Diary from the North Shore: Volume I

Matt Rode

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Updated 22d ago

It’s prime time on the North Shore, which means that everywhere you look there’s something exciting happening. The sand is slowly filtering off the reef at Pipe for a hungry pack of specialists, with Cam Richards picking up right where he left off last year in pursuit of the Wave of the Winter.

Haleiwa has been absolutely bombing for the Triple Crown event, testing any competitors who dare to crack the toilet bowl. And even The Bay has seen a handful of waves break this week—not proper Waimea, but just big enough to see a handful of guns come out of the woodwork.

But despite the endless distractions, the melting pot of the Seven-Mile Miracle—the place where we all end up eventually, no matter our specialty—has to be Sunset Beach.

Forecast: Pipeline

Wesley dantas on a recent Pipe swell.

Wesley dantas on a recent Pipe swell.

© 2019 - Miah Klein.

Challenging for everyone, Sunset is equally adept at honing your turn game, offering up sneaky barrels, or simply training you for bigger days on the outer reefs. It’s the place where the North Shore surf community goes to play together—where old friends catch up after a summer apart, and everyone gets smoked by sets out of the west, no matter how famous they are or how well they surf.

Sunset was pretty close to impeccable on Friday morning—double to triple overhead, light offshore, and just north enough to let the “point” live up to its name. It was picture-perfect, and every sort of surfer imaginable was out there.

Young pros were threading the Inside Bowl like it was Backdoor, big wave stalwarts like Jamie Mitchell and Emi Erickson were toying with the peak, Landon McNamara was rolling in from way outside on a 11'6" gun, and tour surfers like Kelly Slater and Michel Bourez were taking off under the lip on what must have been 5'8" shortboards.

Spot guide: Hawaii

Jamie Mitchell.

Jamie Mitchell.

Meanwhile, dozens of underground chargers you’ve never heard of were talking story, dodging sets, and dusting off the cobwebs—because even though it seems like it’s been pumping over here for weeks already, winter is still just getting started.

Cover shot, Brett Barley puts in time for his Wave of the Winter entry