North Shore Guide 4-2

The North Shore GuideBreaking down the seven-mile miracle.by Pete Johnson

NoteTo describe the North Shore of O’ahu, someone coined the phrase “the seven-mile miracle,” and when it’s firing on all cylinders, that’s a pretty accurate description. But there are a lot of ways to describe the North Shore-ask five people, and you’ll get five different answers ranging from “epic” to “worst surf trip ever.” It reminds me of the tale of the three blind men who were asked to feel some part of an elephant and then to describe it. The first blind man touched one of the elephant’s ivory tusks and described it as something hard and smooth. The second blind man felt the elephant’s stomach and described an animal that’s huge and rough. Finally, the third grabbed onto the tail and described the elephant as something resembling a snake.

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Similarly, surfers come to the North Shore and experience anything from ten-foot, grinding Banzai Pipeline to waist-high, onshore, rainy Chun’s. So instead of taking one person’s description of the entire North Shore, I did an informal poll of several North Shore regulars and collected the following information. If an answer came up more than five times, it was documented.-P.J.

Hale’iwa

Wave description: High-performance right, good from two to fifteen feet. On bigger days, the right can kick your ass. On smaller days, a long, workable left appears.

Best swells: West.Familiar faces: Fred Patacchia, the Dowlings, Hawaiian, Kaipo Jaquias, Brock Little, Bonga Perkins, Kerry Tarakina, the Fosters.

Reason to surf there: You can do almost anything on this wave-get barreled, off-the-lips, aerials, cutbacks … you name it.

What not to do: Never stop paddling. Fred Patacchia: “Watch out for the inside toilet bowl at low tide. If you straighten out on a wave, your fins will break off because it’s so shallow.”

Laniakea

Wave description: Long, beautiful right-hander.Best swells: North.

Familiar faces: “Men who wear webs,” and Rochelle Ballard and Megan Abubo.Reason to surf there: It’s a long, beautiful right-hander.What not to do: Lose your surfboard on a big day.

Jocko’s

Wave description: Long, hollow, rippable left with double-up sections.Best swells: West.

Familiar faces: Jock Sutherland, Luke Egan.Reason to surf there: Get away from the Pipeline crowd.What not to do: Paddle too deep and get stuck in the current.

Chun’s

Wave description: Fun, rippable right. At times, lacking power.Best swells: West.

Familiar faces: Townies and longboarders.Reason to surf there: Afraid to surf anywhere else.

What not to do: Come to the North Shore and claim that you surf Chun’s too much.

Waimea Bay

Wave description: One of the heaviest waves in the world. Big, gnarly right-hander

Best swells: Northwest and north.

Familiar faces: Clark Abby, Brock Little, Tony Moniz, James Jones, Mark Healy, Jamie Sterling, Dave Yester, Arnold Dowling, Ken Bradshaw, and Dennis Pang. Shorebreak: Clark Little

Reason to surf there: The drop.

What not to do: Waimea lifeguard Dave Yester: “On a big day, don’t make the mistake of paddling in the middle of the channel instead of the corner and get pushed over to the rocks. Also don’t paddle for the first wave of a set and get caught inside.”

Mike Stewart: “Don’t go left.”

Log Cabins

Wave description: Thumping, shallow rights and lefts with hidden rocks.

Best swells: North.

Familiar Faces: Cory Lopez, Phil Perry, Tattoo Tommy, Gavin Beschen. Outside Logs: Trevor Sifton.

Reason to surf there: Wave power.

What not to do: Get sucked onto the rocks on the inside or get caught in the fast-moving riptide and shot out to sea.

Rock Piles

Wave description: Big, gnarly, deep-water lefts and rights.

Best swells: Northwest.

Familiar faces: Outside: Tom Carroll, Adam 12, Trevor Sifton, Jerry the Lifeguard. Inside: Cory Lopez.

Reason to surf there: To catch a big wave.

What not to do: Underestimate the power of this wave-it may ok friendly from the shore, but watch your back, sets can be fierce.

Off The Wall

Wave description: Super-hollow right.

Best Swells: Northwest.

Familiar Faces: Matt Archbold, Gavin Beschen, Todd Morcum, Kahea Hart, Miles Padaca, photo sluts.

Reason to surf there: Less crowded than Backdoor but still a large tube.

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What not to do: Paddle out during a set. The channel has the tendency to disappear.

Backdoor

Wave description: Arguably the best right-hand barrel in the world.

Best swells: Northwest and small wests.

Familiar faces: Definitely too many to name them all, and a lot of strong egos that get offended if you don’t name them, but here are the surfers who received votes: Pancho Sullivan, Jamie O’Brien, Sunny Garcia, Johnny-Boy Gomes, Kelly Slater, Kahea Hart, Shane Dorian, Chava Greenly, Kai Henry, Perry Dane, Bruce and Andy Irons.

Reason to surf there: Obviously, to get barreled with a good chance of having your picture taken.

