Life begins at Mach 7 with your hair on fire. There are things about living on the island that I find among the most awe inspiring pursuits you can undertake. Surfing is one of them. Lots of tourists come to Hawaii and learn to surf. They hop on a soft foam long board for a few hours, get up a few times, and have a few pictures taken so they can say they surfed in Hawaii… that they are officially surfers.
Far be it from me to poke holes in fantasy, but one, two, three hours surfing in waist deep water won’t make you a surfer… at least not in my eyes. Take off on a 10-12 foot swell, and ride through a spitting barrel while a sound like an avalance follows you like a predator looking for a quick snack and then I’ll agree that you’re a surfer.
These pictures were taken today near Honolua Bay on the North Shore of Maui. During the winter, the swell picks up and a normally calm bay turns into a churning meat grinder that turns even the most experienced surfers into quivering puddles of jelly. These waves aren’t even that big… at 12-15 feet, they’re tiny by North Shore standards. On the opposite end of the North Shore, Peahi (known affectionately as JAWS) reigns supreme, with faces reaching into the upper 50 foot range.