To say that I feel like Clark W. Griswold goes to Hawaii is to say the least. Lucie and I are having our second child in May, and we decided to take one last big vacation before we are on lock down with a 2 year old and an infant. We loaded the family truckster with a lot more excess baggage than Delta was going to want to take and headed to ORF. Total baggage looked something like this: 90lbs 7'6 FCS Triple Wheelie coffin bag stuffed with equal parts kite gear, surfboards, and pool toys for Ellie; 2x 60lbs Dakine Split Roller (I got about 1/4 of this space for what I needed to bring); Bob stroller; Dakine Patrol Backpack; Dakine Soft Cooler (Bricked out with enough meals to hold over Ellie, Lucie, the hitch hiker, and half of the plane); and a Dakine Princess Bag. Needless to say we were not traveling light.
We checked in online so we could check our the baggage curbside and try to sneak through without them noticing the 400lbs of stuff that we were traveling with. With $20 in hand I got out of the car at 5am and started smiling and talking. When the FCS bag came out the baggage handler did not look too happy. Right on cue Lucie rolled down the window and offered him some home made brownies and cookies. This brought a smile to his face, and he said he will do what he can to "help us out". Per Delta's Excess Baggage Rules the FCS bag should have cost $200 per board and $400 for being over size and over weight. $800 to get the gear bag to Hawaii was not going to work. The baked goods got us down to $200. From that point I let him know that there were not any boards in the bag but just all of my daughters beach toys, toddler bed, etc. I unzipped the bag and pulled out Ellie's little Nemo pool toy and showed the bag man. Nemo worked! $100 for Delta and a $20 tip and we were out of there!
3 flights, no hassles, and a lot of Elmo DVDs later we made it to Hawaii. In the airport I bumped into Ryan Sebring, pro wakeboarder and one of the original wakestyle kiteboarders. He was doing handle passes and landing blind in 2000 on kites with no safety systems, no depower, and really long lines. After talking to him I was stoked to get out and get sessions. Keep checking back here to see all the updates on my trip.
March 6, 2010
Pool Party with Ellie. For the past two weeks she had been saying, "Go to Hawaii and go swimming!" She was ready, and the surf out front could wait. We chased Nemo around the pool for a couple hours and she couldn't have been happier.
Standup is rocking in Hawaii. There were about 20 guys on a fun right on the inside of the bay. Looked fun, but just on the outside of the bay there was a punchy waist to chest high right. It works on a trade swell and the trades were on. I got my Stretch EPS Tech 6'6 F4 finned up and paddled past the standup pack out to the punchy right. There were a couple kids busting airs and getting some fun little barrels. Being new to the break, I caught the scraps on the inside for a bit until I got into rotation on the peak. I wasn't expecting much, but the surf was killer. I brought a few sets of Future fins from the REAL Rental shop, and the first set I tried were amazing. The Future V2 F4 are a must for any Stretch board in this size. They made the stock Stretch fins feel like they were made out of cardboard. The 6'6 surfed a lot looser, faster, and the board had a lot more drive.
I was going to try to meet up with a 2004 Z2H graduate Paul P for an afternoon kite. In 2004 Paul flew over from Hawaii to REAL to learn to kite. He has great kiteboarding in his back yard, but it sucks to learn, so he came to REAL. I loaded up the rental with my kite quiver and headed to the beach. There is a really fun side-on beach that is not far from the hotel. Upon arriving the wind had started to back down. With it being big, onshore and lightening, I decided to head back to the hotel to grab another surf. The beach park had a monster playground, so I am excited to be able to take care of the family needs and take a kite session the next time it is windy. The surf was still really fun, and this time I got to surf alone for 2 hours. No complaints here. I got a ton of waves paddled in before it got too dark and sharky.
March 7, 2010
Surfed the wave out front this morning after breakfast. It was small and my shoulders hurt. Nobody out. Caught a few good ones on the F4. Took some family time. Fed the fish. Chased the chickens. Blew some bubbles.
Met up with Paul P on the north side. It was a bit squally, so we bagged the kite session and went out for a surf. It felt strange to put a shorty on, just glad that it wasn't my 5.5/4.5 Psycho Freak. Paul notified me that it was flat and that he was stoked I was there to give him a reason to go for a paddle. Pretty funny what they consider a a flat day here would be a fun day at home. There were plenty of guys out, but plenty of waves coming through. It was nice to have the little extra float from the 6'6 for the sets that rolled through that were far from "flat".
March 8, 2010
I am cancelled! Definitely a morning for some ibuprofen. The half mile paddle out yesterday and a few wipeouts with the lip landing right on my head will do it. Had one where I landed on my side, got the wind knocked out of me, and then got pushed to the bottom and into the reef. I came up laughing because I knew the rest of the line up would be doing the same. I can't wait for the sun to come up and start over. I am so stoked to kite. I checked out a couple launches and waves that are pretty close to where we are staying. One really nicely set up left that will be perfect on the kite with a big sandy beach launch.
