Stab Magazine | Bucket List: Why Honolua Bay Haunts A Surfer’s Dreams

Bucket List: Why Honolua Bay Haunts A Surfer’s Dreams

A regularfooter’s mecca, and one of surfing’s sacred sites.

style // Dec 13, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Plucked straight out of our daydreams, and in partnership with Corona’s Bucket List offering (more info below), Stab presents the destinations highest on our life to-do list. 

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Wanderlust is a powerful force. Paired with a fierce surfing obsession, it can drive a person mad.

An example.

Every morning I wake up, rub my sleepy eyes, and smack my hand against the bedside table in search of my cell phone. The first search after deactivating that blood curdling alarm is always to my local surf cam. If it looks good, I take a nine-minute snooze and then get up to surf. If it looks bad, I take a two-hour snooze, wake up again, smack the table, deactivate the alarm, and hop on my computer for the day. From there, my search for waves becomes slightly broader. is my go-to site for global swell forecasting. It works as an interactive map, so you can watch large oceanic storms forming and moving across the world on one well-designed webpage. With one click you can switch from swell to wind to pressure, which tells a surfer just about everything he needs to know about a swell. Seeing every oceanic storm on one small screen can make a man metaphorically itchy, especially when it’s flat at home. 

Screen Shot 2017 12 10 at 9.59.23 AM

Have you seen, in your life, such a beautiful representation of science? Photo:

Cue the wanderlust.

A few times per week, I look at airline prices to random surfing destinations across the world. I don’t actually expect to leave in two days for Indonesia or Portugal, but it’s a beautiful daydream that I would, or could, chase a swell halfway around the Earth. With an endless cycle of wave-producing storms and tens of thousands of surf breaks across the world, my surf psyche is almost always in a different region, country, or continent. 

But there are certain breaks I’m always watching — my Bucket List. 

P-Pass, Mundaka, Nias, J-Bay, Supersuck, Skeleton Bay (oh, how I lust for Namibia). But there is one wave a little bit closer, and a lot more accessible to my time and resource constraints, that I regularly dream of: the fabled Honolua Bay.

Here’s what my Bucket List trip to the famed Hawaiian reef would look like.  

Where: Located on Maui’s northwestern headland, Honolua Bay is a 30-mile drive from Kahului Airport and resides directly below the world-renowned Kapalua Golf Course. Maui, as we all know, is the Hawaiian island renowned for wild winds and Albee Layer and Jaws. And on those windy days that Albee Layer is surfing Jaws, Honolua Bay is where most surfers would rather be.   

Why: The wave is stupendous. Having only mind-surfed it through photos, verbal descriptions, and that blessed Women’s CT event, the wave is a righthand reef with chronically offshore winds and a ridiculous double-up section. Honolua has such an easy chip-in, I think even this measly surf writer could pull off a JOB board transfer. 

What: Coconuts is Honolua’s outer ledge. Susceptible to northeast trades, Coconuts also provides Honloua’s biggest waves and maybe even a wild tube, if you’re brave. I’m not very brave so I think I’ll stick to The Cave, which has the reputation as Honolua’s premier section. From this position I’ll impress the locals with a flurry of bogs and waist-bent head dips that bring me through the Keiki Bowl. The Keiki Bowl is Honolua’s innermost section and, like its name implies, is meant to be ridden by kids. But the wave is so damn good that even grownups can’t resist the occasional inside snack.

Who: If I’m going to Honolua, I’m bringing the A-Team, even if, like any visitors, they’ll be resigned to picking scraps off the remarkable roster of standout locals—Albee Layer, Ian Walsh, Billy Kemper, Kai Barger, Granger Larsen, Coconut Willie, Tanner Hendrickson and many many more. Fortunately for us, Honolua’s “scraps” are superior to most waves we’ll surf throughout the year, so here’s my official Bucket List roster: John John’s coming to show me what’s possible. Medina’s coming to push John to do the impossible. Keanu Asing is coming to make me feel tall. Stephanie Gilmore and Dave Rastovich are coming, but they can only ride waves together, naked. Clay Marzo is coming to split the peak. Ricky Bassnett is coming to ensure I don’t get last place. And you know Bryce Young is coming for that wicked rail work! 

Kelly Maui WEB

Kelly Slater, supreme Honolua Bay ambassador. Photo: @1morephotography808

How: Remember when I said that Honolua sits below a world-renowned golf course? Well I’m a bit of a Golf Geek, so in this dream scenario I would play a morning round at Kapalua, while keeping a watchful eye on the bay. Throughout my round, Honolua would remain comically flat, to the point where everyone leaves thinking that the forecasted swell was a dud. After shooting a 69 at the Plantation Course, I’d wander down the hill and paddle out to the quiet bay, if only to soak in the brine. Over the next hour the waves would jump with flea-like intensity, giving me enough time to score a handful of tubes before the lineup is overtaken by the masses. At that point I’d get out of the water, grab a beer, and watch the sky go from yellow to pink to the most breathtaking purple.

When: Uhhhhhh, today? Next week? Whenever works for whoever is buying my ticket. Please, someone, give me a legitimate reason to smack the table and deactivate the alarm. I won’t even snooze it, I swear!

What’s on your Bucket List? You know, those once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable experiences you’ve always wanted to put a big fat marker through and say, ‘Yep, I’ve done it.’ Whether it’s remote travel to the corners of the globe, surfing that idyllic lineup, or meeting a personal hero in the flesh, Corona wants you to let the world hear your dreams, to celebrate these experiences. We’re hearing whispers that Corona’s helping these #coronabucketlist desires come to fruition, so go right ahead and share your own.

Read more, here.


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