Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Date a Girl Who Doesn't Surf

Date a girl who doesn't surf. Meet her in a posh dive bar in Los Feliz. Make eye contact with her, and don't smile. You're too cool for that. Approach her casually and ask her if you've seen each other in another bar in Silverlake. She'll say yes, she has been to that bar, but before it got so crowded. Make her laugh by offering her a rolled cigarette when she tells you that she only has one cigarette left for her friend. Take her by the hand as you weave her through the throngs of people in the bar. Kiss her under the night lights of downtown Los Angeles as you share a beer you snuck out of the bar on last call. Stay up and watch the sun rise with her over the Hollywood sign. Take her back to your apartment. Fuck her. And fuck your roommates who can hear you fucking her through the paper thin walls.

Turn a one night stand into a three month stand. Miss some swells for a late morning breakfast chorizo burrito because you stayed out late with her. Tell yourself the tide isn't right. The winds on it. It's too crowded. It's too small. Wetsuit has holes and it's too cold. Board dings stay unfixed as your quiver gathers dust. Gain some weight. Tell yourself that the girl who doesn't surf makes you happy. That she undulates like Mother Oceans' waves when she's on top. Your hair and dick get wet from her. Not from Mother Ocean. The girl who doesn't surf may taste salty when you go down on her, which reminds you of Mother Ocean.  Which is good enough. Unread surf magazines pile up in a corner, much like your surfboard quiver. Both start to whither and yellow, yearning for a page to be turned or a fresh coat of wax to be applied.

Exchange your wetsuit for a dress suit. Get an oversized wrist watch. Buy a slim fit collared shirt to go with your slim fit dress slacks with your skinny tie. Everything is skinny except for you. You who surfed once but now dating a girl who doesn't surf. Buy lunch everyday with your modest middle class income and have a happy hour that isn't so happy after a desk job you loathe.

Take her out to dinner near your work, for that's all you know now. Have the tattooed bartender pour a double whiskey shot for you. You're going to need the liquid courage to ask her to marry you. Reminisce about the first time you two met. Remind yourself of why you're doing this. Why are you doing this? So all this time doesn't seem like a waste of time. Take that last sip of whiskey and ask her to marry you. Present to her that golden ring that she always wanted. Present it with sweaty palms and a happy smile on your face. She'll say yes, happily, with a golden smile from her glittery lips.

Buy a house. By the beach even. Cling onto the idea that you still surf. Get a dog. Have two kids. Try to be strict. Try to be fair. Try try try. And fail repeatedly. Smell the Ocean breeze every day. That same Ocean breeze that once filled your beating heart but now just fills your empty lungs. Smile contently when you watch the sunrise, and squint tiredly when you see the sunset. All from your house with dog and two children and girl that doesn't surf. Grow old and say that you had a wonderful life.

But it wasn't. Where was the passion? Where was the adventure? Where was that feeling of being alive? The girl that doesn't surf never understood that feeling - she was never able to surf, let alone swim. Your passport is void of any surf destinations. Your travel backpack has long been auctioned off for pennies at a yard sale. Your quiver has long shrunk in size, inversely related to your waist size. Surf magazines avoid your mailbox. The only wax you see is in your ears as you pick at them with your manicured nails done by a Vietnamese lady for $50.

Your life is safe, secure, and stable. It's exactly what the girl who doesn't surf has ever hoped for. And the golden ring on her finger. It is the life of vanilla, not salted caramel with hazelnut and chocolate syrup and whipped cream with a toasted marshmallow on top. It is the life no movie script can ever save with a kaleidoscope ending. It is the life of a person who dates a girl who doesn't surf.

You miss the salty water. You miss the poundings on the inside. You miss popping up too late and free-falling through the air head first. You miss the slide of a board on a clean face as you set your rail. You miss the leg burn after a long ride. You miss the heart pounding, mind-numbing love that you once felt with the girl who doesn't surf. And you realize that you had all that at one time in your life. Before the girl who doesn't surf walked into your life.

Don't date the girl who surfs. She has a neck tan line and sun-beaten hair. Her skin has sunspots on them - a far cry from the fair, Vitamin D deficient complexion of the girl who doesn't surf. Don't date the girl who surfs. She knows the importance of staying in the moment. That the next wave could be THE wave. That missing that wave will be the regret of her life, since surf consumes her very soul, and her heart aches and pains every time she thinks of the one that got away. Don't date the girl who surfs since she will be thinking of the next swell that will hit up north, or maybe down south. Just not locally. Local is too comfortable. Her home is too comfortable and she needs to escape. And so she'll want to go to places like Hawaii, Tahiti, Bali, Spain, France, Brazil or Chile. Wherever there may be waves, that's where she will want to go. Your passport will need new pages, for the stamps of foreign countries have trampled all over your vacant pages, and that's a burden in your daily life. Don't date her because you will have to wake up early with her, since the crowd will be on it by the time the sun is up. You will have to watch the blinding rising sun from the line up at least four times a month, changing your perception of what golden means. And you will have to be in the water for the sun when it sets in that blinding orange haze with the purples and the reds melding together like molten lava. You will have to surf with her until it's dark, until no one is out, except the two of you, and the full moon rising above you - the only illumination you two will have in the dark, open Ocean.

Don't date the girl who surfs since she knows that you know that no one else knows. Unless of course, if you go. Go go go. Go for it, she will say. It's unsafe, it's unstable, you'll never make it, is what she won't say. Don't date the girl who surfs since she will understand if you need to catch one more wave, so she will wait for you on shore. Don't date a girl who surfs since all the guys in the line up will be eye fucking her, and you don't want prepubescent boys and retired military personnel and every salty bastard in between to be drooling over her. And as everyone drools over her, she'll paddle towards a wave no one sees, spin around, and with everyone hooting her, she will paddle majestically into a gem, pop up seamlessly, and catch that wave to shore.

Don't date a girl who surfs for the one who surfs will have other hobbies besides surfing. She'll go to yoga, and you will too. You'll have to master downwards dog and king pigeon and cobra. And watch other girls on thin yoga mats in thin yoga pants stretch and contort their body every which way while you struggle to do warrior 1 stance. She'll want to learn guitar or ukulele, since the iPod ran out of batteries long ago, and the eight hour drive in a remote location in the mountains where radio signals don't reach is too quiet. She'll want to paint. Her nails will be covered in acrylics and oils that aren't applied by a cute Vietnamese lady for $50. Her creativity will ooze out onto the canvas and onto the floor. Every stroke is graceful, as she is in the water. Every brush is a board in her eyes, and every canvas is a big, open wave for her to extend her creativity. A splash here, a dab there, a smudge there.

Date a girl who doesn't surf since the girl who does surf knows the importance of hard work. She will be pounded and defeated alongside with you on those days - those days that wrench your board out of your hands and smack you down to the shallow reef. They will break a weak spirit in half, and then into quarters, just for good measure. She'll know the meaning of humble pie, and how a big slice of it is handed out to everyone at one point or another. She'll know what it means to have the shoulders burn from a twenty minute paddle out while being caught inside. She'll know what it means to train out of the water to be ready for those beat downs and hold downs and marathon paddle sessions. She'll work hard, and that's quite the opposite of a comfortable life on the comfortable sofa in a comfortable living room in a comfortable house. Good enough aren't words that exist in her dictionary.  She, the girl who surfs, will know the satisfaction of working out, yoga, a healthy diet, and hours of traveling, all culminating in a screaming barrel that spits her out as she looks back at you when she floats onto the shoulder, yelling, DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!

No, don't date her, because she will make you want to surf more. To be more than just a desk job. To work out more. To be a better person in the water. And be a better person out of the water. Don't date her, for she will change your life, and change is the spiraling chaos of fear that engulfs your timid soul. Don't date her, she will know the importance of being present in the fleeting moments of life's gifts, instead of looking too far forward into the future or drone on the past of what could have been. Don't date her, for she won't be satisfied without freedom. She'll love something more than herself, and it completely sets her free. She'll dream, she'll dance, she'll sing, she'll fly. And she will surf however way she pleases.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

KKs Vacay: Final Day of Pipe Masters and Saying Bye to the Dojo 121413

Surf Report: 10-12 foot Pipe
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Buzzing with energy
Winds: Offshore

We wake up the next morning and I prepare a Kale smoothie for all of us.  We have to clear out the fridge, so we do our best to eat all the produce.  We start our walk down to Pipeline.  The morning is damp, and the sun is just trying to peak over the mountains.  As we walked down to Kam Highway, a truck pulls over.  Francis's friend is riding in the passenger seat.  He offers us a lift in the truck to Pipe.  So, we climb into the truck bed, where they had picked up two Japanese girls en route to Waimea Bay.
Pipe Masters!!
We get dropped off at Pipe, and there is a huge crowd assembled already.  It's only 8:30 in the morning, and hundreds, maybe a thousand, people are lining the beach, securing a spot for the final day of the Pipe Masters. 
Our front row seats!!


