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PEOPLE GET READY: SWELL TRAIN HYPE LEAVES THE STATION

| posted on July 22, 2010

This week we will not see series of swells, but rather, a series of swell “episodes”. At least that’s what the National Weather Service is calling it. A fitting word, as a number of smaller events will take place this week, all of them dramatic in some relative sense, and all of them adding to the greater whole: the swells and their aftermath.

First things first. All good episodes have hype.

Ah yes, the hype. Its machinery, in full swing since last week when my inbox was filled with three separate surf forecasting emails urging me to “call in sick”, is steaming right along–faster than the swell that is producing it. My Grandfather knows about this swell and he’s been dead for five years (may he rest in peace). I haven’t heard this much hype, rumor and innuendo since the last Seinfeld. It too was an episode. This week is going to be epic. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Of course, as I write this, the swell hasn’t even arrived in California.

Already we’ve had a few dramatic days in the Hawaiian Islands: Lots of Waimea Bay rescues on Saturday, outer reef tow sessions, and a well known PWC driver who ran over his tow partner putting him in the hospital with broken ribs. There was also rumor of a surfer (green board) paddling-in at Outer Log Cabins. Kam Highway had massive spillovers in the early Saturday morning hours at Haliewa, Puena Point, Laniakea, Chuns Reef, Log Cabins and other known North Shore low points. “The Big Island,” I was told by a friend in the lineup, “is all-time.” And perhaps you caught a glimpse of frothy Honolua Bay while watching the golf tournament on ESPN.

In California, on a Sunday afternoon, we wait. And the hype rolls on. On the SURFER Magazine bulletin board guys are chimming in about waxing up their 9′ 6″ guns for Swamis (paleeeze). Rumors about huge Maverick’s are heard in parking lots and in-between waist high set waves at Rincon. A hush-hush story about an upcoming violent showdown at Todos Santos has made the rounds.

It is all very dramatic, very “episodic” sounding.

The Granddaddy of them all: True drama at Cortes Bank. Rumor is that Hawaiian tow teams such as Garrett McNamara’s are heading over to ride 100-foot waves at Cortes Bank. Conventional wisdom amongst the tow-in sect tells them to go to Cortes. Don’t waste your time at Mavs or Jaws. Cortes Bank is where the Billabong XXL wave-and therefore money-will be bagged. It may actually be crowded out there this week. Billabong’s $60K prize has a way of mobilizing the men.

High pressure, albeit weak, is forecast for the entire week. Weak high pressure is a sketchy thing, especially 100 miles out to sea. Imagine being in a 55-foot boat in 18 foot seas with a 30 knot wind. No land in sight. An eight hour trip becomes eighteen. Fuel consumption skyrockets. It will be work-with a capital “W”.

Another rumor I’ve heard is that two or three crews are going to fly out to Cortes in a pontooned helicopter. The Malloys or the Longs…again, this is just parking lot BS, I have no sources. I heard it from a friend of a friend of a photographer–pure rumor.

But it wouldn’t surprise me. Something dramatic is going to happen in the big wave arena this week. I just hope it isn’t tragic drama. That’s an episode we could do without.