During my afternoon surf yesterday, I overheard a couple of guys talking about his new board. It was a JC SD3 6'0 Tuflite, and I was interested to hear what this guy thought since I am nowhere near good enough to surf that board and this guy ripped. There was a bunch of "Ya brahs" and "so snappy.." that I caught. The general feel was that this guy really liked this board. In a sea of surfers that surf boards made for the specific waves in their back yard, from shapers next door and anything but PU construction might as well be a four letter word, I thought it was a good endorsement. I got a little more info from the guy surfing the JC on my way in.
While working my way down the line up back towards the 1/2 mile paddle in, I was in rotation with this guy on the end bowl, so I asked him what he thought of his SD3. "Oh brah never surfed a board like this, but it is fun. Only had it for a few days. In small a wave like this (another guy reassuring me that the chest to over head high waves that I was having a blast on were in their eyes pretty crappy and flat) it feels a little slower than my polyester boards. Man, surfed um' the other day when it was pitching and walled up and this was the fastest board that I have ever been on. I really like it. Just have to surf it a little more, and I well get it dialed." To me it look pretty dialed. He was dropping in deep and smacking the hell out of the top as many times as he wanted. Throw in a few 360s, and this guy was fitting the bill for your average anonymous north shore surfer.
Rocked out the pool with Ellie and the rest of the family in the AM. Ellie was really wound up to go swimming, so we got her suited up and took Nemo for a swim.
I am broken. Kited around the corner at the local beach park. Double session. First one, I was lit on the 10m Liquid Force Havoc 2010. The second session was perfect on the Liquid Force 2010 Havoc 8m. I rode the 50cm CPR bar on the 8m to keep it nice and fast. Great kites, they work every time, everywhere, in all conditions. In the three years that I have been riding the Liquid Havocs, I have never blamed my kites for a bad session. During this session I hooked a wing tip coming down the line, and the wave took the kite out. I let go of the bar, grabbed my board and got dragged in. A couple more waves hit the Havoc 8m and then boom, the wing tip popped up, I grabbed the bar and sent the kite up. A few spins of the bar, and I was back on my way tacking upwind.
The board that made the cut for this trip was the Naish 5'7 Global. Fun size for strapped riding, and the quad fin set up makes it nice and loose off the top. I brought a 2010 Dakine Renegade Harness too. Really plush. They changed a few things and re-cut it in a few places. This 5 strap harness locks in, and feels really good. I was impressed by the improvements over the 2009 Renegade.
This beach park is such a killer place. You can drive out on the beach and pump up. It is set up like Cape Hatteras with side shore winds from the left. The waves were chest high wind swell. Super fun. Super blue. The local kiters were really cool too. When I pulled up there was only one guy out. He was pretty powered on a 9m, and then a squall pulled through. After the rain, the clouds broke and the wind turned on strong. It was great to get a solid kiting session.
I saw a guy kiting at the next beach up. There is a bay in between and a left hand reef at the upwind side of the bay that looked really good. I kited it about 4 years ago on an underpowered downwinder. It was about a mile upwind, so I was not about to go up there, but tomorrow there is supposed to be wind.
March 9, 2010
Snuck out for a quick kite while Ellie was down. Launched at a new beach park further upwind to the left hand wave I have been looking at. There were two other guys out on a 9m and 10m, so 10m Havoc it was. I had to go upwind, so I figured it would be better to be powered. It was about a 5 minute upwinder to a long outside reef that picked up the wind swell. It was chest high with some bigger peaks. The wave was pretty lined up so you could get a lot more turns on the wave than the session I had yesterday. I rode for about an hour until my kite started to fall out of the sky while I was burning down the line. The Havoc doesn't fall out of the sky at random, so I turned and looked upwind. Nice black cloud. I burned down wind to try and avoid the long swim from the outside. Found a few waves on the inside and made it to the beach with all of my gear. A few waves. A couple good boosts. A good session. Checked the wave outside the hotel on the way home and it wasn't working.
Pool time. Baby is up and ready to roll.
Enjoyed the evening cool down pool side. Paul P showed up on his way back from seeing some friends on Oahu. My Uncle John, Aunt Sue, and Cousin Gaby joined us out for some Thai food with the family. Love vacation.
March 10, 2010
It is Lucie's birthday today! She looks as beautiful as the day we met. Big thanks to Judith for the personal shopping. Lucie loves her Nixon Time Teller in white with the blue face. It looks good with her tan.
We started out the day with some killer waffles with mac nuts and bananas. The trades went more east today, and it is a bit stormy. 100% focus today is Lucie time and baby time, but I will probably sneak in a surf out front. With the more easterly trades came a more easterly swell, so the wave out front is looking chest to head high and barreling. Pool time.
I took a couple hour surf this afternoon at the right in front of the hotel. The waves were good, and the crowd got pretty thick with the local kids. It was strange that they were out of school at 1pm. Everyone was pretty cool. I took the scraps and got in rotation on a few good ones. There was an old timer that was killing it. He was burning all the spongers and kids too. It was pretty funny. He did these no paddle take off right into the pocket. Pretty cool to see a big old guy surfing better than the little rippers.
