Hawaii rookie tips

Doublems111's picture
Doublems111 started the topic in Wednesday, 1 Jan 2020 at 1:00pm

Gday folks.

I'm hoping for any advice/stories of trips to the north shore. It feels like a compulsory pilgrimage that is way overdue. I'd go solo or with a mate, both well travelled average joe shortboarders. Going in Feb/March I'm hoping to give it crack whilst I'm still fairly fit. I haven't ever surfed over 8-10 foot and far from a "charger" so advice on how it went, boards(take one step up and buy them there?) and breaks(sunset is the dream)
Also should I rent a car or is a bike sufficient. I'm looking at Pupukea or sunset or haleiwa. Is there an actual town centre for restaurants/beers where I could base myself. Strangely there is not many articles(for actual surfers) and dont want to wind up missioning 3kms every day because the internet chose that location as the best one.
Any suggestions would be great.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Monday, 6 Jan 2020 at 4:45pm

G'day doublems. Just a tip first off - forum posts don't appear on the home page unless there's comment on them. For that reason crew will tend to write a form post then comment "." immediately below.

Hale'iwa would be the main town on the north shore with a decent selection of places to eat and drink but you wouldn't necessarily stay there. There's foodtrucks and the like in other areas. I'm sure tripadvisor and the like would have most of the eating & drinking joints.

If you've got the coin, you'll find a good board over there. There's a handful of places to look in Hale'iwa and Waialua, and the hawaiian islands creations factory down on the southwestern tip of the island has a great selection too (eric arakawa amongst others). And don't discount second hand boards too.
Boards are cheaper than here when the exchange rate is good, but more expensive when its not.

I'd get a car - that way you've got access to a wider range of spots, plus you can go south or west if the north shore gets too big, or drive into honolulu for other touristy stuff it it gets too small (on that note, if you surf a mal, bring it - lots of spots that are great for longboards when it gets small).

Keep an eye on the forecasts - massive increases in swell over short time frames aren't uncommon. And watch for a while before you paddle out. Sometimes it'll look like its 4-6ft, but that's because you haven't seen the 10 or 15ft set coming through every 15 minutes. Talk to a lifeguard if you aren't sure.

Explore a bit, show respect, be patient and you should get a wave.

He who hesitates is lost

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley commented Monday, 6 Jan 2020 at 8:01pm

I would thought the best tip for a rookie is don’t go to Hawaii over Xmas when your PM and your country is ablaze

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Monday, 6 Jan 2020 at 9:01pm

Hahahaha.

Anyway, late March is the go. Just quietly. I hope.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 8:04am

Doublems111 - do it mate! I reckon March is the go as well. You can even get waves on the North Shore right into April. I went in March a couple of years ago and there was no shortage of swell. Had a 10-12' swell and another 8' swell. Most of the rest of the time it was between 4-6'. Couple of smaller lay days.

Make sure if you're aiming to surf sunset that you don't skimp on the size of your board. Everyone getting waves out there has fairly large thick boards - If I were to get a board for there I'd be going something such as Webster's 'Desert Storm' (there is heaps of commentary on a forum here about them).

Be sure to check the stretch from Waimea to Laniekea, plenty of hidden gems to be found.

Accom the most expensive thing over there. Can get a few cheaper shacks around the Sunset / V-land area. Look at homeaway.com
If I had my time again (which hopefully I will) I'd surf Rocky Point a little more. Had some magic sessions uncrowded rights there towards the end of my trip.

Good luck. Let us know how you end up.

campbell's picture
campbell's picture
campbell commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 9:03am

If you don't want to get a car , stay between waimea and v land somewhere, great bike track all the way along (great for a surf check and beats being stuck in traffic when the surf is good), foodland is right there also, couple of small food trucks too with great take away food. There is a backpackers right at waimea (accom is expensive but paying to be right in front of a break has its merits) Otherwise down in Haleiwa there is everything, supermarkets , restaurants and surf too. Can get surf on the north shore right into may sometimes ( I have surfed sunset in June even but pretty unusual. The crossover of the season's is good as far as you might get to surf other parts of the island and also once "town" is starting to get surf a lot less of the guys from that side of the island are heading to the north shore all the time so less crowds. Hawaii is not all about giant surf and even when it is big if your not up for it you are on an island so just go around the corner (you will need a car if this is your plan though) .interisland is great too but that's another forum topic.
Travel light and buy everything you need there, heaps cheaper than Aus for boards, clothes everything pretty much and then you have the right tool for the job too. Don't drop in, don't be loud and you should be right . Hawaii is epic , go go go

...

tangles 65's picture
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tangles 65 commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 11:59am

I went in April 2018 for the 1st time with my wife, stayed in a airbnb 1 bed unit ($AU100/night) 2 minutes walk from Velzyland, and 5 minutes bike ride from Sunset. Had a ball, loved the super earlys at V-Land and Sunset . Got Sunset uncrowded. Too big for me on a couple of days, even Waimea was breaking one day in April ! So it was 6 pack on the beach at Sunset and let the men do their thing. Loved the pushbike ride up to Foodland every day for a booze top-up and/or feed.
so yeah, summing up, ya dont really need a car. And it's a magic place, I shoulda went years ago ! And Sunset is fun, but once it's over double overhead, I'm on the beach !

tangles

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 12:41pm

Doublems,

Haven't read through all the above so apologies if I'm doubling up.

