You don’t remember the days you got a lot of sleep. What I’m trying to say is those days you don’t get a lot of sleep seem to be a little stickier in the ol’ memory department. Especially when you’re on an adventure. When you catch wave after wave or bag line after line and push yourself physically, you go to bed at 10 pm which turns out to actually be 1 am only to get up 4 and a half hours later to do it all over again… You only live once I guess.
This trip is about connection, as are all stories of adventure one might argue… This one more specifically is about reconnecting to surf.
6am departure. Aka 6:18 departure. Erik Hanson and I get dropped off for the 7am ferry at 6:47, 3 minutes to spare. This set the tone for the entire trip. Any connection we had to make was Seamless. The only way to describe it. Something we were very thankful for be it that we drove, ferried, bussed, trained flew and flew again to our rental car consuming 13 hours of the day and landing us at the amazing Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu.
First day, we were traditionally welcomed by a local waterman Tom Stone, aka Pohaku.
Not wanting waste a good welcoming and knowing I’ve got a limited time learning to surf with the Life Rolls on Foundation the following day I decide to hit the water. I slide into a Surf Dry, hooked up from Ocean Rodeo, dry suit to keep toasty, and looking like an alien. As warm as Hawaii is I don’t want risk the chills. Big thing for this session is trying to roll from a face down position to a face up position. Potentially a life saving maneuver if someone is unable to get to me in time. After 20 minutes and several close attempts I finally make the call to hold my breath. For the time being. I’ll work on it more later, we’ve got enough people around for now, so let’s surf!!
The setup is not ideal, but it’s a start. I’m laying on my belly elbows out chin on the board. I can look up, a little bit, enough to see the nose of the board. If I get my hand under my chin I can see a little more. Surfing is more about the feel anyways. That’s what I keep telling myself. I’ve got Erik and Brad in the water picking my waves and pushing me into them. Nice green face, no white wash, as the wave comes in the nose dips down, I get a bit of a push and I’m off down the line. Straight into happiness. Whoever said it is a state of mind and not a place was wrong. It’s both.
As we begin to loose daylight Erik and I blast out to see some of The Spots on the North Shore. We make it to Sunshine and Pipe as night engulfs us and then slide into Waimea Bay as the stars pop out. Then the moon slowly starts to show its new face. From the bottom though, like a lit up hammock hangin in the night sky. Or a crooked smile on an otherwise empty face.
It’s a similar program the next day at the Life Rolls on Event. We showed up over an hour early due to some miscommunication, or just a lack of it. No big deal, much like the state patroller noticing us through his radar gun and pulling us over to give us… directions. No big deal.
This time in the water I get a life jacket tucked under my chest, it gets my head up, allows me to lean a little more and work the wave. I then proceed to blow past the volunteers on some of the longer rides of the day! One of which I have to eject myself from right before I get a mouth full of sand.
ONE MORE WAVE, ONE MORE WAVE!
I chant to the volunteer as she checks her watch. Fourth last wave of the day.
After the water session we are bagged, Erik has done two full days being in the water pushing us into dozens of waves. Instead of having a nap as discussed earlier we decide to tag into a sushi tailgate party at the Honolulu stadium. Typical. Convenient none the less as we’ve got tickets for Ziggy Marley in the next lot over.
We can hear the music from the outdoor concert, but it’s just out of sight. As we’re finishing up we get our invite from security to head into the concert.
“you guys can’t hang out here, either leave or if you have tickets, get inside.”
It’s over an hour drive back to the resort though so we pull the chute and make a break for it.
We’re up early… Again. Seemed to be a theme. Anyways we get going to watch Jesse Billauer show us how it’s done. We find a sea turtle and hang with him as we watch a few rides go down. We then roll back to the resort to hear a local C5 tell us his story and check out his custom ride. Erik and a couple others take him out to surf sunset. A C5 quadraplegic getting pushed into head and just over head height waves. Because he can. Just like we can, celebrate a birthday/anniversary with some new friends. Our first night on site, hitting up the golf course for a little get together. Things don’t get to outta hand, other than getting leied by a stranger in the parking lot.
The next morning is our first sleep in past 6. Thankfully. Our last day and another epic travel schedule starting at 7pm. We spend the day checking a few last things out around the hotel and then connect with some others by the pool for some snacks. Erik gets summoned to the water by several up and coming surfers both with disabilities and one un-disabled. I chill by the sea side till we make a mad dash to the car and head down the east side of the island for some new scenery… In the dark. We get to the airport 45 minutes early… So we decide to swing through Pearl Harbor. Seemed appropriate.
Of all things we saw there a herd of 12 seemingly wild house cats are what I expected the least.
When we get back to the airport we check in and immediately lose a boarding pass… Then it goes plane, layover, plane, train, bus, ferry, car ride and we made it. Seamless. Success. Surfing.
Huge thanks to Erik and the Canadian convoy, Jesse and Sarah with Life Rolls On, Dirk with XSAdaptive and Turtle Bay Resort for makin it all possible!