The forecast called for north waves 12-16 ft with gusty NE trades in the 20-30 range. So when we got to Kanaha we were very disappointed to see the wind was not at the advertised speed. In fact it was light and onshore - NNE (30 deg) at about 15mph or so (though Kihei was trying to make up for this by blowing 30-40 - thanks a bunch!) . Here's the day's iWindsurf graph for Kanaha to better illustrate our situation..
Nick Warmuth actually didn't need no stinkin wind - he slogged out on his 5.3 and OES 75 lt board. And by slogged I mean board completely under water, no chance of planing, SLOG! We watched in amazement as he slowly worked his way up to weird wave, caught a little ride upwind, and eventually got to upper's outer reef where he promptly started catching big rides. Well that's Nick for you. The only other person out was Sven Zedlick on a 7.0 and a 115 lt slalom-ish board. He wasn't slogging but no one else has gear like that.
Now where was I? We waited to about 2:30ish when the wind came up a bit. I rigged my biggest kit, a 5.3 Ice North Sail on a 90lt Goya custom wave. This board is sweet on a wave but is not an early planing machine. Now I should mention that this board is a 2007 model and I have taken the latest 2010 Goya 89 twinzer out for a spin (see pic on right), and that board is IMO improved in many ways. It seems to plane sooner, stick on the waves a bit better, never spun out on me or did anything weird, and it was fine for doing what little tricks I can do (fwd loops, heli tacks, etc). I wanted to be on that again, but today I was back on the 2007 and a very underpowered. I slogged out anyway to see what the waves had.
And they were big, much bigger then I thought. Seems that the white water on the inside was big enough to make the waves outside look not so big from the beach, but on closer inspection the channel between lowers and uppers was often closing out with a 10ft + wave, and lowers itself was throwing down something that looked 16ft or maybe even 20ft at times.
And these waves were different then the usual lowers waves. They seemed to have more force. Maybe it was the size, maybe it was the direction, or the combination of swells, maybe it was the full moon and rising tide, or maybe just the fact that the wind was so onshore. Either way I noticed a few things 1) the inside breakers tended to pitch harder and slow me down more then usual 2) there was almost no wind in the impact zone (onshore wind again) 3) there was a lot of current 4) the swell was pretty big. Let's turn to the Waimea buoy to see if this is imagined or not...
Note the sudden rise of a 12 ft 12 sec NW swell right in the middle of the day. Another N swell was hanging around 10ft and looks like it bounced down and back up again. Not sure if this is exactly what we experienced on the water but a 12ft swell at 12 secs is likely to produce something close to 20 ft waves, and who knows what that other swell was doing out there.
In the northern hemisphere, models show the Aleutian low from the surface to the jet stream forming a huge gyre centered just east of the dateline starting this weekend. A broad area of severe gale to hurricane force winds to within 1000 nm of Hawaii should equate to giant surf locally starting around Sunday night, lasting several days from 300-340 degrees. Local winds to vary day to day from around the compass.
And the rumors have already started that HI could be getting one of the biggest swells in many years from this. In fact Pat made mention of the famous Dec 4th, 1969 storm 40 years ago that up until now is known for creating the largest swell in modern times. This swell also helped to cement Greg Noll's fame. Watch the movie Riding Giants (2004) if you want more on that story. What Pat said is basically the weather set up looks similar to then.
I'm curious what the models are actually showing for this period so I snuck a peek. Check out the giant storm predicted for Sunday 6th December with a fetch from Siberia almost all the way to HI. Wow!
Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.