"...forget about the donkeys and focus on you and the wave!"
Lots of crazy things have happened in the past three days. I’ve sailed in crowded, windy, and huge conditions. The biggest thing I had to remember was to keep my head and focus just on the wave. Right?
The first day was a mega big day on the north shore and Hookipa was a big closeout mess. My Dad and I decided to go to Kanaha... Mark Angulo came down too. The thing with Kanaha is that it is kind of like a beach break. It is really slow and always closes out to reform on the inside. It can be really fun, although today was not that day. There were about a hundred windsurfers and kiters out and it was burn central! Mark was killing it but I was fighting with so many other people for waves and dodging others in the water! Totally over it! I sailed in after an hour and later Mark Angulo came in too. My Dad, Mark, and I talked about all the people and how hard it was to do anything! Finally, Mark said that the only way to catch your's was to forget about the donkeys and focus on you and the wave. Good advice, but how could I focus on just the wave when there was so much else going on.
The second day was slightly smaller but not by much. Hookipa was macking and closing out the channel but the sets were ridable...-ish. I went out, not willing to go to Kanaha, and caught some pretty huge waves! The swells were colossal and ramped up more when they reached the reef—for sure one of gnarliest days I’ve sailed Hookipa. Then it got even gnarlier! The wind went from a light offshore breeze to a tornado in the barrel that practically hunted you down! Then the current that was rushing out from the channel collided into the wind and created a rapid! You would bottom turn and slide sideways mid face... not comfortable. I was pushing my envelope before and now the letter opener ripped open the paper and exposed the Christmas card! If I didn’t blow up on the wave I would go out into the flats where it was smoother but then I would loose speed and get axed. It was ridiculous out there and when Mark got caught by a sneaker set and went on the rocks I came in for a breather. That’s when a local sailor on the beach came up to me. He said, “Was it too much for you?” I didn’t understand at first so then he said it again. I finally realized what he said and, a little taken aback, I said, “No, I happen to be taking a break. Don’t worry I won’t be putting an impact vest on anytime soon.” As he was putting on his impact vest. Maybe it was a misinterpretation but I was so hyped up on adrenaline that I was ready to bite someone’s head off! And when he said that I got so mad that I went back out and got the next set waves for the rest of my session. And I went later than ever, just out of spite! Who needed to focus on just the water when you could compete against a person and use the water as the proving ground. But it was an unfulfilling feeling, like I did good but I was thinking about somebody else the whole time. I told my Dad and he said that when competing or free-surfing in general it is important to forget about what other people say and think about what you need to do, your job, your session.
Today was my third episode. The waves were smaller... about mast high in the sets. Before I went out I sat on the beach and took a deep breath. I breathed in what my Dad and Mark said, and I exhaled the crowds at Kanaha, the wind at Hookipa, the local... everything. Nothing was as important as just going out and killing it. Nothing was as important as enjoying a session. If I kept a cool head I could go kill it and show everyone how good I was. With that I went out and had one of the best sessions of my life. I fixed the speed problem by cutting my bottom turn drag in half just by turning mid-face. With that I got more speed, power and vertical hits. The sesh couldn’t be better! I went in and on my way the local from yesterday came up to me. He said he apologized for offending me and that he meant nothing by it. I told him it was cool and then we started talking about how sick the day was. It was better to talk to the guy and be cool than be a grouch. I guess the best thing to do, no matter what, is to remember that you’re not on the water to fight; you’re on the water to, well, be on the water!