It's officially winter on Maui. What makes it official is the presence of an active cold front slicing through the islands. And by active I mean strong and gusty south west winds were cranking a day before the front came through, followed by the front itself which was accompanied by intense showers, in turn trailed by strong NW winds pushing behind it. This is common weather for the east coast in the spring (like Hatteras in May) but happens only once or twice a year on Maui, and only during the winter months. And with this front we're also getting the coldest temps of the year with a high of only 75 forecast for tomorrow. 75F! Yikes!! Might have to wear my hoody at the beach. How horrible.
Our passing front is the trailing edge of a large winter storm system in the N Pacific that generated huge 25-35 ft surf which is just now showing up on the north shore. So if you boil all this down to the essential nugget, you end up with a big kona day at Hookipa today. And by bigI mean not just giant waves but tons of wind as well. The last kona day that I blogged about was all about the light wind. Not so this time.
So we had a choice for our Maui activities today. We could drive down to Kihei and sail super windy but fun bump and jump gorge like conditions. Or we could make the shorter drive to Hookipa and watch some of the best windsurfers ripping up some of the most intense conditions this planet has to offer. It's sort of like a choice between playing in a pick-up game or watching the super bowl from the 50 yard line. And as much as I like playing, and I really really do, I didn't want to miss the big game. So we headed to Hookipa to see the show. And we were not disappointed!
When we first arrived we saw only one windsurfer out (Ricardo Rochebois, who quickly came in) and a handful of kiters. No surfers out due to the blown out conditions (a few ventured out later, but didn't stay long). As you can see from the the next photos, the waves were gnarl(!) as in who could possibly sail in this crazy stuff?
And then we spotted Jason Polakow and Kevin Prtchard rigging up. So we settled in to watch the action...
That was worth the price of admission right there. But after a little break in the action, we spotted Robby Swift and Ross Williams heading out...
You might notice in the last photo that Robby is checking out Josh Stone's turn on the wave behind him. Josh and Pascal Bronnimann were the last but certainly not the least sailors to hit the water. I got lots of pictures, but this post is pretty full already and those guys deserve their own space. So I'm going to show their photos in part II of this blog tomorrow. Aloha!
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