I am still alive.
Hawaii had a killer swell come through earlier this week - the likes of which have not been seen here since 2004. Therefore, the Eddie Aikau Memorial surf contest was ON. "The bay called the day" and easily 1/2 of O'ahu was on the North Shore to check it out. Including me. And the kids. Who played hooky.
When I was 13 or 14, my parents let me go spend a few days hanging out with my brother who was living in the El Segundo/Manhattan Beach area with his family. I spent a lot of time with my nephews and their friends hanging out down at the beach and really started to get to know "the surfing world" - well, as much as a sheltered, valley kid could. I got to know names like Tom Curren, Sunny Garcia, Kelly Slater...and now, here I am 23 years later, living in Hawaii and enjoying the opportunity to head up to the North Shore to check out one of the most prestigious surfing events ever.
So here are some of the pictures I took. I wish I had a better zoom - we were up on the hillside above Waimea at a Hei'au (ancient Hawaiian temple area) so I wasn't as close as I would have liked to have been. Next time.
Pipeline. Locally known as Ehukai Beach.
Waimea. We were up at the Hei'au above Waimea which afforded us an unobstructed, yet far-removed, view of the first heat.
More of the first heat.
The first heat in between sets...waiting for the next swell.
The crowds were INSANE. Local police estimated in excess of 30K people - more than have ever turned out for a surfing event on the North Shore. In a space about the size of a high school football stadium.
More Pipeline. We had driven up past Waimea before sunrise and stopped at Pipeline to check out the waves. They weren't as impressive as they were at Waimea but they were still incredible.
More Waimea. Yay for zoom lenses.
And more Waimea. The waves started off the morning hovering right around 40' on the face. They then died off a bit - dropping down to about 15'-20' around lunch time. After lunch, they picked back up and were up above 40' through the end of the competition.
This last one is one my friend S. took and I just love the way it looks almost like he's walking in snow.