After the constant westerly lines of the Christmas period, the North Shore went quiet, somewhat overshadowed by the storm systems spinning across the Atlantic. This lull came to an end last week, with Oahu's big wave spots flaring into action, all captured by our resident North Shore wave snapper, Sean Davey.
Words and photos by Sean Davey.
The first couple of weeks of 2014 were been pretty ordinary with minimal swell activity and a lot of weird onshore winds. However, things changed about a week back with a train of large swells approaching the islands.
The first of these swells hit a few nights back with 15-18 feet sets hitting Waimea and some of the outer reefs along the North Shore, such as Phantoms. There's been a noticeable lack of visiting big wave surfers, with a lot of them heading over to Maui, to get amongst the new paddle in approach at Jaws. Quite a few were getting amongst it at Phantoms, outside of V land, and a healthy number of (mainly local) surfers were all over Waimea, getting warmed up for the bigger stuff.
I was sitting on the rocks photographing into the setting sun, watching these big green lefts spinning off almost every wave and I was thinking how cool it would be if someone caught one. Then, Keoni Jones stroked into one, got pitted and came out claiming it. I couldn't believe my eyes as I've never actually witnessed a left being ridden at the bay before. Several minutes later, he paddled into and got barrelled on yet another left. Legend! The next morning brought enough drop in swell size, to provide a few Pipe shacks for those, savvy enough to find them, including Ricardo dos Santos who backdoored a nice thick one.
Sunday morning dawned under beautiful bluebird conditions, with barely a breath of wind and slightly larger than the previous session. Not quite Eddie proportions, but good enough that I decided to hang around and shoot. All manner of crew were back out there, including several that were practising for the Eddie, like Sunny Garcia and John John Florence, to mention a couple.
I noticed one guy taking off way behind the boil and attempting to backdoor the peak. His second try delivered him into the zone and in fact right into the barrel, however he wasn't able to bust through the foamball. Some others saw what he was doing and tried to do the same, but they were having to straighten out because of the the surfers dropping down into the main peak from the regular take off zone.
A strong onshore hit the area late in the morning and just like that, it was all done. Now, everyone's talking about a true monster of a swell that is expected to hit the islands on Wednesday night through into Thursday. Many are comparing it to the legendary swell of 1969 which pushed houses into Kam highway. Projected reports are mentioning 40-60 foot wave faces, however the winds are expected to be howling onshore, so I doubt that we'll get to see an Eddie Aikau event, but let's see how it pans out.
*Speculation about The Eddie was put to rest this morning with this statement from the organisers. "We have taken all the time we can to assess the developments of the next big swell and it does not look favourable for us," said event organizer, Glen Moncata. "The size is there, but the quality is not, due to strong, adverse winds. We will continue to wait for the right conditions."