What not to do: Drop in on one of the “familiar faces.”

Pipeline

Wave description: Arguably the best left barrel in the world.

Best swells: West.

Familiar faces: Very similar to Backdoor. Also Tamayo Perry, Derek Ho, Liam McNamara, Braden Diaz, Mark Healy, Kalani Robb, and Bali Joe received lots of votes.

Reason to surf there: The adrenaline rush.

What not to do: Crack your head on the reef or drop in on Gerry Lopez.

Ehukai

Wave Description: Fun beach-break-style surf. Excellent when the sand bars fill in.

Best swells: Works on almost all swell directions.

Familiar faces: When asked who the familiar faces at Ehukai are, Jamie O’Brien jokingly responded: “Me. I’ve lived there my whole life-I’m the next Johnny-Boy Gomes, but I’m not going to be as nuts as him!” laughter. Pancho Sullivan, Tamayo Perry, and Jon Jon Florence also received votes.

Reason to surf there: Jason Shibata: “Pretty much every day it’s different. There’s a lot of variety.”

What not to do: Jamie O’Brien: “Boogie-board.”

Pupukea

Wave description: Rolling, fun right.Best swells: Northwest.

Familiar faces: Longboarders, Luke Egan and his Aussie posse.

Reason to surf there: Often uncrowded, soft sandy bottom, short paddle out.

What not to do: Longboard there.

Rocky Point

Wave description: High-performance left and a fast, hollow right. At times overrated.

Best swells: Northwest.

Familiar faces: David “Roadblock” Ontai, the Joneses, Kalani Robb, Occy, T.J. Barron, Davey Cantrell, Jamie Sterling, Liam McNamara, Cara Hemperly, Jason Shibata, Fred Patacchia, Mark Healy. Tamayo Perry laughs, “Yeah, every young surfer in America. Donkey Point is what I call it, because so many donkeys surf there.”

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Cara Hemperly: “At eight o’clock the sun comes up, the photographers come out, and the crowds follow.”

Reason to surf there: Perform pro-surfer duties by getting the shot.What not to do: Try so hard to get your picture taken that you run over the “Roadblock.”

Kammieland

Wave description: Playful, long, rolling right and a short, funleft.

Best swells: North.

Familiar faces: Longboarders, Ken Bradshaw, Porter Turnbull.Reason to surf there: At times it can be a mellow crowd.

What not to do: Try to swim in against the rip or drop in on Ken Bradshaw or Porter Turnbull.

Sunset Beach

Wave description: When big, one of the heaviest rights in the world.Best swells: West.

Familiar faces: Peter Cole, Charlie Walker, Michael Ho, Makua Rothman, Ryan Rawson, Nainoa Surratt, Al Chapman, Nathan Carroll, lifeguards Brenden and Guy Perry, Jamie Sterling.

Reason to surf there: Jamie Sterling: “It can handle big waves.”

What not to do: Makua Rothman: “Wipe out. One time I saw Danny Fuller and Nainoa Surrat wipe out on the same wave and get held under for two minutes.” Also, don’t get caught inside by a west peak.

Velzyland

Wave description: James Labrador: “It’s a good double-up barrel. You’ll hear some people say it was named for the “V” shape in the mountains across the street, but really it was named after Dale Velzy.”Best swells: West.

Familiar faces: Tamayo Perry: “James Labrador knows V-Land like the back of his hand.” Also Perry Dane, Kui Murphy, Nainoa Surratt, Marcus Hickman, Dale Chapman, Michael Ho, Makua Rothman.

Reason to surf there: Dustin Quizon: “You can get good barrels.”What not to do: Brock Little: “I think the worst thing about the spot is that it’s pretty localized, but it’s also the best thing about the spot because it keeps it relatively uncrowded and there’s a lot of respect in the lineup.

[IMAGE 4]Tamayo Perry: “Watch out, because Perry Dane is going to snap and send you in laughs. Actually, it’s not as localized as it used to be. Sometimes it gets so crowded, you can’t really do turns because there’re too many people in the way.”shape in the mountains across the street, but really it was named after Dale Velzy.”Best swells: West.

Familiar faces: Tamayo Perry: “James Labrador knows V-Land like the back of his hand.” Also Perry Dane, Kui Murphy, Nainoa Surratt, Marcus Hickman, Dale Chapman, Michael Ho, Makua Rothman.

Reason to surf there: Dustin Quizon: “You can get good barrels.”What not to do: Brock Little: “I think the worst thing about the spot is that it’s pretty localized, but it’s also the best thing about the spot because it keeps it relatively uncrowded and there’s a lot of respect in the lineup.

[IMAGE 4]Tamayo Perry: “Watch out, because Perry Dane is going to snap and send you in laughs. Actually, it’s not as localized as it used to be. Sometimes it gets so crowded, you can’t really do turns because there’re too many people in the way.”