It’s Been A Strange Winter On The North Shore
The locals are longing for El Niño but the out-of-towners don’t mind.
Talks of an unusual winter are echoing from the grainy coast off Kam Highway. And other than a few swells, Thanksgiving through now has been sub-par (if you’re talking to the Hawaiians). But for the Californians, Brazilians, some Aussies, and anyone from United States’ east coast it sure beats home. Because riding tropical waves in trunks is one of life’s greatest joys. On the North Shore what would typically be a good-to-great day at your home break excites but not in the same way – something strange happens to your wave perception here. Regardless, there have been waves. And those waves have been hollow and fun. Just not good enough to set a pack of hungry competitors loose at the Pipe trials.
“The Gudauskas brothers were all spreading good vibes while dominating the place this day at Rockie,” says lensman Brian Bielmann. “Rocky Point during Triple Crown season is funny; there are a lot of photographers and a lot of Brazilian surfers who are absolutely ripping. They have kind of taken over the spot but no one complains because they bring their girlfriends to the beach with them, so we all have something to look at in between sets. This time of year it’s crazy crowded but that’s part of the appeal.”
“There have not been a lot of great days – to say the least – but even Rocky Point on a so-so day with the right talent can be a lot of fun,” continues Mr Bielmann. “It’s like a shooting gallery; there are at least two or three peaks all going at once with the top pros going left and right. You’re always deciding who to follow. So what do you do if you have Jordy Smith going right and Nathan Fletcher going left? Well that’s the fun of it, sometimes you follow the right guys and sometimes you don’t.”
Matt Paul Catalano
“After a full day of pumping swell but gloomy conditions, the sun suddenly peaked through the clouds and provided a sunset for the books,” photographer Matt Catalano tells Stab. “Jamie [O’Brien, who else?] and the crew grabbed their waterproof LED lights and took over Pipe and Backdoor just before dark. This has pretty much become standard procedure as of late.”
Matt Paul Catalano
Rocky Point is the premiere high-performance break, but Off The Wall is where surfers shine. The mix of sand and rocks is confusing and makes for a wave that’s difficult to navigate. If you get a good one out there, you’ve put your time in. Here’s Matt Pagan sifting through one of those “good ones”.
Matt Paul Catalano
“Cam [Richards] stopped through Hawaii for two days en route to the Caribbean,” says Matt. “He happened to arrive during a pumping day at Rocky Point and was tossing airs right and left. This is one of those moments on one of those lefts.”
“Here’s Shane Beschen,” says photog Tim Ridenour, “at an early in the season session at Backdoor.”
There have been a few moments recently. Here we get Bruce Irons down the coast from the Weedmaps manor on Sunset and having a go at Pipeline’s neighbour. “This is Bruce all contrasty on a moody evening at Backdoor,” says Tim.
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