“It's like a big stadium with a valley behind it. It's a classic big-wave spot the way it's set up and everything. Fun drops and a drag race for the shoulder. It's a cool scene when it's not too crowded. Pictures never do it justice–the wave is actually a full barrel. It gets really scary, but not too scary. I mean there's the middle of the bay, and unless it's closing out, you can always get sucked out there. It's not like you're gonna be beat down for two miles. It's just really fun, you can push it a little more, eat shit a little harder, and still pull it off.”–Mark Healy[IMAGE 1]
Fun? Did he say fun? Fun is a Slip 'N Slide at the beach with girls in bikinis. Fun is your local beachbreak on a sunny day. Fun is not a 50-foot mountain of water collapsing on your head first thing on a gray, overcast morning. Being sucked into the middle of the bay unless it's closing out? Then what happens? Do you casually swim to Hale'iwa harbor? That sounds fun. And as for the part about “eating shit hard and still pulling it off,” exactly what is your idea of pulling it off, Mark?
Waimea is a classic surf spot, both for surfing and spectating. The amphitheater-like setup is unlike any other in the world. Fans can sit out on the point and position themselves less than a hundred yards from the takeoff spot and feel the boulders shake on a big set. The less daring can run for the hills and check it from the sacred heiau above Waimea Valley, which gives you a panoramic view of the North Shore and a better understanding of the swell direction and intervals. As for Healy? He's a freak–that's why we like him.–Justin Cote