We sit down right in front of the scaffolding.  We see free surfers taking off on bombs.  The waves are HUGE today.  There is barely any space on the take off, but the line of priority is clear - the locals and pros are all taking off on the best waves. 

We see JOB, CJ Hobgood, Nathan Fletcher, and a slew of other pro's surf before the event.  JOB breaks his board going for a bomb, and has to swim in.  We see groms paddling out to Pipe too, as they get dragged from Backdoor all the way to the channel before they even get to the line up.  Wakita-san and her two kids are here too.  She says to me, "You made it!  So you cancelled your flight?" 

"No, I'm just here for the first heat.  I needed to see some of it before I left!"

"Well, that's good.  Hope to see you again," she tells me.

The event is on hold until 9:30 AM because of the morning sickness.  We have to leave here by 10:00 AM so Nicole can get to the dentist, and I can make my flight back home.

I line up to buy t-shirts.  It's a long ass wait, and much of the heat is underway while I wait.  Francis and Nicole come join me to line up, saying that they almost got washed away from a set. 

"The family next to us, their daughter almost got dragged into the water.  All their iceboxes and seats got washed away.  We were lucky to get all our stuff up before we got washed away too," Nicole says.

We watch from the shore after buying the t-shirts. We watch Mick and CJ's heat only.  CJ was on fire the whole time!  He took great wave after great wave.  Mick on the other hand... was off.  He would take off late under the lip and not make the drop on more than one instance.  I thought to myself, "Aw man, his timing's off.  He's not gonna win the World Title like this!" 

As we walk away from the beach, the countdown begins.  And then, we turn around to see Mick slide into this foamy wave.  The wave reforms as he fades out, and so he pulls into the tube.  It seems like eons before the wave spits, and then Mick comes flying out of the barrel.  A perfect 10, hands down.  Mick wins the heat, and later on wins the World Title. 
Blazing HOT

We walk back to the house.  I am sexting while walking, and stub my toe on the speed bump.  I can say that I got this from Pipeline. 
I got it from Pipeline, I swear!!
We see Alessa Quizon and Caio Ibelli pull up to a parking spot further down near the parking lot.  They are late to the party.  We make it back to our house and the sun is blazing hot.  I have most of my stuff packed from the night before, so all I have to do is clean out the fridge and get all my stuff into the car.  Francis and I eat the leftovers from last night, including the ice cream, as we watch the Pipe Masters on my phone. 

We pack all of our belongings into our cars, give a big hug, and say good-bye.  It's time for me to leave the North Shore and head to Town.  My mind is racing on all the things I need to do before my flight.  Go to Mitsuken, pick up garlic chicken, head to the Dojo, say bye to everyone, head back to the HNL airport, get my stuff checked in, and then have a beer. 

First stop is Mitsuken for some garlic chicken.  I ordered it last night so it was waiting for me at the front.  All they do here is garlic chicken, so you know it's good.  I grab my 60 pieces of chicken and head out. 

Second stop is the Dojo.  On my way there, the H1 East bound had traffic up the wazoo.  A car was overturned, and was blocking all traffic.  "How will I get to the airport on time with that traffic?" I thought.   Only Shizzles is home at the Dojo, so I say my good-bye to him.  Alex comes home right in the nick of time, and we say our good-byes too.

"Man, Klaude, you changed the way I think," Alex tells me.

"Oh yea? How so?"

"Seeing you here, and how much you got done... just seeing how active you are, and how much you took advantage of the things we take for granted, it's changed the way I see our island.  We have all of this, every day.  And you showed me how much we should be doing here."

"Aw thanks bruh, it was only fun thanks to all of you.  You guys made this trip a trip of a life time," I told them. 

Justin wasn't home, so I had to call him to say good-bye.  He left me a shirt from Fitted Hawaii and a red and brown LA hat with Hawaiian print on as a parting gift for me.

 I make my way down to the H1, and traffic is backed up to Kokohead.  I couldn't believe it, but at the same time, I knew this was going to happen.  I take the exit for Nimitz Highway, and take Nimitz "highway" (which is really just surface streets along Waikiki) all the way through to HNL airport.  I made my vehicle check in time and felt relieved, and sad. 

I get on the bus, and start talking to a couple next to me.  The husband, Mike, is a retired Navy Seal, and they are enjoying their retirement years.  We talk about San Diego, Los Angeles, Oahu, and Kauai.  He hands me a beer from his cooler, saying that I should enjoy it before my flight.  I thank him for it as they got off the bus.

I am the last one on the bus as the driver slows down to a halt at United Airways terminal.  He helps me get my stuff off, and wishes me a safe flight.  I see airport security on my left and right.  I sit my backpack down, bust out the beer, and start chugging it.  It's an IPA in a can, and it tastes so refreshing.  I toss the can into the recyclables trash can, and head to the terminal. 

"That bag is going to cost you," says the lady directing traffic.  "It's over 75 pounds."

"Well, I paid $100 when I came here," I inform her.

"It's going to cost you $200," she says.

I roll my eyes, thinking this is bullshit. 

I do a self check-in, and see the option of checking in luggage.  25-50 lbs is free, 50-70 lbs is $125, and 70 lbs or above is $225.  I select the 50-70 lbs weight range, pay my $125, and check my luggage in at the odd-sized baggage area. 

"You havetah walk over der, and drop it off over der, k?" says the lady.

"Over there?  Where there's no one?"

"Ya, over der.  Someone come pickitup later," she answers.

"Are you sure?  There's NO ONE THERE."

Another attendant chimes in.  "Dun worry, someone will be der.  They come pickitup, no worries.  You betta hurry up, your flight soon," he says.

Ok, fine.  I walk it over... sure enough, NO ONE IS THERE.  I stick some FRAGILE stickers on just in case, say a little prayer, and leave my surfboards there. 

I lug my heavy ass bag with 60 pieces of hot garlic chicken in it, along with my uke, and my backpack, all the way through the TSA checkpoint, and then to the bar.  I have to have my ceremonial tall glass of beer before I board. 

Finally, I get to my terminal, where most of the passengers are already boarded.  I guess I could have missed my flight if I had done anything differently that day, but I was on time, ready to go back to Los Angeles.  I send out a few more texts of thanks to people I saw on this trip, smiling, recounting all that had happened on this trip. 
Last beer before leaving Hawaii
I set out this trip to surf and relax.  I set out this trip to see the Pipe Masters live.  I set out this trip to meet my surf heroes.  I set out this trip to meet my friends I haven't seen in over a year and a half, some of them more. 

What actually happened was far and beyond what I could have ever expected.  I got to surf world class waves, and relax in a more than comfortable beach house.  I got to see many heats of the Pipe Masters, and met a lot of my surf heroes, some more times than one.  I got to see a live concert where a lot of surf superstars were present.  I got to hang out with a lot of my friends that I haven't seen in a long time.  We played ping pong, ate, drank, smoked, surfed, cooked, laughed, and cheered.  I got to meet a lot of new people too, getting to know them, even just for a moment, and how our lives intertwined on this small piece of volcanic rock floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

"Next time, we're finding you a local girl so you stay here, ok Klaude?" Nicole and Francis said, before we parted ways.  I suppose that was the only thing missing from my trip. 

I am grateful for the wonderful trip I was able to share with all my friends and with myself.  I am grateful for the waves I caught and the lessons I learned from the ones I didn't.  I am grateful for the very seconds that ticked on as I enjoyed my first vacation in over a year and a half.  This trip was indeed a trip of a life time.  I felt that my time on this island has gone far beyond my expectation, and that I probably won't have a trip this amazing again. 

Who knows?  I may have to travel to a different destination now in order to write another KK's Vacay blog entry. 

Oh, and my surfboards never even left Hawaii.  I got them two days later.  Go fucking figure.  At least nothing was damaged or stolen. 

Mahalos to all my ohana that I got to see on this trip.  Mahalos to the beautiful island of Oahu, for treating me so well.  Mahalos to everyone I met along the way on this trip.  And most importantly, Mahalos Mother Ocean for being so great to us. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

KKs Vacay: Last Day of Surfing Building Swell

Surf Report: Building 8-12 foot Hawaiian
Weather: Sunny then stormy
Water: Warm
Winds: Off shore

After Jillee and Justin take off in the morning, Francis shows up.  He took days off of his work in order to surf with me on my vacation, for I am forever grateful - it wouldn't have been the same without him surfing with me at V-land. 

