Diary from the North Shore Volume II

Matt Rode

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Updated 79d ago

When most people think of the North Shore, then envision heavy water—XXL swells at Waimea and slabby pits at Pipe. But the reality on the Seven-Mile Miracle is often a lot less than miraculous than one would think. While Hawaii is indeed centrally located in one of the most active swell windows north of the equator, it still has the same lulls and flat spells that the rest of the world deals with.

Thus far, the 2019 early season has been a pretty active one, with half a dozen large to XL swells since the end of October. But that’s still only 12 days of double-overhead+ waves in a month.

Forecast: Pipeline

© 2020 - Sarah Lee.

The rest of the time it’s all about staying busy and finding windows of fun in less-than-life-threatening waves. From shorepound bodywhomps at Ke Iki to celebrity shred sessions at Rocky Point, there’s nearly always something happening, but when the waves get really small—which they do—the action centers around Chun’s Reef and the sandbar situated between Pupukea and Ehukai Beach Park.

Chun’s is probably the most crowded spot in the Country when the swell gets below head high, so instead of joining the circus I decided down to the sandbar with photographer Sarah Lee, local logger Kirra Seale (who is currently ranked 8th on the Longboard Tour) and her mom Jacinda. Considering there was hardly any swell in the water, the conditions were about as dreamy as you could ask for.

Related: Read Volume I HERE.

The sun was out, the water a bright aquamarine, and light southeasterly winds brushed the waist-high+ waves into languid perfection. It was difficult to log—dumpy sandbar waves that closeout on the shorebreak always are—but Kirra put on a clinic in the morning light, noseriding her way through the crowd of frothing uncles who cheered her on and called her into sets. The backdrop and seascape and faces in the water were the same as always, but somehow the session was about as anathema to the North Shore experience as I could imagine.

© 2020 - Sarah Lee.

The next morning, Kirra flew off to Taiwan to surf the Taiwan Open World Longboard Champs. Shortly after the wheels of her plane left the tarmac, the coconut trees across the road from Ehukai Beach Park started to rustle as the trades came back to life and started to blow with a vengeance. Meanwhile, a few hundred miles away, buoy 51101 perked up as a highly anticipated north swell began to enter Hawaiian waters.

Step-ups and mini-guns are being waxed and readied and it's soon back to business as usual.