Saturday, April 4, 2009

A good way to freeze your nipples off

So last time I posted all of those pictures of the snow in New York City like I was some kind of badass Arctic adventurer for having jlangjlang in Central Park. Little did I know that just down the coast, a bunch of Jersey schoolboys were looking at the snowstorm like Hawaii locals look at hurricane warnings: Awright, surfs up!
That’s right, all of you surfers back home who think you’re Kelly Slater because you once surfed Pipeline when it was 1 to 3. These
Jersey surfers had themselves an awesome session with a foot of snow on the ground. Just watching the video gives me chickenskin. Special thanks to the guys at HI-Shredability for shooting and mixing the footage. Be sure to go through their backlog of episodes and see if you know anybody in the North Shore shots.
Ah, North Shore; I didn’t go often, but I do miss it, especially that moment when you’re just cresting the hill on the highway past Wahiawa and you’re about to look over the whole coast and see the surf conditions for the first time. Since I’m from Hawaii, people assume that I could surf before I could walk. If that were true, this would be the place to tell a story about riding a 10-foot wave or dodging a shark attack. Well, I don’t surf, but I’ll tell a surf story anyway.
I had a friend in college, North Shore native, Hawaiian-Filipino, whose entire family loved to surf. Early some Saturday, we’d cram into her little two-door and drive up to her mother’s salon in Wahiawa, where we’d jump into the back of her sister’s pickup truck with a dog or two and head up through the pineapple fields.
Then we crested the hill and spent at least an hour driving up and down North Shore, getting out, looking at the surf, getting back in the truck, getting out, looking at the surf again—picking the break was quite an involved process. And I’m just the beach bunny, so I don’t have a say in where we set up camp, but in my mind I’m thinking, “What are we, shopping for sex toys? Just pick one and be done with it.” We skipped Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay. "No get parking." Pipeline and Off-the-Wall was out too. "Get too many boys, they no like chick surfers." Same complaints every time, but we still had to stop and look, just in case.
Laniakea was always good: long break, not too shallow, small-kine shade in the naupaka bushes, though the waves tended to get a little choppy if there was wind. As a beach bunny, I liked Laniakea because of a turtle hangout spot on the eastern end of the beach. One time I saw some Texan tourists--is there any better kind for humor--doing exactly what you're NOT supposed to do, which was touch the turtles. "Oh, will you just look at them sea turtles, Dwayne?" shrieked Texan Wifey. "I believe the natives call that a HOH-noo," replied Dwayne. There was a crowd of Japanese tourists standing in slippers and socks in the sand, taking pictures of surfers, and they were very impressed that Dwayne knew this. "Honu, honu," they sighed and chirped, trying to snap pictures of the dark blobs bobbing around in the waves. So of course Dwayne and Wifey start lumbering into the shorebreak. (Did I mention they were fat? I mean, these two may have actually made it high tide when they got in.) They desperately NEED to swim with these turtles. The Japanese continue snapping pictures. They know that whatever is coming next, it's going to be picture worthy. I watch calmly, waiting to see if I need to jump up and stop one of them from picking the turtle up and hurling it like a Frisbee. (Sadly, this is not hyperbole, but that's another post.) Sea turtles are big, and these three at Laniakea were especially impressive specimens. One of them might have been three feet long. But it's hard to see that until you're right there in the water next to them and Mr. Turtle brushes up against you with his sharp beak, and you look deep into his watery eyes the size of ping pong balls and realize you're in an unfamiliar ocean with a creature older than the dinosaurs capable of ripping your fingers off with one subtle flick of its massive beak. Or so Wifey must have thought right before she leapt up and ran shrieking through the shorebreak, struggling for land. Dwayne quickly followed. The Japanese snapped their pictures and clapped politely, I congratulated the turtles, and a good time was had by all.
And that’s my surf story. Hang ten.

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