And the beat goes on….
The North Shore has been thumping to a raw energy over the last couple of days, with yesterday peaking in terms of intensity, swell and action. After watching two footers lapping the shore the night before, sunrise bought a new ten foot swell, washed clean by a straight easterly offshore. Every hour the swell would build, lighting up every inner and outer reef on the North Shore.
Down at Pipe a crowd of 20 guys tried to dodge and weave between 15 foot second reef chargers, some being way more successful than others. Michel Bourez, fresh from his win at the Reef Hawaiian Pro last week, was one of the less successful surfers out there, being handed a thorough beating that left the Tahitian rattled for a variety of reasons.
“I scored a quick right, then kicked out in between Backdoor and Off The Wall to see a massive Third Reef set rolling in,” he explained later. “I was like, ‘oh fuck, here we go.’ On the first one, I just dived as deep as I could and hung on to a rock. My legrope just went ping straight away. Then the next three just smashed me and held me down and right in the zone. I was just telling myself, ‘don’t panic, don’t panic.’ I was thinking that this is the exact same day that Malik died three years ago, so I was like, ‘not me, not today, no way.’ I eventually came in, and thought that’s it for today, its not meant to be.” Whist Michel was just happy to be alive, a batch of lads were riding massive boards out at Phantoms. Jamie Stirling, fresh from a big-wave mission in Alaska, was straight out there, surfing one of his favourite waves. “It was fun, you know 15 feet and clean. I was hoping for some bigger ones, so we could tow a few, but it was good to be back in the warm water, getting amongst it.” For Stirls, one of the heaviest chargers on the planet, 15-20 feet Phantoms was simply a nice way to get back in to the swing of things. Not far from Phantoms, down the road at Sunset, competitors in the O’Neill World Cup Of Surfing, were also dealing with 15 footers, but somehow managing to do massive hacks and blasting through monster tubes. “It’s about as big as can get out there,” said Maui surfer Ian Walsh, who yet again won his heat. “You’d take off and just see these massive walls stretching out as far as you could see. It was like snowboarding.”
Mick Fanning, who also progressed through his heat, made it back to also have a crack at maxing Pipe. “The two waves couldn’t be any different. Sunset today is just these massive peaks, breaking all over the shop, while Pipe is just ridiculously shallow, hammering on the inside. Both bloody heavy though, I’ll tell you that. ” And while we are on the subject of heavy, while all this, and so much more, was going down, big-wave legend Carlos Burle and his tow partner Maya Gabeira were patrolling the outer reefs all the way from Haleiwa to Phantoms scouring for the biggest waves they could find. Maya, a 23-year-old Brazilian, and without doubt the pre-eminent big wave female surfer in the world, reckoned the best waves they found were at an offshore break called Hammerheads, a left down past Avalanches.
“It was fun in the morning, but probably best in the late session before dark. Some really nice clean waves were coming through. The only bummer was that Carlos lost his tow board on dark and we couldn’t find it.”
A small price to pay? Well maybe not, but it certainly rounded up a pretty epic day on the North Shore. The next day saw the surf halve in size, making for optimum Pipe and Backdoor, with a crowd of 30 going for it from sunrise. Once again, the forecast sees another massive swell filling in overnight. Don’t take my word for it though, take all round surf, kite and windsurf legend Robbie Naish, a man who knows the Hawaiian waters and weather better than anyone. “It’s going to be as big, maybe bigger than yesterday, but a better swell, with a longer period and that should hang around for a few days.” So there you have it, once again, on the North Shore the beat goes on….