One kid was surfing a Resin 8 Tokoro 6'0. He was just snapping every section on the wave. I asked him about the board, and he said,"Never going back to glass." Looks like surfers on the islands are starting to appreciate the performance, feel and durability of epoxy surfboards.
Tomorrow morning should be the same, so I am going to try and get it early to avoid the crowd factor.
March 10, 2010
Surfing is a funny sport. People don't like you in the water and they don't want you to take their waves. It is a pretty exclusionary sport. To enjoy the sport of surfing you need to enjoy the work out, enjoy nature, and enjoy watching surfing. I have been doing all of the above and catching a few in between. Yesterday I particularly enjoyed watching. I got some, but in a heavy crowd, it is best to take what you get and not get greedy.
I got out this morning for a quick surf that turned into a long surf. It was smaller than yesterday, but plenty of waves were coming through. The Stretch F4 6'6 proved itself again. There were only a couple guys out, so I could get right into the rotation. 2 Japanese women came out on Boogie boards and they were crushing it. They were blasting big airs off the top. Pretty impressive.
The best part of my session was the dialog between a local white kid that was ripping and a local Hawaiian. The white kid dropped in on the Hawaiian on one of the better waves of the morning. No look back, no nada. The rest of the line up started the chatter and the Hawaiian guy came up pissed off. When the kid made it back out he was sitting inside a bit, and he said to the Hawaiian guy, "Why do you keep staring at me?" I even knew that it is called "stink eye", and saying something was the last thing this kid should have done. The Hawaiian guy erupts,"Brah you got two choices. Get the F out or get the F OUT!" The dialog continued, and there was no beating given. Once the Hawaiian guy was done he paddled back out and said to the rest of the line-up,"Eh brahs, sorry for da noise. Dat kid." I let him know that I was happy to not be on the receiving end.
Afternoon session is going to be a packing up my gear bag session. We are heading on an inter-island tour tomorrow. Should be interesting traveling with all the crap that Lucie, Ellie and I have as well as my parent's excessive amount of baggage. I plan on sitting back, watching the circus, and doing what I am told. The roll of a good husband.
March 13, 2010
I drove up to the north side today to meet up with REAL Coach Luke Johnson. He is spending his winter taking sessions and taking sessions. I met him at a small beach park that was tucked away in the kiawe trees. It opened up on to a wide open beach that had plenty of space to launch and land. The wind was side onshore at around 20 with some chest high waves on the outside.
I rigged up a 10m while Luke converted 2 broken bars into one and finished glueing his kite back together. I felt like I was watching Macgyver. I think that with a knife and some duct tape Luke could rebuild anything to do with kiteboarding. His high tech security system was pretty impressive too. He left his smaller kite, sunglasses and pump on the beach, while his windows and trunk to his "pimp ride" were wide open. I figured that it was some type of Johnson Jedi Mind Trick to keep people from stealing his stuff. It seemed to work since all of his stuff was there when we finished.
The session was great. I rode the 2010 LF Havoc 10m which was perfect for a while. The Naish 5'7 Global was made, designed and tested at this beach, and you could tell. It rode smooth through the chop on the inside and floated across the top of the mushy waves. After rinding for a bit, I got too powered and changed down to the 8m Havoc. The clouds came in not long after, and the wind started to drop back out. I rode the 8m for a little while and decided to call it a day before the wind died. The best way to end a session well is to call it a day before you get greedy and have to swim in.
March 14, 2010
Got the baby swimming without the floaties today. Not bad for a two year old. She is having a blast with the daily pool time.
I rode up to the north side again for a session this afternoon. The clouds were over the ocean a bit, so the wind was a bit up and down. I kited a bit under powered on a 10m Havoc for a while. The surf was small too. Sure is nice to kite without a wetsuit.
Tomorrow is my last day on the islands. Looks like a solid 10ft N swell and 20 knot East wind. Stoked that I fly out at 9pm!
March 15, 2010
Scored a big day for my last session. My flight was at 9pm, so plenty of time to hit the beach with the family and back it up with a solid kite session. I met up with REAL client Mike Seguin for a guided tour as to where to go on a big day. He said a really picky friend dialed him in to a good spot and I followed. That friend turned out to be Dylan Grafmyer, so I got to get the mayor's blessing that it was going to be a good session.
The bomb sets were closing out, but the smaller ones that were in the head high range were lining up on the reef. I rode my 8m Havoc powered, which is a nice way to end any trip.
While I was on the water, I bumped into Nicollo Porcella and Bertrand Fleury who were both killing it. Nicollo was blasting these monster strapless kite loops. I didn't believe it until I saw it.
I made it in after a nice long wave and called it a day. Mike said it wasn't that crowded which I thought was funny. 40 windsurfers and over a dozen kiters on the same wave. Not crowded. Ha. I am looking forward to riding in Cape Hatteras. Spring has sprung!