He informs me there is no surf at all. It's just flat.  I make us smoothies, and we decide what to do.  "Wanna hike?" he asks, with his raised eyebrows and widened eyes.

So, we go hike up the Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau, a historic site of where an ancient Hawaiian village used to be.  There is only the rock structures left now, and we take a moment to breathe in the mana of the land.

Francis says, "Imagine, you're working up here, and you see a huge foreign boat just pull up into the Bay, and they tell you, 'Your beliefs are wrong, your way of living is wrong, surrender now and follow our beliefs and ways, or be killed.'"

We hike to a spot that overlooks the bay, and we see butterflies fluttering.

"You know, when I was a kid, I used to think butterflies were my dead relatives reincarnated," says Francis.  "So I always liked seeing butterflies around me."

We overlook the Bay, and he asks, "You wanna jump off the rock?"

"Yea, let's do that, I've never done it."

We walk back to the Heiau, and I bow to pay my respects to the past.  We then drive to Waimea Bay.

We are walking down to the Bay, where families are hanging out.  Some waves are coming into the Bay, and are pushing the shoreline further up.  We climb up the rock, and get to the top.  Francis looks at me and says, "You wanna go first?"

"Sure, let's do this!" I say.  I jump off.... cannon-balling.  Whoa... this drop is long... I think to myself.  I start to tilt on my side because the drop is so long. 

SMACK!!!

I land on my side, and almost get the wind knocked out of me.  FUCK THAT HURT.

It could have been worse... I could have really injured myself.  We swim in.

"Let's try that again," I tell Francis.

We inspired other people to jump off the rock. A group of young girls start climbing on the rock, and we follow them up.  I tell Francis how I landed on my side, and he points out that my whole left side is bright red.

"You should go feet first.  Sorry I should've told you that huh?"

So, next one... feet first.  feet first.  feet first.

I jump in, feet first.  Clean dip into the water.  Success!!

We swim to a different rock and climb up.  We chill and watch the water move below us.  We jump again, and let the water carry us in.  The shore line is littered with shells, so we start shell hunting.  An Uncle is shell hunting too, looking for Sunrise Shells.  They are bright red, pink, or yellow.  They look beautiful.

We head back to the house, and contemplate our next move.  We can see people crossing the street to paddle out.  Perhaps the waves have arrived on this "building swell?"

Should we surf? Or should we eat? Then surf?

"Let's go surf," says Francis.

So, we grab our big boards, and head out to V-land, the last time I am going to surf here this trip.

When we get to the beach, it's firing.  Not only is it firing, but it's a zoo.  Kids must have ditched class because it's only noon and there are a lot of groms out.  I see the usual Uncles out, but it's hard to be in the line up knowing that there are a lot of groms on the inside of us.

We hear a big BOOOOOOM and the ensuing roar of the white water.  We start gunning for the outside, and see an eight foot white water wall rolling towards us.  We duck dive, and wait for a wave.

The swell was a WNW, so it was hitting V-land a little wide.  A lot of waves would swing closer to Freddy's, and so we would all be out of position for them.

"Hey, that's Kahea Hart right there, coach of the Hawaii surf team."

Indeed, it's him, and he's talking to Seth Moniz regarding his GoPro.

I start paddling for a medium sized wave, a ten footer, and start to pick up speed.  Kahea then whistles me off, and I back out.  Damn it.

I wait further outside with the Uncles.  I hear a loud BOOOOOOOOOOOOM and start gunning for the outside.  Another ten foot white water wall is roaring at us.  I can see behind it, another ten footer is feathering its ugly peak.  You can just feel the rumble of the Ocean as we paddle towards it.  I start chanting in my head, "LEFT, LEFT, LEFT RIGHT LEFT.  LEFT, LEFT, LEFT RIGHT LEFT."

"This is the NORTH SHOOOOORE!" I scream at Francis.

I swing for an outside set, and catch the wave.  However, there is an Uncle right behind me, so I have to kick out immediately.  There's another wave behind it, and I scramble for the shoulder to get out of the way of another Uncle.

I see Francis paddle for a shoulder.  There's a bodyboarder on it already, but he just takes off and takes the wave.  Yes, he snaked him, but hey, you gotta just take the wave.  NO questions asked. Eat or be eaten.

I kept getting snaked by Uncles or having to kick out because the Uncles were on it.  I just couldn't bring myself to snake them.

The crowd was unbearable at this point.  It was too much.  I suggest we try Freddy's instead, and Francis obliged.

We paddled to Freddy's, and a group of girls plus a few groms show up immediately.  Where did they paddle from? Sunset? 

I go for a right, and get snaked by one of the groms.  He looks back, and continues snaking me.  I get stuck on the inside as sets pound me on my head.  I can't get back to the line up.  I try to paddle to the channel, but the sets wash me further and further inside.  I duck dive countless times.  Still, no progress.

On the millionth duck dive, my right peck starts to SCREAM at me.

STOP PADDLING.  JUST STOP, I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE.  YOU'VE PUSHED YOURSELF TO THE LIMIT.  STOP PADDLING NOW!!!!

I obliged.  It was time for me to get out.  I proved to myself, I can catch these big waves, I can surf with a building Hawaiian swell, and I can surf with the Uncles.  I was done.  My body was done.  After surfing hours on end on the North Shore, my shoulders and body just gave out.  STOP.  NOW!!!

I try to motion to Francis I was going in, but he was busy on the outside.  I paddle in.  No shame, no sorrow.  Just tired. And sore.  So very very sore.

I wait for Francis to come in.  I'm just laying on the sand, feeling the sun bake me.  My right peck is yearning for some ice.  I think back to the waves I had to kick out on and the waves I got snaked on today.  I wished I could have gotten a decent ride, but it just wasn't meant to be.  And surprisingly, I was ok with this.  I had come off of an injured shoulder from October, and now, right here, I was on the North Shore of Oahu, the proving grounds of surfing, paddling into 10-12 foot waves.  That's all that mattered to me.  I had set a goal of being able to surf by my trip, and I exceeded my goal by far.  I was satisfied.

Francis came in, and we walk back to my house.  I ice my shoulder as I had done every surf session, and fix us some late lunch.

That night, Nicole came over to spend the night.  We stopped by Foodland only to find that all the food had been bought up.  It was friggin 6 PM!!  All the food was GONE.  Damn.

So, we go to the Elephant Truck, a Thai food truck, right by the Foodland.  There, I saw Kelia Moniz, Bruna Shmitz, and another surfer girl.  I congratulated Sister (Kelia, as she is called by most) on her second longboarding champion title.  She said thank you, and Bruna smiled also.

As I waited for our food, a guy with beady, nervous eyes with long hair wearing a blue hoodie and backpack walked up to the truck.  He didn't make eye contact with anybody, just looked around.  His eyes seemed to have seen a lot of things he wish he hadn't in his younger days.  They looked youthful, but at the same time, aged and hardened.  The guy who took our orders came from the back of the truck to take the next person's order.

"Hey Jason," said the man.

"Hey," Jason replied.  He reached into his cash box, took out a $20 bill, and handed it to him.

The man nodded, and went off to the Waimea Valley darkness.

Now, that could have been a simple donation to a man in need.  He could have been hungry, or needed some money for whatever he may need.  But, to me, it was a tell-tale sign that not all things on the North Shore are what it seems to be.  I am guessing that the $20 was "rent" to do business on the North Shore that the food truck had to pay.  This guy was a collector for who knows, but most likely, Da Hui.

We get back home with our food, and gourge our food rigorously.  We pop in Man of Steel and watch that for the night.  The crickets chirped and the mosquitoes buzzed.  The waves will be firing tomorrow, and we need to get up early in order to watch the Pipe Masters. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

KKs Vacay: V-Land and Mauli Ola Foundation 121213

Surf Report: 2-4 Feet (4-8 on the face)
Water: Warm
Winds: light off shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

I'm sick and tired of this perfect weather!

Said nobody ever.
Waimea Bay Rainbow

Sunny skies, with the occasional chance of rainbows.  It's just so perfect in Hawaii.

Francis, Alex and I walk to V-land once again... It's another uncrowded morning since it is an in between day for surf.  There's a little bit of swell in the water still.

We paddle out as usual, and see the Uncles, and the surfer lady again.  She's out here EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY.  Crazy.

I've grown accustomed to the line up here, and I guess the locals have seen me enough to let me have some set waves.  I go for a nice set, and the surfer lady snakes me.  But, she sees me approaching her from behind, and kicks out.  I bottom turn up the face, and do a cut back.  I pump a few more times, and cut back again.


I thank her later in the line up for the wave.  She smiles.  I compliment her for her wave yesterday in Japanese.  She was taken back a little bit.

