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