Planet Haolewood

A toolbox, a change of underwear, and a surfboard.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Damn, it's cold!

Researchers here at Planet Haolewood have concluded that lack of sunshine coupled with copious rain is significantly correlated with decreased surface ocean temperatures. Practical implication: it’s time for a new wet suit.

When I moved to Kauai it was May and I thought it was pretty hot. One of the first things I did was buy a rash guard so I that I wouldn’t get sun burned while surfing. I was so concerned about the heat that I bought a white rash guard instead of black reasoning that it would reflect the suns rays. That first summer I surfed with no wet suit.

By the time winter came along I realized that being too hot while surfing was really not much of a problem. It’s often windy or overcast or both here and I usually go surfing around sunset when it’s cooler. I wanted a wetsuit but I had no desire to revisit the straightjacket like experience I had when I used to surf in Northern California. So I got a sleeveless shorty with an open collar, no arms and no legs below the thigh. I figured I’d wear it during the winter only but I ended up wearing it year round. It served me well until now.

The weather hasn’t been too great lately. The surf is good but a lot of surfing is time spent sitting on your board waiting for a wave. What happens when I get cold surfing is that I stop having fun. When a wave comes I don’t feel motivated to paddle for it which is ironic because not moving around just makes me colder. So yesterday I bought a brand new spring suit with short sleeves and a collar that seals up around my neck. Am I a wimp? Perhaps. It’s as cold as it ever gets in Kauai and many of the surfers around me are wearing nothing but a bathing suit. Still I’d rather be a warm wimp and have more fun surfing than a cold wimp paddling in early because he can’t stop shivering.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


One of the best things about surfing is how the ocean can surprise me just when I think I have it figured out. Conditions have been pretty flat lately, unusually so for this time of year. But there is always hope so on Tuesday after work I loaded up Matt, since it’s the board best suited to small waves, and headed down to check out The Bowl. I was not impressed. So I gave up on surfing that evening and sat in my truck looking out at the sunlight streaming through the clouds onto the green mountains and the sparkling bay.

Generally speaking The Bowl breaks bigger than other nearby spots so if its too small there, the prospects aren’t good, but after a while I decided I had nothing better to do than go and check out another spot even if it was a lost cause. Lo and behold Grandpa’s was pumpin’. I got a number of good waves on a day that I had totally given up on.

My absolute favorite time to surf is Friday after work. I cannot imagine a better way to end the week. Maybe my mind was on surfing but I forgot my lunch bag at work today and it contained not only my paycheck but also the envelope my boss had given me which presumably contained my Christmas bonus. I realized my mistake when I got home.

It’s dark by 6:15 this time of year so to make the 50 minute round trip to the job site would mean missing out on Friday surfing. What to do? I did not relish the idea of leaving my lunch bag and its important contents at the jobsite but Friday only comes once a week after all. So I loaded up Matt and headed to Middles. A beautiful evening with some nice waves.

After I had eaten dinner and showered I returned to the jobsite and retrieved the bag which was sitting right where I had left it. The moon was shining so brightly that I did not even need the flashlight I had brought.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm not the Only One Who Likes to Surf

Overcoming jetlag means forcing myself to stay up until a reasonable bedtime. I figured it was unlikely I would fall asleep on my surfboard so I paddled out to the bowl with Matt. Even though the waves were larger than ideal for Matt, it’s a good board for crowds since it catches waves so well that I can position myself to get on the wave before other surfers. However, there’s a limit to what I can do even with Matt and the day I returned from my trip to California was just not my day for surfing. With a smaller crowd I could have surfed those waves and with smaller waves I could have surfed with that crowd but the combination was not working for me. Oh well, it’s still good to get wet.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jay or Emile?

The problem with having more surfboards is that I have to choose one each time I go out. Perhaps it would be easier to describe the situation if I gave my boards names. Let’s call my 9’6” tri-fin Matt. My 8’-0” I’ll call Rolly. My new boards I’ll name Jay and Emile. On Friday I took out Jay. All things being equal Jay is my favorite right now so I when in doubt I pick him. But the waves were small and probably Rolly would have been the best choice. On Saturday the waves were supposed to be big so I took Emile, who is best suited to larger waves, but alas I had trouble catching anything because while the waves were big they weren’t big enough for Emile. Jay would have been the best board.

Cameron, the guy who sold me Jay and Emile, called me after work and told me Chicken Wings was epic (meaning the waves were good there) and suggested I bring either Jay or Emile. I put them both in the back of my truck but when I saw conditions for myself I remembered how I regretted choosing Emile and went with Jay. It was a good choice.

Incidentally, just so no one reading this blog will persist in the idea that the weather is ALWAYS nice on Kauai, I will tell you that the emergency broadcast system came on the radio twice today while I was at work: first to issue a flash flood warning and a few minutes later a high wind advisory.

Without rain there are no rainbows or waterfalls and without wind there’s no surf .