Hawaii

My first blog post and maybe a little bit longer than future ones, but here goes...

In February I spent a couple of weeks on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. We rented a house at Rocky Point, a short walk down the beach from the infamous surf break Pipeline. The house was owned by the  surfer Jeff Crawford and lucky for us, he lived right next door. Jeff was the first non Hawaiian to win surfings most prized trophy, the Pipemasters. In 1974 Jeff took the title from Gerry Lopez and since then has made Hawaii his home. He now spends most of his days hanging on his bench on the beach, telling stories. We couldnt have asked for a better host. 

We had planned for our trip to coincide with the Volcom Pipe Pro which is part for Surfing World Circuit. With huge El Nino swells pummeling Hawaii all winter we were not dissapointed. We watched a few days of incredible surfing before Kelly Slater finally took the title. 

We then flew to Kauai to trek along the rugged Nepali coast but two days into our time there, back on Oahu, they had called the Eddie Aikau competition. The Eddie Aikau is an invitational competition for only 28 of the worlds most legendary surfers. The competition is only held when the waves are deemed big enough and this was the first time in 7 years that they had called it. Once the judges give it the thumbs up, the surfers from all over the world have 24 hours to get to Hawaii. We hopped back on a plane, flew to Oahu, rented a car, drove to the north shore and parked up. There were thousands of people like us sleeping on the beaches and in their cars.

After a sleepless night in our tiny car we walked 20 minutes along the road to Waimea Bay. As the sun rose over around 20,000 people (even the schools close when the Eddies on) the judges made their final call.... and cancelled it. The swell they had predicited had not arrived and with strict rules on how high the waves must be, they said it couldn't go ahead. It was a huge dissapointment. 

However, at this stage the worlds surfing legends had all arrived on the north shore and the waves were still enormous (just not the 50 foot they were hoping for) so as the day passed we saw some of the best big wave surfing for years. As the sun set over Waimea the beach was a huge party. 

After another night sleeping in the car we flew back to Kauai and continued our trip to the Nepali Coast and then on to Maui. 

2 weeks after arriving back in the UK, Hawaii had another huge swell and the Eddie Aikau went ahead. John John Florence won it. It's worth watching the highlights here.

The North Shore during big swells was an incredible thing to witness and I hope my pictures capture a small bit of it. 

 The Volcom Pipe Pro at Pipeline, with Rocky Point beyond.

The Volcom Pipe Pro at Pipeline, with Rocky Point beyond.

 Waimea Bay. The day the Eddie Aikau didn't run. 

Waimea Bay. The day the Eddie Aikau didn't run. 

 Eddie Aikau crowds gathering around the bay.

Eddie Aikau crowds gathering around the bay.

 Waimea Bay from the bridge.

Waimea Bay from the bridge.

 Amazing Hawaiian kids playing in the huge shore breaks.

Amazing Hawaiian kids playing in the huge shore breaks.

 Sunset over Waimea Bay. 

Sunset over Waimea Bay. 

 Kelly Slater coming back in at Waimea.

Kelly Slater coming back in at Waimea.

 The plaque next to Pipeline with all the winners of the Pipemasters since 1971. Jeff Crawford 4th one in. We were also lucky enough to have a beer overlooking Waimea Bay with Tom Carroll. It was not until I saw this board that I realised he was 3 times Pipemaster. Sorry Tom. 

The plaque next to Pipeline with all the winners of the Pipemasters since 1971. Jeff Crawford 4th one in. We were also lucky enough to have a beer overlooking Waimea Bay with Tom Carroll. It was not until I saw this board that I realised he was 3 times Pipemaster. Sorry Tom. 

 The reverse of the plaque lists all the deaths at Pipeline and the lifegaurds who have dedicated their lives to saving people there. While we were looking at the plaque two little boys ran up to us and pointed to some names and told us that they were their uncles. The next Pipemasters no doubt; 

The reverse of the plaque lists all the deaths at Pipeline and the lifegaurds who have dedicated their lives to saving people there. While we were looking at the plaque two little boys ran up to us and pointed to some names and told us that they were their uncles. The next Pipemasters no doubt;