"Oh you speak Japanese?"

"Yes I do," I told her.

"That's great.  Yea, that wave yesterday, I had to go on.  There won't be an end to the shit I might hear if I didn't go for that wave," she said.  Wow, she is a charger.  Not only that, but she's actually really good at surfing too.

"Where are you from?" I ask her in Japanese.

"Kanagawa," she says.

"Oh, that's great, did you move here?"

"Yes, we moved here a few months ago.  Well, my husband and I finally got green cards, so we were able to move here, finally."

"Oh, what does your husband do?"

"He's... ummm. Do you know Takayuki Wakita?"

"UH YEA?? He's one of my favorite Pipe surfers!"

"Oh, that's great!  He's my husband.  We finally moved here."

"WHAT??? You're Wakita's wife??"  How crazy is that?  Wakita has a spot in Pipeline named after him, because he surfs that bowl all the time.  It's a really crazy drop, and no one surfs it but him.  Hence, the Wakita Bowl.

"Wow, it's an honor to meet you.  I love your husband's surfing.  That helmet, and the way he curls his back when taking off, it's so sick," I tell her.

"Aw thank you.  He'll be so happy to hear he has fans.  He's doing the commentating for the Pipeline Masters' Japanese broadcast"

"Oh is he? That's great, because the past commentators have all sucked.  They don't even speak Japanese, it's more Hawaiian Japanese.  My friend and I always say we could do a better job commentating on this."

She laughs, and says that she'll tell her husband that so he won't mess up and disappoint the Japanese listeners.

There were tons of waves today too, and as always, the Soft Top Bandito was taking a lot of waves.  Alex... he just charges.

Francis was going for the barrel again.  He had some sick turns going right too.  V-land is definitely a playground for any surfer.

There was this girl named Heather that I started talking to.  She had a cute black bikini on.  She is a graphic designer from Ventura who moved here about a month ago.  She said she's only here temporarily, but loves it so far.  I told her that I surfed C Street before leaving for Hawaii, and she said, "Wow, small world."

I got this one right where I stalled for the barrel.  It was so beautiful, the wave face just stood up like a wall.  However, the lip never curled over.  It just kinda mushed out where I was.  I was stalling and stalling and waiting and waiting, but this wave never curled.  It was just a green wall of glass.

We surfed three hours this day, and called it a day.  Alex and Francis went back to Town, and then Justin and Jillee came up.  They took me to the North Shore Farmers Market.





We later bought some beers and drank on the beach near Sharks Cove and watched the sunset.
Cheers!


Sunset
Blazing Horizon


This never gets old

Then, we jammed up to the Turtle Bay Resort, and went to the Mauli Ola Foundation's 2nd Annual benefit concert.  We got to see Donavan Frankenreiter, Tahitian dance, a local reggae band, Makua Rothman, and The Green.  This night was so epic, I couldn't believe it.
Sunny Garcia
I got to meet Sunny Garcia that night, along with Makua Rothman, Kala Alexander (he made a very heart-warming speech for the Foundation - I even saw him in the hallway and shook his hand), and tons of girls.  The girls... they seemed bored at this benefit concert, checking their phones and trying to distract themselves.  We never once took out our phones to distract ourselves that night.  We had so much fun just laughing, joking, dancing, and partying it up.  My phone died, so I couldn't take many photos, but as Justin said, "You have your HD camera in your head bro!"

We even became "part of the band" by making our empty cups full of ice into shakers and playing music with Donavan.

When Makua was about to go on stage, I saw him in the hallway.  I gave him a hand shake, and said that we surfed at V-land yesterday, and that I looked forward to hearing him sing that night.  When he came on stage, he shouted out, "How many of you guys surfed at V-land with me yesterday??"  A personal shout out for me?  How nice!!
F-f-f-f-f-f-front Row Seats for Donavan!!
During the Green Band set, we were rocking out.  We danced our asses off.  Didn't care who was watching, we were vibing with the music.  We were in the front row for god sakes!!  It was amazing.  My ears were ringing at the end of the night.  The Green Band's main guitarist gave me his guitar pick and shook our hands.  He definitely appreciated us dancing our asses off.  
Chris Cote and Jesse Billauer
At the end of the night, we were too tired to go to the after party at the Surfer Bar.  So, we went home.
A wonderful night at the Mauli Ola Foundation
Justin and Jillee were headed back into Town because Jillee had work, and they needed to get some gas.  I told them there are two gas stations on their way home.  We said good nights and I went to bed...

I get a call from Justin, saying that none of the gas stations are open.  So, they slept on the futon couch that night. 

KKs Vacay: V-Land double sesh and Comfort Zones 121113

Surf Report: 3-5 foot Hawaiian Scale
Water: Warm
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Clear

Francis came over in the morning and we walked over to V-land again.  As we made our way out to the uncrowded line up, I see a guy bottom turn, smash the lip, bottom turn, layback snap, bottom turn, kick stomp and stall for the barrel, and then punch out of the closing wave.  Immediately, I knew it was Taylor Knox.  His style, his flow, unmistakeable.

As we make our way to the line up, we see Pat O'Connell take off on a set wave.  The surfer girl we see all the time is out once again, along with the normal Uncles that are always here.

"I like to paddle longer strokes here," says Pat to Taylor.

"Hey Taylor," I casually say.

"Hey, wsup dude?" he answers back with a smile.

It's a quiet in between swell day.  Nothing crazy, but still some size, with plenty of waves to go around.  There are good vibes in the water with everyone trading waves.  I get a few waves to myself, working on my round house cutback.  Francis asks, "Did you grab rail on that cutty?"

"Naw, hands free!"

"Oh that was sick," he compliments me.

Francis is going for both lefts and rights, and pulling into the barrel.  He says he caught about three or four barrels this day, getting pinched on a few of them.

A set of twins and another grom paddle out, with a very familiar face accompanying them.  It's Makuakai Rothman!! He is on Uncle duty today.  He is on the inside, pushing these kids into waves.  A lot of the Uncles recognize this, and kick out or pull out of the waves when Makua pushes the kids into waves.   This makes me smile since I realize that this is a real surf community.  The Uncles recognize the kids, the future generation, catching waves, and let them enjoy the waves.  A real sense of community, family, and ohana.

"I just got barreled!" yelled one of the kids.

"Yeeaaa you did!!" shouts Makua.

"Hey Uncle, why don't you push me into waves?" says an older surfer.  We all chuckle at this.

Makue paddles out to the line up leaving the kids in the hands of another Uncle.  Just then, an eight foot face rears its pretty head from the distance, and the surfer girl we always see paddles for it.  She misses the wave, and pulls back.

"Ho, too small huh Auntie?" Makua jokes.  She looks a bit embarrassed for missing the wave.

"Hey Makua, how's it?" I ask.  "You working on a new album?"

"Hey brah, yea I am!  January 28th, it should drop," he answers.

"Sick brah.  Keep up the good work!!  Love what you do."

"Oh mahalos bruh!  You coming tomorrow right?"

"Oh for the foundation concert yea?" I know about the Mauli Ola Foundation concert since I follow the Foundation on instagram, and a lot of my surf heroes have been posting about it too.  "I'm trying to make it, yea.  The Green's playing too!"

"Yea, I'm going on right before them.  Come check it out brah!"

"Sure thing man, I'll be there.  When's sound check?" I ask.

"It's at 2.  I gotta go soon," he answers. "_____-san, nanji desuka?" he asks the surfer girl what time is it, in Japanese. 

"It's 11," she answers. 

He is riding this weird pointed tail, flat rocker, round nose surfboard.  He starts to dig and paddle into what seems like a nothing wave.  "HEY HEY HEY HEY!" he starts to yell.  An Uncle on the shoulder stops paddling and Makua takes off.  He gets barreled, then takes the wave all the way to the inside.  He paddles back out to the line up and chats with other people.

A five foot wave (ten foot face) pops up, and Makua starts yelling, "Go Auntie, GO!!" The surfer girl digs, kicks, and scratches, and takes off on one of the most beautiful waves of the morning.  She takes it all the way in.

The waves start getting juicier, and it gets really fun from here.  I don't know how many waves we catch, but it was a shit ton.  The skies got grey as the waves got heavier, and towards the end, I got stuck on the inside.

There is this guy who paddles out who looks super familiar... he's goofy footed, has some Hurley stickers on his board, and surfs really well.  Francis and I know he's a Pipe specialist from Kauai, but we don't know what his name is.  When I am stuck on the inside, he casually takes off on a five foot wave (ten foot face) right in front of me.  He casually takes off from the peak, and makes the drop.  He takes the waves all the way to the inside, and slowly paddles back, as if his elongated hair and arms are an extension of the Ocean and he flows like a jellyfish in the water.  I watch his surfing, mesmerized.

