Tag Archives: hawaii

Circumnavigating Part 7: Making Like Magellan

Day two at Hanalei. Mike is exceptionally patient and encouraging, so I’m not sure what I’m hoping Alouette will do for me in the water, but I do have hopes of a better outcome than yesterday. I suppose on some level, I’m thinking that Alouette is a woman and, maybe, more my speed. Mike is a gristley guy with a lifetime of surf experience, ranging from New York winters to pumping Hanalei and beyond. I’m also hoping that the waves will be a size that I consider more fun than, say, deadly, since everyone keeps saying the swell’s going down.

Alouette turns out to be just as dauntless as Mike and just a little less nurturing (in the lineup). The swell is still up.

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Circumnavigating Part 6: So this is Hawaii.

Comfort zone: noun. The range of temperature between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius, at which the naked body neither sweats nor shivers.

Or, a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control.

I once paddled out at San Clemente pier with Alex Haro, even though the swell was coming in and it was already bigger than what I would have braved on my own. On most days, SC pier is an easy break. A reasonable paddle, a little hollow, not too rough, clean. When there’s swell, though, the sets can be slightly intimidating. The lips can be heavy and, somehow, unavoidable. On this afternoon, Alex succeeded (for once) in talking me into waves above my head. Literally and figuratively. At first, the waves were breaking at about the pier’s halfway mark. The pier is 1,296 feet long (17th longest in California). The longer we sat there, the further out the break moved. Within an hour, big sets were cracking at the end of the pier, and the smaller, unbroken ones left my stomach at their peaks as they rolled past. I hadn’t caught a single wave and I didn’t want to. I called it a night and met Alex on the beach an hour later. That session will remain the greatest distance I’ll be from my surf comfort zone. Until I surf Hanalei Bay with Michael.

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Circumnavigating Part 5: Separation Anxiety

Penguin in London (less useful than in Hawaii).

I’m video chatting with Jackie and she says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you took your board all over Europe and you didn’t have it in Hawaii?”

Yes, Jac, that would be hilarious. And I would cry. And it is a real possibility.

I arrange for a courier to retrieve my board in Pottsville and deliver it to Jon’s house in Coogee. Supposedly, it will take two days. Supposedly they will pick it up tomorrow. At the end of tomorrow, Rita texts to inform me that nobody came for the board. I call the company from Canberra and they say, “Well, let me just call the driver and get back to you in a few minutes.”

An hour later, as their office is about to close, I still haven’t heard back. When I call, I ask for Mike (the guy I talked to before) and the woman says, “Ah yes, I think he mentioned you.”


“Let me check if it was picked up,” says entirely unhelpful Mike.

“I can tell you that it wasn’t.”

“Yes, the driver said he didn’t have time and it will definitely be picked up tomorrow.”

“Okay, great thank you.”

The following day, I have a very similar conversation.

Like four days later, I’m in Sydney and leaving the country very, very soon. I have talked to the shipping company countless times in the last week and a half. I’m finallllyyy notified that the board will be in Coogee on April 5th. My flight to Kauai is on the 6th; if I fuck this up, I really won’t have a board in Hawaii.

As it’s a weekday, both Jon and Danny are working. I no longer have keys to the apartment. Furthermore, I have no idea what time to expect this delivery, and I definitely have to sign for it. How could I possibly botch this?

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It’s that time of year again…

The 2011 Billabong XXL Award winners will be announced Friday, April 29th in Anaheim. As usual, the wipeouts inspire sympathy pains. Check out Thiago Candelot at Jaws and click that screen shot for more…

Click to see the rest of the nominees

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