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Paradise isn't always pleasant.
You're camping along the beach on the west side of Big Island, enjoying the good company, delicious BBQ, cold drinks and the sound of the ocean. But then the inevitable happens, your camp fire begins to dim and you need to search the dreaded kiawe (“kee-AH-vay”) forest for more wood. Anyone that has experienced this knows what Im talking about. The kiawe tree is one of the most ruthless trees on the planet. It grows aimlessly, out of the jagged lava fields, intertwining its branches with itself and its brethren to create a nearly impenetrable defense network. Each limb is covered with ruthless spines. Of course, you go into battle totally unprepared - board shorts, worn slippers and if your lucky, a dim flashlight. Those that stay back at the fire can surely hear the curse words being murmured in the dark as the kiawe tree makes its mark upon flesh. Once you make it back to the camp fire with your prized wood, you spend the rest of the evening pulling thorns out of your slippers, cautioning everyone to go easy on the firewood for they are going to get the next load.
Photos by: Brad Fyffe, Kevin Repan, Danny Bolton
Words by: Kevin Repan
UTF is always down for missions. So when I heard of a building west northwest swell just off the coast of the Big Island, I quickly packed my board bag and, without hesitation, missioned to one of my favorite WNW swell point breaks. After trekking over the scorching a'a lava fields and tearing up my Locals' slippers, I came across double over head, offshore, glassy waves with an empty lineup.
Racing to be the first guy in the line up, I couldn't paddle out fast enough. After surfing for hours with no one in sight, I paddled in for some lunch that consisted of a handful of granola and a bottle of high quality H2O. While sitting on the beach admiring the surrounding beauty, I thought to myself this couldn't get any better. Not more than 5 minutes later, I noticed people coming up and over the hill. To my surprise, it was 10x world champion Kelly Slater, XXL Wave Rider and Big Island's own Shane Dorian and Kona local Tonino Benson.
With arms that felt like noodles after double sessions, I couldn't pass up this once in a life time opportunity to surf with these guys. So I paddled out for a third session of the day and scored it all time. Coming in and sitting on the beach collecting my thoughts, I snapped some photos of the sunset and thought, "Lucky we live in Hawaii."
Photos by Brad Fyffe
It's not too often you get a decent NNE swell but when you do, there are certain sleepy reefs that come to life. One of those reefs is at Makalawena. We took a recent trip there to see what the swell had to offer and were pleasantly surprised with a super fun, long, right hand point break. Rain clouds hung around all day and as mean as they looked, they only yielded a few light sprinkles. The wind picked up in the afternoon and made it a bit bumpy, but everyone had a good time.