We surfed four hours this session, and we were drained.  We head back home for the time being to refuel.  We google image surfers that we think the mystery surfer is, and finally discover it was Aamion Goodwin. 

Alex comes for the afternoon session.  He is rocking out his soft top as always, and we walk down to Vland.

"Oh shit, its Kala Alexander," he says.

Kala is barefoot, shirtless, and on the side of Kam Highway.

"Where is it?? WHERE IS IT??"

He has his left foot on this guy's neck, his left arm grabbing hold of the man's right wrist, and he is jack-hammering this guy in the rib cage.  'WHERE IS IT??"

"Kala, I swear, I don't fucking know!  I swear, if I knew, I'd tell you!! I sw-"

His voice is cut off from his own screams.

"WHERE IS IT!! TELL ME WHERE IT IS!!" Kala exclaims.

He is now elbowing the guy in the rib cage.

There are two huge dudes that look like bouncers, around the two.  They have that look of, "If you want to get involved, you go through us first."

It's a quiet neighborhood, the North Shore.  Kids playing in the drive way, roosters crowing every morning - it's paradise.  But not all that glitters is gold, and this is the dark side of the paradise.  I'm guessing it was either drugs, money, or drug money.  Either way, we were not getting involved in this North Shore pounding.

We walk past the brawl, well, more like a beat down.  A brawl would be two people fighting, but this fight was just one sided.  We later question if this was the right thing to do...

The sunset surf session was CROWDED.  All the groms were out, including the billabong girls team.  It's so crowded, it feels like over-capacity.  I am uncomfortable surfing in this crowd.

One of the Uncles paddles out.  He has white hair, and a mustache.  He paddles for a set wave, and I am in the way, along with another billabong girl.  "GET OUTTA THE WAY!!" he yells. He takes the wave with a scowl on his face, and has to straighten out because of me.

"GET OUTTA THE WAY DAMN IT!  GO HOME OR GET OUTTA THE WAY!" he screams.  "DAMN!! ALL THE KIDS ARE IN THE WAY.  GET OUTTA THE WAY OR GO HOME!" he yells again.

I.  Feel.  Terrible.

I paddle up to him, and apologize.  He smiles, and says, its ok.  Well, that was easy?  I'm not sure.  Shit happens, I guess, and he might of had a bad day at work or something.

I catch NO waves this session.  Alex, aka the SOFT TOP BANDITO, catches anything and everything that moves.  He's on fire, once again.  Francis keeps to himself, dropping into a wave here and there.  The sun was setting quickly, and I was growing uncomfortable with the sun light dimming and my vision obstructing me.

"Gosh, would you look at that?" says a thick Aussie accent.  "So beautiful."

"Yea, it's amazing isn't it?  I never get tired of it," I tell the man next to me.

"If I'm reincarnated... I wanna be seeing that again," he says.

"Maybe as a marine animal?" Francis chimes in, with his Brown Jesus smile.

"HAHA! Yea!  A marine animal!  That would be awesome!" says the Aussie.  "I'm so aggro right now, I can't catch a wave."

"Me neither man, me neither."

"It doesn't help that I'm white either.  Even when I live here, I can't surf here since I have to work all the time.  And when I can surf, no one gives me a wave.  It's a double whammy.  I just can't win," he tells me.

"Well, at least you live here, that's lucky man," I remind him.

"What, you don't live here?  You look like one of the locals here brah," he says.

"Thanks, it's the hair," I say, tugging on my hair that I haven't washed in days.  It's growing long as fuck, and my skin must be dark as hell too.

This guy is named Brent.  He lives just blocks away, and his Brazilian wife body boards too.  He is a contractor, and works about 60 hours a week.  He moved here from Austrailia to get away from his hometown in order to grow. 

"You know, it was real comfortable back home... but it just wasn't cutting it.  And then when I visited back home, all the people who I hung out with, they're in the same place, doing the same thing, just being comfortable.  Just STUCK in that comfortable place.  I mean, it's fine for them, it's just not for me," he says. 

"Well, I've always found that people grow the most when they get themselves out of their comfort zone," I tell him.

"You know, you're fucking right," Brent tells me.  "Man, you're pretty driven, aren't you Klaude? You sound like a very driven person."

I laugh.  "I guess I am, yea.  It's the only way I know how to live."

We talk extensively as the dusk stole the light away from the horizon about comfort zones and drive.  I grew more and more uncomfortable, and at the same time, felt like I should take some of my own advice and stay uncomfortable.  I would have been out of the water thirty minutes ago, but I'm still here.  I'm putting myself in the uncomfortable situation.  I can't see Francis or Alex.  I'm at a point break with waves still coming, and I can't see shit.  I should get out - says my head.  Ok, stop listening to that.  Why not just catch a wave?  You're here, you're in Hawaii.  Be uncomfortable.  Grow!

I sit on the main peak.  I can't see shit.  But, I can see some of the peaks forming, and feel the water rushing up.  I start paddling for a wave, but it fizzles.  I paddle for another, and I feel the wave pick me up.  I air drop into the flats, bottom turn, and do a round house cut back.  I'm in the white water, taking the wave as far as I can.  The wave fizzles, and I jump off.  I'm in the shallows.  I paddle towards the channel, and then finally back to the beach.  I put myself in an uncomfortable situation, and felt content.  Finally, I caught a wave in this situation.

I walk back alone, in the dark, to my house.  Alex is already there.

"Brah, I thought you and Francis walked out already, so I ran up to this pair walking, and they were CHICKS!  I just kept walking..." We laugh at this.

"Damn, where's Francis?  Should we go look for him?"

"Naw, he should be fine, let's just kick it and have a beer," Alex replies.

Sure enough, Francis returns, and we all talk about the brawl of Kala Alexander.

"Did we do the right thing?"

"Should we have stepped in?"

"Naw, we would of gotten our asses beat."

"It was probably over something shady, too."

"If it was a girl being raped or beaten, then we should step in."

"Yea, I guess we did the right thing by not getting involved... but still."

I prepare some dinner for da boys this night, which included some left over pasta, rosemary pork, and garlic bread that Francis brought.  Cass came over too, and we all ate well, along with Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie from Ted's Bakery, courtesy of Alex.

Chocolate Haupia Creme Pie!!
We watched Pacific Rim that night, and Cass and Alex took off.  Francis slept over, and we both slept like babies that night.

Friday, January 10, 2014

KKs Vacay: V-land to Freddieland 121013

Surf Report: 3-5 feet Hawaiian Scale (6-10 feet on the face)
Water: Warm
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Rain then Sun

It rained this whole morning.   It was a beautiful way to wake up on the North Shore with the roosters crowing and the rain drops rhythmically drumming down on the ground.  Another solitary moment to myself.  I breathed slowly.

I go through my usual routine of warming up.  Francis was on his way to surf with me today.  It was forecasted as a 3-5 foot Hawaiian day, so I was looking forward to some "real" surf.  I had set my limit to 5 feet on the face, and anything above that I would not paddle out.  But I quickly realized that anything under 5 feet on the face on the North Shore was not happening while I was here.  Everything will be above 5 feet on the face, and I would have to challenge my mental, physical, and spiritual self this trip.






This fat ass cat keeps the mice away
As I waited for Francis, I see this cat chilling on my door step.  He's one of the cats Myles owns.  In the manual he provides his tenants, the Padaca's warn to NOT PET THIS CAT.  The cat meows at me, and beckons to let him in.  I oblige.  He rubs on my leg and proceeds to go around his house.  After all, it is HIS house.  I am just a guest. 

Francis arrives and we exchange hugs.  He has brought two beers for our post surf brew.  He says he hasn't eaten yet, so I suggest we go to Haleiwa.

"The contest is running, it's really crowded right now," he says.

Damn, I didn't know the contest will be running in this size surf.  But then again, how big is it, really?

"Ok, let's go to Ted's then.  We can walk there."

Ted's Bakery Mushroom Omelette.  Heavy stuff
We arrive at Ted's and I get an omelette.  It's the "healthiest" thing there, but it's so greasy and cheesy that I feel a baby Ted inside of my belly... this can't be the best thing I've eaten before a surf...

We make our way back to the house and grab our boards.  We walk down the street, cross Kam highway, two blocks down, and end up going through the Sunset complex, which is more like a luxury home gated community.  We get to the beach and see Freddieland, and Velzyland in the distance.  The sun is shining by this point, and we walk down towards V-land's iconic wall.  I leave my sandals here and Francis and I start stretching.

"It's crowded today..." Francis says.

