Sunday, October 6, 2013

Big Island Surf Trip

Here's a little history for ya: Danie and I attended the same intermediate school on the Big Island of Hawaii. Although I didn't know Danie personally, I'd often see him around school. I'd also see him surfing at one of the local surf breaks. Throughout high school I would continue to see Danie at said local surf break, but after I moved to California shortly after graduating from high school, I would lose contact with Danie.

Fast forward to several months ago. I came across Danie's profile while checking out some Big Island bodyboarding pics on Facebook. To my surprise, Danie was still bodyboarding. Most of the people from my generation that I bodyboarded with had either become stand-up surfers or had stopped wave riding altogether. Anyway, not only was Danie still bodyboarding, but he was a passionate supporter of the sport!

During the last couple of months preceding my trip home to the Big Island in September, I was thinking of things that I could blog about while on the Big Island. One of the ideas that I came up with was to hook up with another bodyboarder and take a surf trip around the island. The only problem was I didn't have any bodyboarders to go with. I had either lost contact with my friends that bodyboarded or they had stopped bodyboarding.

Then the proverbial light bulb went on. "What if I asked Danie?", I asked myself. I was a little apprehensive about approaching Danie since I didn't know him personally. In fact, at that time we weren't even Facebook friends! But I thought "what the heck, it wouldn't hurt to ask". So with that, I sent a Facebook message to Danie a month before my trip home and asked him if he'd be down to take a surf trip around the island. He simply replied: "Sorry, brah, I don't surf with kooks like you."

Haha, just joking. He actually replied by saying: "I would love to take u up on that offer". With that simple reply, it was on!

One of the first things I do when I arrive home is hit up one of my best friends Brad. This time was no exception. After catching up with each others lives, I told him that I was going to take a surf trip around the island with Danie. Brad, who knew Danie personally (quite well, I should add), asked if he could join us. "Of course", I quickly replied.

Our surf trip started on a Thursday. Brad picked me up around 5:30 AM and we drove to Danie's house to meet up with him. After arriving at Danie's house, we packed our stuff into Danie's truck and proceeded to hit the road.

Here's how the trip went:

The indescribable excitement during the first few miles of starting a surf trip!

We had to make a quick pit stop for da grinds.

This was one of the first waves that we saw on our surf trip. It definitely looked fun, but the tide was a little too low for this spot, and if you were caught at the wrong place when the sets came in you would surely be grated like a piece of cheese all over the reef. Probably not the best way to start a surf trip!

With the tide being a little too low for the first spot that we checked, we decided to check out a spot further down the road. How's this parking set up for spot checking? We were literally only a few feet from the water.

Danie with a nice DK hack.

After this surf sesh, we wouldn't actually catch another surf sesh until the afternoon. Between the time of the morning sesh and the afternoon sesh, we did some spot checking and some sight seeing.

Brad and Danie spot checking.

We came across a honu taking a nap on one of the many black sand beaches on this side of the island.

Danie chilling in a cold fresh water pond.

Lunch time!


In the afternoon we meet up with Koa, one of our buddies from intermediate school, for some shore break fun. I hadn't seen him since high school. It was nice to see and catch up with him.

Brad getting ready to cruise into a shore break barrel.

Before meeting up with Koa, we had checked out another spot, and that spot looked a lot better than this spot. To be honest, Brad and I were actually bummed about this spot as it just didn't look fun at all. However, with Koa all ready to jump in at this spot, we ultimately ended up surfing here.

I'm so glad we did.

What initially looked like junk turned out to be probably the most fun I had on the entire trip. This place is pretty nuts. While you're trying to get barreled in the pretty heavy shore break waves, you're also trying to avoid (or run over, depending on your mindset) the oblivious tourists.

It was pretty funny to see the contrast between the locals and tourist at this spot when the sets came in - the locals would hoot, holler and whistle in excitement and paddle towards the sets while the tourists would yell out some grief stricken expletive while running towards the beach in a desperate attempt to escape the sets. 9 times out of the 10, the tourists wouldn't get out of the water in time and would consequently get hammered by the sets. It was quite entertaining, to say the least.

I quickly realized that the locals at this spot weren't necessarily so much about wave riding as they were about just having fun. It was contagious!

A perfecting ending to such a fun day!

After our afternoon sesh, we ended up having dinner at, of all places, a bowling alley. The old adage "don't judge a book by its cover" certainly applied to this place. Probably the best meal I had during my entire trip - saute chicken cutlet. Ho, brah, mean! Da kine, broke da mouth kine mean!

The hotel where we stayed for the night.

Having had so much fun at that one spot the afternoon before, we decided to hit it up again in the morning:

After our morning sesh, we stopped by Honls, the birth place of bodyboarding. This is where Tom Morey took out the very first bodyboard.

The last spot that Brad and Danie surfed before heading back home:

A little foamball

Danie. This guy is a walking, talking, breathing encyclopedia of all things regarding Big Island bodyboarding. I learned so much about Big Island bodyboarders, past and present, Big Island spots and the current state of bodyboarding on the Big Island. Stoked on all I learned from Danie and even more stoked about learning just how much love he has for the Big Island bodyboarders.

Brad stoked on his new board.

We checked out another spot and did a little more sight seeing before heading back home.

I wish we had taken the usual way home, but I asked Danie if we could take the new saddle road home instead since I had never seen it before. I was kicking myself for that decision since, between the relatively uninteresting scenery and me falling asleep (hence no pictures from the drive home lol), it made for a rather anti-climatic ending to an otherwise sick surf trip.

Danie had some things to do by the time we rolled into our hometown. Brad and I parted ways with Danie and ended our day with a surf sesh at the local spot where, in many ways, this surf trip began all those years ago when we were in intermediate school.

The waves weren't really that good; the biggest wave we came across was probably a Hawaiian three footer, if that. But, man, this surf trip was sweet! This is one of the events in life that from now on will start with an emphatic "Ho brah, you remember that time when..." whenever we talk about it. At the beginning of this surf trip, I felt that I was going to have a super fun time, regardless of the waves. At the end of this trip, my intuition was right. It was fun catching up with each other. It was even more fun reminiscing about old times. Hey, that's what old... um... mature guys do, right? lol

Probably the most stoke inducing thing that happened on this trip was seeing braddah Brad reignite his stoke for bodyboarding. As grom, I don't think I knew anyone more stoked about surfing than Brad. I'm glad to see some of that stoke has been rekindled!

Special thanks to Danie and Brad for this trip. Super big mahalos, braddahs. Till the next surf trip!