Epic Oahu in December!
Shame on us! When we booked our tickets for Oahu for a bit of sun, sand and warmth in the middle of typical cold, wet Pacific NW winter, we just assumed it’d be 7 days of bluebird skies, 80F-temps, long, lazy paddles with Hayden spotting sea turtles and going through bottle after bottle of sunscreen.
We got a bit of that on day 1,and had settled in for a week of pure Aloha! But on Day 2 a true Pacific winter storm blew in and it’s been typhoon-like for the past 48 hours, non-stop. In a word, it’s been EPIC!
More on that in a minute, though. First, a bit about where we are…
We fell in love with the beach and waters off Lanikai on Oahu’s southeast shore the first time we stayed here, in 2006. That trip was to race the Molokai OC6 World Champs for the first time, and we’ve returned here 3 times since.
On this trip, we rented a vacation cottage about a block off the beach, with a pool and exercise area — things both we and Hayden love to have at hand.
We’re geared up with a surfski, stand-up board, a full rack of other boats like OC-1′s, Ocean Kayaks, a kids boat… pretty much anything we’d need or want, all thanks to our friends the Scales family, Mike, Karen, and their boys Stryker and Skey.
The vibe is super mellow on the golden sandy beach here in Lanikai, the antithesis of the Waikiki scene. Hayden’s had us building the sand version of every aninal in the zoo or on a farm during our 3 or 4 daily trips to the beach. The only diversion that’s worked on him so far is to announce a session of “Rocket Boy!” where he’s taken to call for bigger and bigger air the bigger — and heavier — he gets!
Water-wise, the area immediately off-shore is protected from the brunt of the Pacific swell by coral reef, so for close to a mile out it’s relatively calm unless the wind is nuking, but still no ground swell really comes through.
At the edge of the reef sits a pair of ridiculously photogenic islands known as the Mokes, or Mokuluas. The area to either side and between the Mokes is where the action begins wave-wise. On past trips we’ve paddled and surfed between them doing lap after lap, heading a couple miles beyond and linking waves back in through the center channel.
On this trip, though, the first big winter storm of the season slammed the islands and stacked up HUGE swells that exploded against the islands, and closed out across the channel between them. I did a bit of “high adventure” paddling (and swimming) out beyond them on Wednesday, but have for the most part stayed inside the reefed-in area since then.
On Thursday we took a drive along the coast south of here past Koko Head, stopping at all the surf breaks and overviews along the way. Watermen and waterwomen young and old lined the breaks and rode waves standing, laying, kneeling and quite often tumbling.
Being storm lovers, it’s truly an amazing thing to be in Hawaii — the surfing and big-water paddling epicenter of the world — during a big winter storm, and to see it in all its energetic, un-tamed glory.
Tomorrow, there just HAPPENS to be a race starting from the very beach we’re lodged next to! Heather races at 10, me at 11:30. We’ll report!!!
B, H & H