We start paddling out, and the crowd becomes apparent.  There is about three times as many people out today as there was yesterday.  On top of that,when we paddled out, a bunch of other people paddled out too.

"It's Pancho," Fransauce points out.

Pancho Sullivan - one of my all-time favorite power surfers.  His carves and layback snaps are so amazing!!  And there he was, right in front of us.

"Brah, the water level just rose five feet from all these people coming out," he said. 

It was so friggin crowded... I couldn't catch one single wave.  On top of that, Baby Ted in my belly was gurgling around and weighing me down.  I couldn't position myself, I couldn't paddle, and I couldn't surf.

"Ey, let's go over there to Freddie's.. it's less crowded so we might get some waves there," Francis says.  So, we paddle across the channel and sit on Freddie's for the rest of the session.

The left at Freddie's was working great.  The rights were short and kind of gutless.  Francis was killing it this session.  He took left after left after left.  Two turn lefts, three turn lefts, no problem.  He was just killing it. 

A small group of Aussies came out to surf too.  They were traveling to Hawaii, then to Panama, then to South America.  They were surfing pretty well too. 

This one fine girl came out in a green bikini and pink lip stick.  My god she was cute.  She was on a foamie, and killing it too.  I had numerous chances to snake her, but I was mesmerized.  She was so cute and hot, surfing on her foamie.  I couldn't bring myself to snake her. 

After about four hours in the water, we called it a day.  I was dead tired.  Baby Ted was still brewing in my stomach... never again will I eat there before a surf session. 

We walk back to the house and share a brew. 
Cheers!
"Nicole said that I should just take the next few days off and surf with you.  She said, 'You don't have to take me to work, I'll drive myself.  Go hang out with Klaude, you haven't seen him in over a year.'  She's so good to me." 

So, Francis will be staying and surfing with me for the next few days. Chee!
Runch is served

Acai Smoothie
We went to get lunch in Haleiwa.  I wanted to get some shopping done too, so we stopped off at Celestial Natural Foods.  We ate in the Beet Box Cafe, where I had a mushroom burger.  VERY ONO.  I got some shopping done (super expensive to eat healthy in Hawaii - now I understand why people will opt out from eating healthily to eating poorly here.  A pack of strawberries cost $9.99)  I get my shopping done and we head back to the house. 

The Pipe competition is still going on, but we opt to drink beers on the road back home.  Four hours of surf was exhausting.  Francis goes home and I fix myself turkey bolognese pasta and watch some TV.  I take a walk down to Sunset beach and see the most beautiful sunset. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

KKs Vacay: Velzyland 120913

Surf Report: 2-4 feet Hawaiian scale (4-8 feet on the face)
Water: Cool for Hawaiian standards
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Off shore

I was awoken by my the gentle humming of my cell phone and a car's exhaust hurriedly going up the road.  It sounded like Alex's car.

Missed Call: Alex

I call him back.  "Hey, I think that I heard you go past the house.  Turn back around."

Alex has made the trek to the North Shore with one of his buddies, D-Roy.  I sheepishly greet them.  It was my first full night's sleep since getting to Hawaii.  The Dojo is great, but having your own bed is definitely something that was missing on my vacation.

I give them a tour of the house and tell them to settle in.  I hadn't done any grocery shopping, so I could only offer them water.  I tell them I have to do my shoulder exercises, and then we can go surf.

"This is a sick place!" Alex and D-Roy say.

"Yea, it's really nice, I really out-did myself with it here."

"Where do you wanna surf?"

"Well, V-land is right down the street, and I got this place so we can surf there, but we can surf wherever," I tell them.

"V-land sounds good man, I haven't surfed there in a long time," D-Roy says.

"We can walk there, it's just 3 blocks over that way," I say.

"Man, walking's for POOR PEOPLE!" Alex says.  "I'll drive."

"Really man?  It's right down the street..."

"I'll drive," he insists.

Fine, drive.  V-land is literally three blocks down.  It wasn't much of a drive.

I  brought my Neckbeard out to this session.  We parked our car, and walked down the asphalt, through some trees, and bam, there's an A-Frame peeling right in front of us.  There are about ten, twelve people in the line up.  There's a knee boarder, some body boarders, a chick, and a few uncles surfing.  I mean, it's a weekday, what did you really expect?  Plus there isn't much swell in the water.

We stretch, and D-Roy says, "Man, it's gonna be COLLLDDD."

"Oh you Hawaiians, so spoiled," I laugh.

The Soft Top Bandit paddles out, and I follow him through the channel.  I start thinking to myself, man, this is the spot that every Hawaiian talks about.  The legendary Dale Velzy's name is on this spot.  Buttons surfed here.  The Ho's.  The Rothmans.  The Bustin Down the Doors.  They all surfed here.

The wave itself is like Trestles.  The rights are nice and long, and the lefts are there if you're willing to put up with the shallow inside.  The take off is steep, and the sections barrel most of the time.  The inside is shallow, so you don't want to get caught on the sets.

I learned the line up this day, and where to line myself up.  There was a definite pecking order, where the Uncles and the knee boarder had priority.  We waited for wider sets to break and picked off the smaller waves.  Alex aka the Soft Top Bandit was in the thick of things and charging hard.  He inspired me to charge into the pack and go for the set waves.

I caught one good wave where I got two round house carves off.  The wave was so fat and meaty that two round house carves fit into the face.  I pumped, bottom turned mid face and arched around, then pumped from the white water and did a round house again in the flats.

D-Roy was wearing similar boardshorts to this other local, so I found myself hooting at the wrong dude.  Oops.

The guys in the line up were very helpful.  They told me if I saw a peak pop up to the left of me, then the wave will bend right where we were sitting.  If it broke outside, then it will swing wide and break to our left.  Those ones are bigger and harrier, but they offered a barrel off the take off.  I missed one of these wide ones where an Uncle was telling me to go, but the lip was barreling over me so I bailed out.  Still getting used to this break... I felt a bit inadequate in my abilities, naturally.

"I like these in between days... they make my winter.  Everyone would be out and crowding the spot if it was a big day... but these in between days... when no one's out?  They're the best," and Uncle said.  I have to agree.  I didn't quite understand what he meant by "crowding" but I will find out soon enough, since I was living down the street here.  

We surfed for a few hours and called it a day.

Kev had called us, and he said they were en route to the North Shore.  We said we needed to grab food, so they should meet us in Haleiwa.   

On the way there, we had parked at Wailua Bakery.  The place was PACKED.  I saw Sage Erickson's sexy ass there as we walked by the line.  She was talking with some other professional surfers.  So, we opted out of Wailua Bakery and decided to try a Viet Namese place.  Unfortunately when we crossed the street where the Viet Namese restaurant was located, it was closed.  So, we decided to eat at L&L.

Alex had lost his $20, so I bought the boys lunch since they came all the way out here.  Kev and B-Sauce showed up to the L&L, and ordered some food too.  Alex was still bummed about his lost $20, so I told him we should retrace our steps, and maybe it will still be out there.

After we eat, we cross the street and start to retrace our steps.  I find a $5 bill on the ground, so I thought to myself, "Oh, I should give this to him so he doesn't feel so bummed."

Then, I see a crumpled up $20 bill near our car.  BINGO.

"Yo! Found it!!  I found this $5 and was gonna give it to you, but since we found your $20, I'm gonna keep it."

"Whaaaat? You found the $20?  And you found a $5?" Alex was flabbergasted.

We get to my house and give the boys a small tour.  Then we go to V-land where we surf a second session.  The second session had more or less the same crowd of Uncles, the chick, and more groms out since school was done.  It was still pretty small, but I struggled catching waves while not running over the groms on the inside.  Alex, of course, took a lot of waves on his soft top.  We surfed for a good two and a half hours this second session, but it was more of a learning session for me than anything. 

I took off on a set wave that came to me on the inside.  It was a beautiful wave, but it seemed to close out in front of me, and I thought I could have gotten around it.  The wave crashed, and I couldn't get around the section.  I was now stuck in the shallows of V-land.  And when I mean shallows, I mean knee deep with sets breaking on your head.  Nothing you can do but take it without duck diving, stand up, get your feet cut up, and hope the sets let up.  I paddled around the reef, and paddled back into the channel and politely bowed out of the line up. 

