Month: April 2019

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 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
Enjoy and keep the stoke alive!

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