Who needs board and sail bags anyways?The most loved sailor of all times is back on the water after sometime. It was great to meet and greet him. He was always here with Brian Talma when I first got here in 1999. He explained me – on my request – how to land a back loop. A backie he told me it’s not a rotation, rather a jump and a drop. Unfortunately Josh the advice was inpeccable. It’s implantation in the last few years less so.Lead Aloha Classic commentator and Simmer Sails team manager talking to the reigning queen of hookipa Sara Houser Jimmie’s weaponWind’s unfortunately turning soft. The odds of a surfing break from windsurfing are increasing

What’s it like to live on Maui

I have the feeling that many of those who follow iSurf might share the same lifelong passion that has animated this brand since its inception.

We have probably all lived or still live through the dream of chasing waves in the far corners of planet.

But what it’s like to actually live in Hawaii, provided that Hawaii is one of those places where surf happens for real?

Let roll back a little and see how it goes.
I first came to Maui in 1999 to satisfy my thirst for waves and to live windsurfing at its fullest. Mind you these were still the good old days, not the peak, but still good enough. Money was pouring in and the sport was awash.

I found the experience excruciating.

My first time at ho’okipa was intimidating. Got here at the beginning of September to be blessed with the first proper winter swell and very light winds. I still remember Josh Stone’s younger brother going out in the little to no wind and pulling out a sick one hand aerial. I definitely have the picture somewhere and will look for it.

Next day, when the swell went down to 5-7 and the wind picked up it was nuclear.

All of the sudden I found myself inside one of those windsurfing videos I had long consumed as a boy. Most of the world cup was there: Bringdal, Stone, Naish, the Prichards. It was intimidating. I started rigging the sails I brought over (wild winds they would be blown to ballon size when it was strong and ho’okipa in Septmber is strong on a sportex mast, a nice 2/3 kg of epoxy resin). Then realised it was probably beyond my ability. Probably, mostly a psycological barrier. So I drove to Sprecks (it took me another 10 years to find out about kanaha) and stayed in Sprecks for most of the swell. It was terrible. Side on and most like my home spot at the time – Ostia – when it blows westerly – on-side-on with rough sea. Is this why I came to hawaii, I was asking myself all the time? Every morning I would drive to hookipa, check it out and proceed. Then one day something clicked, the swell was down to windswell probably. I got in. I survided and actually had fun. It was the first taste of the power of that wave, that has very little comparison elsewhere. I never ever changed spot and got all subsequent swells. I was a lot into jumping at the time and in three weeks I evolved my cheese roll into a proper quite high forward. I’ve always like jumps.

It took me several years to get back and the reason why is one to mentioned. I had found Hawaii too expensive, overcrowded sand overdeveloped for my taste for nature. I remember having to wait minutes just to get onto hana highway from the Stones’ property I was leasing. So I moved the next ten years the center of my attention to Mauritius. I spent every summer (austral winter) there, at least a month.

But after a few years around 2004 I think when my Mru swing was full still full on, out of thin air, this guy from hawaii – Dan Rayburn, a photographer – sends me a mail on the website. He says he’s been trying to sell Jaws shots to magazines, hadn’t managed to and had decided to make me happy. I told him my site was not making any money – it never has so far – and I had nothing to pay him with. He said he liked the vibe of the site and the fact that it was an “underdog” and we published. It was a hit! At the time Jaws was really new and having those images a rarity. Online even more.

Roll another few years to 2010 and there I am booked for a conference in silicon valley on technology, my other passion. I send a mail to Dan and tell him I’m going to his hometown California. He suggests I hop over to Hawaii after the class. I hadn’t remotely even thought about. But of course the windsurfer in me goes into planning mode and after being offered accomodation and car the offer becomes too hard to turn down. It’s now a plan. I manage to secure an extra week vacation – my employer at the time considered a self financed class in technology in SV a “vacation” – and head to maui.

Dan is kind enough on a rainy early march morning to give me a tour of the north shore. I discover Kanaha with him and blame myself for not having asked the year I had been here. Next day it’s howling. Dan was still a good name in photography for the north shore at the time and offers to take picture. I was out of my mind. A session in paradise. The conditions. A dedicated semi-pro photographer. Memories I shall never forget: thanks to Dan.

I source all of my equipment at Quatro: they have me test different boards and sails and that is the moment Quatro/Goya sticks in my brain: it means from there on Maui and fun. Great associations for a brand.

Week goes by quickly. I retain some of my best windsurfing pictures ever from those sessions. I also remember that my heart too went off at a certain moment, I had been out the wind at died and had struggled quite a bit to get back. The it went back on full force and I was alone surfing big waves for almost half an hour … tbc

China

It’s fairly amazing the extent to which our surfing passion takes us to experience the extraordinary. This time it was on the way to Australia it was China!

Ended up finding a very cheap ticket with Southern China that took me through Wuhan, a place I was at odds identifying on the map in first place. Let’s say that it’s somewhere forgotten in the middle of this huge continent. From there next stop is Guangzhou – formerly known as Canton – and from there next hop is Perth.

First impression with China was boarding the plane. A lady was in my seat (all the way to the back .. next to that there was the rear exit). The hostess firmly asked the lady to move. I offered to swap seats but the crew member denied the lady the opportunity.

Most interesting was my oversize experience with Southern China Air. I opted for SCA because the ticket was dirt cheap and – apparently – they offered a good deal for the surfboards. The story as typical changed at check-in. The info I was given by my travel agent appeared to be sketchy at least and the amount due quickly grew to become almost as much as the ticket itself. My attempt to negotiate on the basis I had been ill informed encountered but the strictest reaction by the ground personnel. TBC

Team Riders

Surfing

What is so special about surfing? The fact that you live to the rithm of the ocean. Thus nature. Thus you come in sync with the universe, making sense that us little creatures are nothing else that a part of the whole we call the cosmos.

The most famous windsurfing image ever

This image is pure marketing genius, and I suspect it might be the depicted brand’s idea. It exemplifies the relationship we surfers have with the activity of surfing. We strive to surf, we become addicts and having a good session releases an amoun tof serotonins comparable to another, much more widely practiced activity. Nah yah. We also tend to fall to blue periods if we go still and windless for several weeks. Reminds you of anything else you might be aware of?

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