However, in hindsight, I should have just pulled into the barrel first, and then think about what to do with the section ahead of it.  I had missed the barrel.  I was pissed at myself for missing the barrel.  It was RIGHT THERE.  It was mine for the taking.  I took off smoothly behind the peak, and all I had to do was to shoot for it.  Instead, I went around it, and got punished.  Indeed, the safest place to be on a wave is inside the barrel. 
Sunsets in HI




That night, I got invited to the Outrigger Canoe Club's Annual Christmas party.  I had to drive into Town during rush hour, but hey, it was a party.  It was an all you can eat buffet, and I had a grand time. There was some entertainment and games played by the staff of the Outrigger Canoe Club.  There were some cool people I met there which I hope to keep in touch with, and not to say that there were a few alcoholic beverages to be had too.  The party ended, and we ended up at the bar.  Alex was having some girl trouble with Cass, so he was in a foul mood that night.  Francis and I took off early in the night, and we came home to the Dojo, only to confront Cass crying her face off about Alex.

Buffet!!
After listening to her cry her heart out, I told her "I gotta drive back to the North Shore, so I'm taking off."  I felt bad that Francis is stuck with this, but he's dealt with it before, and he told me he left after I left too.

My first plate
The drive back to the North Shore was long and quiet.  There are no radio signals that reach out here, so I drove in silence with my thoughts ringing inside of my head.  It was hard not to get tunnel vision, and I was lucky that I got home safely. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

KKs Vacay: Watching the Pipe Masters and North Shore Rental 120813

Surf Report: 8-10 feet solid
Water: Warm
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

I woke up kinda late... I couldn't sleep last night.  The Dojo smoked me out last night, and I had to bow out as they passed a joint while loading up the bong.  I chilled in the living room, where they proceeded to smoke wax dabs.  Damn, they smoke a gang...

I had thousands of thoughts shooting through my head and couldn't sleep... gotta sleep... Pipe Masters tomorrow...

I woke up around 7:00 and started to get my stuff together.  I didn't want to take everything with me since I'd be on the beach, so I packed my backpack and my uke, and headed to Bogart's.  I got my Acai bowl to go, where a girl just handed me one she just made.  "The guy said he'll be back, so you take this one," she said.  The place was packed with marathon runners taking a break?  or something.... I'm not sure, but it was packed already.

I made my way to the H1 and headed to the H2, making that fateful drive to the North Shore.  There are windmills dotting the hills now... a change in scenery I will have to get used to...

For just for a day, our King and Queen
Would visit all these Islands and saw everything
How would they feel about the change in our land?

Could you just imagine if they were around
and saw highways on their sacred grounds
how would they feel about this modern city life?

-Braddah Iz Hawaii '78

As I approached familiar breaks like Chuns and Left Overs, the traffic started to get heavy.  It wasn't that bad really, but there was no street parking... I saw a $10 parking "lot" and paid the guy at the front and parked next to a family.

"Let's go!  Beach day!" the parents were telling their sleepy kids.

The famed bike path
I took all my stuff with me since I didn't want any break ins.  I had packed some snack bars and what not to keep me going during the day until I decided to leave the beach.  A sign pointed "PIPELINE" right by, so I crossed the street, crossed the bike path, and headed through the two houses.  I can hear the contest horn going off....

And BAM, I was in between the Volcom house and another house, right in front of the Banzai Pipeline.  What luck!  I walked down the steps to see the third heat underway - Alejo Muniz vs. Marcus Hickman. I set out my beach towel next to these groms sitting on some camera equipment and plopped down.  I started to eat my Acai bowl as I watched the contest, live and direct.


My View of Pipeline / Backdoor


I saw many heats this day from 8:30 in the morning... I saw the camera groms were actually just guarding a photographer's stuff, a photographer named Sebastian Imizcoz.  Two babes sat at the camera gear for a while until he returned, as he would do standing photography, and then put on his fins and helmet and go photograph in the water.

The Volcom House
Joel Parko and Matt Wilko walked by and said hi to the babes and Sebastian too.  So, this photog must be famous.

Bruce Irons
Kissed by the Hawaiian Sun
I was going back and forth between my "seat" and the competitor's area getting autographs and photo's.  One thing that was common between the surfers: They were all STOKED to give me their autograph.  Genuine happiness oozed from them when they signed my book.  They didn't just scribble whatever, they made sure their autograph looked good.
Seabass after his 10 point ride
Hearing the roooooar of the white wash so close, the spit every time a wave crashed, the surfers risking everything for a barrel, and the cheers of the crowd was ELECTRIFYING.  It's unlike anything I've ever seen.  I've watched this context countless times on the web, but it doesn't compare to being there, touching the grainy North Shore sand, smelling the ocean breeze, feeling your skin bake under the sun, hearing the ten foot waves crashing and the announcers that you can name over the PA, seeing the epic wipe outs, feeling the pounding of the waves and the water washing away the spectators who are too close, and just the vibe of a beach day picnic mixed with the superbowl of surfing all together.  It was sensory overload for me.

Gabriel Medina - he has HUUUUUGE feet, meaning he has a huuuuuuuge shoe box
I talked to some people during the day.  Some came from Boston, North Carolina, Argentina, Germany, and Brazil, all to watch this contest.  Most of these people I talked to weren't even surfers - they just wanted to watch the contest though.  They would comment, "Oh wow that was so deep!" and "Oh my god!! That was such a steep drop!!" Surfing is truly becoming a globally recognized "sport."

Brazilian Butts
I watched the Pipe Masters from 8:30 AM till 2:30 PM.  I was high off of my mind, not even feeling hungry.  I told myself though, that I should eat, and so I bowed out from the contest.  I went back to the parking "lot" and there was a food truck called the Beet Box Cafe truck.  They had pretty healthy stuff and everything was locally grown, so I got a Beet Box Burrito.  It was deeeelicious!

Freddy P!!
The Beet Box Cafe truck
I made my way to my car, and packed up my stuff.  I headed towards my vacation rental, which was past Sunset Beach, two blocks past Ted's Bakery, on a small road called Comcas Road.  Children played in the driveway so I had to drive slowly.  I saw the place I would call home for the next eight days.  A family was still packing up and about to leave.  I pull up and say hi to them as they hurriedly packed their things to make space for me. 

Beto - Brazilian artist
Inside, I can see a man working furiously to clean up the place for me.  This man is none other than Myles Padaca - one of my surf hero's that surfs Sunset Beach.  He made the contest's final round in 2010, and I watched the whole contest cheering him on because of his power moves and style.  And, he was shirtless!

He greets me, showing me the whole place.  "You have allllll this space to yourself!" he said.  His wife, Chaney, came down with extra towels.  "If you need extra bedding because of a guest sleeping over, just tell us and we'll provide them for you," she said.  "Here are your keys," as she handed them to me, "and I hope you enjoy your stay.  The Medina's were just here, and we had a double move out, so it's been crazy." 

So, that family that just left was Peter Mendia's family... another surf family.  Another surfer I look up to. 

The Living Room
I settle into my new spot... I turn on the Laker game and debate if I should go back into Town... The traffic will be horrible.  I better just stay put.  After all, I'm supposed to relax on my vacation, not drive through traffic and be stressed.  Good thing I brought some of my stuff with me.  It's not much, but I'll be fine. 

Queen sized bed
I walk to Ted's Bakery and get the "healthiest" dinner plate, a deep fried mahi mahi with mac salad and rice.  It was meh.  They're most known for their desserts. 

The shitter
A quiet night of solitude for myself.  It was a stark contrast from the hustle n bustle of Waikiki and the Dojo.  There are no lights around the Country.  Crickets and birds chirped the night away as I melted into my bed at 10:00 PM. 






Friday, January 3, 2014

KKs Vacay: Surfing Puena Point and Meeting JOB 120713

Surf Report: Overhead++
Water: Warm
Winds: Off shore
 Atmosphere: Sunny with patchy clouds

Cassandra, Alex and I pile into my rental and head off to the West side.  We stop off at the local shop to pick up some water and snacks and get on the H1 freeway.  Tunes are jamming, and we tell each other stories and jokes the whole time.

"So there was this girl that had a seizure in the midst of giving head to her boyfriend and bit his dick off," Cass says.

"WHAT??"

"Yea, so she went into shock, and her teeth clamped down, and her boyfriend couldn't wrench out his dick from her teeth, so he had his dick bitten off."

"Hash tag dick bitten off," I say.

As we make our way to the West side... we see a familiar scene.  The swell isn't hitting the West side again.  It's pretty flat every where.  It was maaaaaaybe two feet on the face.  We pull into an empty parking lot, and contemplate our move. Paddle out? Or drive back to the North Shore?

"Let's go to the North Shore," I say.

And so, off to Haleiwa we went.

As we pulled into Haleiwa, the whole parking lot is PACKED.  It's insane.  We find a parking spot as Alex goes to pee.  I go to see the break, and there are legit overhead waves rolling through perfectly through the point all the way to the Toilet Bowl section.  First wave, a braddah takes off behind the peak, double bottom turns and makes it around the section.  He then blasts the lip and shreds the rest of the wave.  The next wave, another local braddah takes off behind the peak, and shreds the shit out of it.  The next wave, another local braddah... on and on and on.

