MSG Happenings

Big Winter Swell Hits Honolua Bay!

Happy Turkey Day!

What a way to bring in the holidays, work off that turkey feast, wash off the family stress…by surfing ten foot waves at Honolua Bay!  I haven’t seen it look this good since last winter. I just got back from my Bay area adventure and I was stoked to be greeted by the high surf warning.  The winter waves have risen from it’s long slumber!

After teaching a surf lesson, I hightailed it up north with five soft-tops and my favorite 6’4 Kazuma board, in the back of my Tundra (This would not be the day to charge the cave with a soft-top, but I’ve entertained the thought on a smaller day, as a test to my longboarding skills).  I took some photos from the cliff, while I checked the surf and geared up mentally for paddling out and surfing some powerful surf.  I stretched and slip and slid down the muddy zig zag path down the cliff side.  I passed my friend Ian coming up the trail and he told me he had just saved a guy from sliding off the edge below.  I ended up avoiding that section and walking out to the point.  What an amazing rush to jump off the ledge of slippery rocks, into a warm Jacuzzi of swirling foamy ocean.  The current swept me towards the cave as I paddled out luckily in between sets, phew.  When I got to the line up I was greeted by some familiar faces, Kiva Rivers, Uncle Willie, Nate Withers and Clifton Dodge from high school, and only a small handful of women surfers among 40+ surfers were out there.

My nerves got the best of me.  I made a bad judgment call.  I dropped into a left at the cave that opened up a bit.  Big mistake!  I was obviously obliviated on the inside, being close out and almost washed into the infamous cave.  I started making my way back out when I noticed a guy on a red board come screaming down the face of a 8 foot wave.  He raced the section in front of me and just before the wave steam rolled in closer I notice him tucking down low to get a barrel.  I was watching a surf movie play out in real time just 20 feet in front of me and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  I wanted to see if he was going to make it out of the barrel.  But I had to duck dove through the wall of whitewater.  Needless to say, I wasn’t paying close attention.  My board got loose and slammed me square on my left ear.  I think my lights went out for a few seconds underwater.  I came up for my first breath with the horizon line vertical and my vision blurry.  I couldn’t focus straight ahead.  I needed to get my board under me to duck dive through the next wave in the set, but I couldn’t get my barrings very well to paddle forward.  I ended up getting tumbled in the turbulent whitewater, losing my board, and holding my breath underwater for what it seemed like five minutes.  I didn’t have a choice, I had to stay calm and let the current flush me to the far inside of the bay.  The current felt like a conveyor belt transporting me down the coastline.

Taking my time to get my head on straight, I made it back to the line up.  I caught a smallish wave and didn’t have my balance well on the board.  This was a critical swell that wasn’t to be taken lightly.  There was no doubt, I had to go in…despite wanting to catch one of those bombs.  I walked back up the cliffs, slipping in the mud with my tail between my legs.  On this day, Honolua Bay humbled me.  At the top of the trail I turned around and couldn’t believe how amazing that wave is.  Guys were disappearing so deep in the barrel, just being swallowed up by this big blue barreling beast, to seconds later you’d see the surfer get spit out past the cave into keiki bowls.  It was insane!

Loading my board, and trying to ground my ice cream shake head, I’m caught completely off guard.  Keala Kennely popped her head out of the bushes next to my truck — she was probably taking a pee in the pineapple fields on the other side of the bushes.  Keala is one of my favorite woman pro surfers.  She’s an amazing goofy footer, who’ve I’ve witnessed ripping many years of Billabong Pro contests here at the bay… where she’d score backside barrels, making it look like a walk through the park.  What a way to conclude my session, standing next to Keala Kennely watching the magic of Honolua Bay come alive with ten foot swell pealing perfectly from “coconuts”, to the point and almost connecting to the knarly bowl at the cave.

Here was our view from the cliffs:

Honulua Bomb
(I tinkered with the tint in this color photo, but I think it depicts that drizzly overcast afternoon)

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2 Responses to “Big Winter Swell Hits Honolua Bay!”

  1. tree

    what? no comments? hello, surfer girls? are ya too busy landlubbin’ about? reading books and other intellectual activities that are also good for you?
    i didn’t realize it was such a blow to da head, d-rock! glad everything worked out alright. the mama humbled you a bit when you came back home, i guess.
    great that you got out there and showed the swell who is… co-creator. you can’t say you showed it who is boss because it showed you. but you can definitely say that you got out there and showed it who is co-owner. yih!!
    you are so rad, girl, much respek.

  2. nat.zilberman@gmail.com

    Hey, It’s always good to hear a good story on a heavy wipe out with a happy ending :o) I am going to Maui next week and I’d like to surf at Honolua Bay. My friends told me that getting in the water is kindda tricky. I surf town and the north shore. I don’t have crazy skills but i believe that I can handle myself ok in the water. Could you give some tips on how to get to the line up and surf this spot?

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