Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Huge Waves + Big Wind = Gnarl

A few days ago the forecast for today was calling for a large swell with no wind and heavy rain. The swell turned out to be huge, the trades came back strong a day early, and the skies were clear. This is what Hookipa ended up looking like. You won't see many windsurfers, surfers, or kiters in these pictures. To those about to shred (or be shredded) ... we salute you!

(note - added some words after the pictures)

Above is Whit Poor who was killing it on the big waves.  Unfortunately he came in just after I got to the bluff and started shooting.

The waves were so huge that after a few turns most sailors jibed out the back before the wave closed out.  In this case, maybe not soon enough...

Trust me, these waves faces are 25 ft + at the peak.

Juban was one of the few sailors out and on the big stuff...

I would not want to be caught under that lip.  Mommy!

Looking down toward lanes, saw a huge set coming in.

A closer view of the peak (any of these pictures can be clicked to see a larger image btw).

For reference, compare the size of the sail just behind this wave.

There were a few kiters out.  These guys we jumping over some of the waves going out. That's cheating!

Boujmaa was also out.


Sometimes up the line was a much better option.

Otherwise there was a good chance of getting caught by a monster set...

Above is Camille's board.  He was taken down by one of those huge waves.

His rig separated rig from the board.  The board was saved before it hit the rocks. Above is Keith from Simmer who held onto the board while Camille was swimming in from far far away. You can see the remains of the rig.  The rig circled between the channel and the outside waves about three times before Camille jumped back in from the rocks, grabbed it, than swam into the cove where there was a pounding shore break onto large rocks. And eventually pulled the remains of his rig in. No easy task, trust me.

At most there were three or four sailors out at any time. A lot of (well known) guys rigged up and then decided to bag it.  Eventually we drove down to Lowers where the biggest sets were maybe 24 instead of 32 ft.  Still big enough.  And the period was short which meant the waves were coming fast and furious.  Julia and I both sailed down there.  I can't say it was an epic day - I spent most of the time trying not to get pummeled and generally avoided going down the line on the biggest waves.  And I did a lot of chicken jibes.

A lot of the pros opted for Lowers as well. Kauli was out throwing huge back loops.  Check out GP's  maui surf report for some lowers pictures. I'm in one of them. Hint - look for a huge Kauli back loop, then in the lower left corner look for someone on a newer Goya sail.  Oh yeah, we replaced Juli'a shredded sail with a new Goya 4.7 Guru.  More on that in a later post.  And while you're at GP's blog, be sure to read his "everything is possible" story.  Soon to be a major motion picture...

So today (Wednesday) the waves were about 1/2 the size of Tuesday and lowers was nothing but fun.  The wind was a bit gusty but oh well.  I'm learning to go higher on the top turn and I'm getting a bit of air off some of the lips.  The Quattro quad fin board I'm riding has really improved my wave riding (or at least my confidence, but that works too). More on that in yet another post I guess.

OK - just checked the surf forecast... additional moderate north swells coming every day or so, with another potentially extra large episode on Tuesday.  Seems like we've had so many of those just since we've been here.  Plus the trades look to stay with us for at least the next week.  Also another moderate south swell coming Fri-Sat.  This has been one great month!!

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