The walk to Puena Point, with Alex's sexy butt leading the way
"There's no way we can compete with that.  We're not going to get any waves.  It's all the locals out there right now," I say.

"We can try Puena Point, it's more for kooks, but we might be able to get some waves there," Alex says.  "It's right over there where we drove past to get to Haleiwa."

Cass






We pull into a crowded parking lot at Puena Point.  Cass offers to drive around to find parking so Alex and I could see the waves if it's worth paddling out.  We walk through a small passage full of palm trees and get to the paddle out spot.  There are a bunch of surf schools teaching people to surf on the inside, and on the waaaaay outside, we can see overhead sets rolling through the point.  The rights look fast and shallow, while the lefts look long and shreddable.

"I'm sold," I say.  "Let's paddle out here."

"How's it looking boys?" Cass says from behind.

"Oh shit, you found parking?" Alex asks.

"Yea, found parking, so are we paddling out here?"

"Yea, let's go for it."

We all get changed and grab our boards.  I brought over Pat's Nezzy board, the biggest and juiciest board in my quiver for the North Shore.  It's a 6'3" x 19 1/2 x 2 5/8 behemoth with a pin tail.  Cass is on her longboard 2+1 set up, and Alex is on the soft top once again. As we walk towards the path, there's a man in a raised yellow Jeep, blasting loud house music.  There is a house in the Dojo that has a similar car like that, so Alex asks the owner if he lived in Town.  He said no, as he stuffed his face with poke.  He wished us good luck as he jammed to his house music. 

The Emergence of the Soft Top Bandit

This session was quite difficult for me.  I set my "limit" on paddling out to 5 or 6 feet on the face because of my shoulder injury.  Legit overhead waves meant 7 to 8 feet on the face today.  Not only that, the place was crowded as hell.  I didn't catch one single wave until the very end because either an Uncle or a local was already on it, or that I would be hitting someone as I took off.

Cass took off on three waves.  On all three waves, she snaked someone.  She was a bit unsure if that was ok, but I reassured her that she has a cute bikini on, and so the view from behind would be a pleasure if she dropped in on someone.

Alex was straight CHARGING.  He was taking off deep on the set waves on his foamie.  He took pretty much every wave that rolled through his way.  He went both left and right, making every drop and every wave.  It was pretty hardcore.  I couldn't believe it. No one in the line up could believe it.

I got one final wave where I played dodgeball on my take off.  I look up to bottom turn, and see the section closing out ahead of me, so I straighten out.  I signal to Cass that I was out.

I paddle in to the shore and wait for Cass and Alex.  Cass comes in, and realizes a huge gash on her board.  She felt really bad and apologetic towards Alex, who brushed it off as if it was nothing.

"Better the board than you, Cass," I told her.

"That's right," Alex said.

The old dude in the yellow Jeep was still there, jamming out to house music.  There was another car, blasting Jawaiian music, as if competing for air space.

"Where should we go eat?"

"Wanna try Pupukea grill?"

"Yea, I'm down, let's go there," I replied.  

And so, off to Shark's Cove we went.  Pupukea Grill is a food truck located right by the Shark's Cove.  It's a mainstay of the North Shore with delicious, healthy food.  We pull up next to the gas station where the Pupukea Grill is located, and can't find parking.  So, I just park on the side of the road next to the mailbox of the gas station.

We get in line as we look at the menu, and I see a few cameramen following a blind guy.  He has a yellow stick, and immediately I know it's Derek, the blind Brazilian surfer.  So, I go up to him and his posse, and introduce myself.  I say in Portuguese, "Obrigado por inspiracion," (Thank you for the inspiration,) and he gives a big smile and shakes my hand.  The camera crew is smiling too, asking how I know about his story.  I tell him that I saw a video of him with Makua Rothman surfing Pipe, and that he's such an inspiration.  They tell me to check out the movie they are making of him called Beyond Sight.  I told them I will check it out, and to keep up the great work.

As we waited for our food, Alex hands me a Free Surf magazine.  We flip through the pages as we see all the amazing photography done by the big names like Bielmann, DJ Struntz, Jeff Divine, and Zak Noyle.

I sit down and order a salad and coconut curry quinoa dish, along with an Acai smoothie.  I needed the salad since I've been eating pretty much anything but greens, and I needed to feel human again.  All the good eats has made me shit liquids, and so it felt good to have green fiber in my stomach again. 


We all finish our meal, and head back to the car.

"Hey, that was Jamie O'Brien," Alex turns around and says to me.

WHAT

I swing around and see a tall dude with a Red Bull hat on, and the raised truck on 4x4's that I've seen countless times.  It's fucking J.O.B.!!

If you don't know this, I am a HUUUUUGE fan of JOB.  I love his surfing at Pipe.  He was one of the first surfers to win a Pipe Masters who only specialized in surfing Pipeline.  He goes switch foot in the barrel there, and has some of the heaviest waves of the winter every year.  On top of that, he shares my birthday of June 9th.

I tell Cass and Alex, "Guys, I have to go, I need to get his autograph!"

"Go! Do it!" they said.

So, I go back to the Pupukea Grill and smile at the people waiting in line.  My heart beat is racing but I keep it cool.  The cash register lady is taking out the trash, and replacing the garbage bag.  I patiently wait for her to finish.  My heart is thumping.  She returns to her register, and asks, "May I help you?" to me.

"Yes, may I borrow a pen please?" I ask eagerly.

"A pen? Sure," she replies.

She hands me a ball point pen, and I turn to JOB.

"Hey, Jamie, I'm a huge fan of yours," I say as I extend my hand towards him.

"Oh yea?  Sick man!  Hows it going?"

"Good, thank you.  Would you mind signing this please?" 

"Oh yea, of course!  What's your name?"

"Klaude, we share the same birthday.  We're both 69'ers." I reply.

He laughs at my 69er comment.  "Sick Klaude, did you surf Pipe today?"

"Hell no, that place is waaaaay out of my ability," I reply.  He's signing it.  He's really fucking signing it!!

"Well, you gonna come watch tomorrow right?"

"Yea, I will.  And look, I know you're not surfing in the competition because of the whole Ricardo Dos Santos thing, but I hope to see you free surf," I say.

He grins and hands me back the magazine.  "Here you go man, hope to see you there!"

"Thanks!"


He was genuinely stoked to give me an autograph.  Not only that, he wrote me a little message too: "Keep it real."


The four average looking girls flash a wide smile at me, as if to say, "Oh my god!! The guy we are with is really a famous professional surfer!! HE'S FAMOUS!"

We call them Pro-Hoes.

The reason why JOB can't surf in the Pipe Masters is because he punched a surfer during a competition at Tahiti.  The ASP barred his entry to the Pipe Masters even though he's one of, if not THE, best surfer out there.

Back at the car, Cass and Alex give me props for going up to JOB and getting his autograph.  I felt content, even though I didn't catch that many waves.  We make our way back into Town.  Alex knocks the fuck out in the passenger seat, so Cass and I talk on the way home.  We talk about careers and jobs, and how it's hard to find people who are driven in life.  I reassure her that she will find her niche, or group of friends, that she shares the same drive with, and sometimes, you have to cut out people who don't share that from your close circle of friends.  "What you seek is seeking you," I tell her. 

We get back in the afternoon, and we chill for a while.  Cass and Alex spend some quality time together, and are doing their thing.

The rest of the Dojo and I go off to Sandy's.  We body surf playful waves and come home.  The night is already dark, and I pop in Django Unchained.  I can hear from Alex's room that Cass and him are getting it on, so I turn up the volume.

"What do you want to do at your last night at the Dojo?" Kev asked.

"Actually, I wanted to just chill.  I'm pretty tired, and I want to go to the North Shore tomorrow to watch the opening rounds of the Pipe Masters," I replied.

"Freeaaaal.  Well if that's what you wanna do, then that's cool too," B-sauce said.

Later that night, I met up with Aiko-chan, a friend of ours from Los Angeles who moved back to Japan.  She was also participating in the Honolulu marathon, and flew in from Japan.  We meet up at her hotel lobby and walk around Ala Moana mall.  We catch up since we haven't seen each other since my sister's wedding in June.

The Dojo was quiet that night... The Boys respected my wishes of a quiet night and kept the living room empty and all did their own thing.  B-Sauce went to a birthday party, and so I didn't see him all night.

The sound of the water trickling down the turtle pond in our neighbor's property lulled me to sleep, as I tried to sleep... in anticipation of watching the Pipeline Masters live and direct for the first time in my life.



Aiko-chan and me, night before she runs for the Honolulu Marathon