Boards:

You're going late season so there'll be shitloads of old boards in the surfshops at Haleiwa and elsewhere. Rows and rows of them. It's great fun to go in and kick tyres, rub your hands down long, sleek pintails. They'll also be a little cheaper than early season. However, there's something to be said about riding boards you're familiar with, especially in heavy waves. If you've got a few set ups and semi-guns that you like then take them, and, depending upon intent, grab a proper gun from over there.

Food and beer:

Main town is Haleiwa but without a car it can be a hassle to get to, so just shop at Foodland - just near Shark's Cove. It can be expensive so buy wise. There are grills set up down that end, some on the side of the road, others in small parks, and you can get fresh Hawaiian plates, Mexican, or good Brazilian food. Ain't too expensive but you wouldnt wanna do it every day.

Accomodation:

Make sure you're between Sunset and Shark's Cove - or at worst, V'Land and Waimea. Once you're the other side of the Bay (the Haleiwa side) then you have to navigate the bends and if you dont have a car then it's a hassle on a bike.

Transport: 

Buy a padlock from Foodland and check the noticeboard for bikes for sale. Or rent one from the accomodation you stay at. The whole coast is geared for travellers just like you, so any question you've got, just ask someone there.

Fitness:

Train like a motherfucker starting this morning. Go hard on cardio: soft sand running, swimming with hypoxic breathing etc, but also learn some breath hold techniques and ways to calm your mind. Put the physical and mental pieces together.

Visualisation:

If you're serious, start putting yourself there. Imagine the paddle outs, the feel of the board under you, the way the waves come onto the reef. Start watching lots of footage to help.

Not sure where you're from, but if it's QLD or NSW it'll take some time to adjust to the longer period waves. Gotta change your rhythm slightly, paddle a bit earlier for waves, especially at expansive lineups like Sunset, so start picturing yourself out there. Guaranteed the reality will far outweigh the image, but it's good to be prepared, espeically when it's big.

Channels:

When it's big, it's much easier to get out in Hawaii than most Australian coasts. Deep channels sit next to most breaks, so use them to get out (obviously), but also to gauge what's going on. In doubt? Paddle out and watch for a while from safety. Don't have to be macho about it, but the side on view may give you a different impression about what's happening and how the lineup is working.

Small waves:

You're not guaranteed big waves but don't be disheartened cos the North Shore has some great rippable small waves: V'Land (but be very cool), Sunset Point, the whole Pupukea stretch.

Doublems111's picture
Doublems111's picture
Doublems111 commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 1:36pm

Wow guys. I was assuming the topic was just a non interest creator for a second so thanks pops for the heads up re forums and EVERYONE on their insights. I was looking at a Backpackers at Waimea and/or a Homestyle at Sunset. Since its a solo I thought the backpackers may be better but if Sunset is the goal I will probably commit to that(It is a surf trip first)
I was taking my current step up for GC points(just a round pin shortly really) that will be for Rocky, VLand, etc and then get a legit 7'6 or whatever is suggested after shopping there. Taking a gun from here doesn't make sense as it's not even really a gun at 6'8 in Hawaiian terms that is.
I surf the GC beachies mostly so will make a point of going to straddie when we have certain swells and hopefully drive south and choose according to size vs cleanliness. Even good old Burleigh over Kirra at times. Thanks all, it sounds like a good call to go and experience it. Will debrief and do keep any stories/suggestions coming. PS @ stunet I did the Nam baldwin course so will try incorporate that for sure...sounds like you did too

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 1:46pm

Gets me excited just thinking about it.

Man, the first time you glimpse ocean coming over the hill past Wahiawa, or the first time rounding the bends at Waimea.....just try and act cool. It's impossible.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:03pm

Dammit! I was going to suggest you go over there prior to college and stay with a mate who's a bartender at a Honolulu strip club. If that doesn't work out you can move up to the North Shore, befriend a couple of pro surfers and stay on the couch of the materialistic local legends house who they've found themselves crashing at.

On your first surf you should endear yourself to the natives by dropping in on the head of da Hui and wiping out- you'll be cheerfully chased up the beach in a spirited game of tiggy followed by the promise of a cool glass of Hawaiian punch. Unbeknownst to you, your gear will have been knocked off but no mind you'll be taken in by a goofy glasser and later introduced to a soulful, yet artistically challenged shaper just crying out to mentor a first timer and show him the true meaning of Aloha as only a white man can do.

As the winter progresses youl meet the Polynesian princess that just so happens to be the cousin of the bloke you played tiggy with. Attending your first Luau, you'll be met with open arms and invited to do shots with the locals but sadly receive a frosty welcome from the materialistic pro who's place you originally crashed at and is suss about the whereabouts of his favourite Pomeranian and widescreen t.v. He will challenge you to an oil-wrestle (he came pre-oiled) and a surf off of which you will miraculously go on to win having been tutored to the mechanics and subtleties of Hawaiis deadliest wave over the last two weeks of which Oilman could never hope to master during the course of his hedonistic life.

In the end, you will forget about Australia, renounce your Judaism and go on to father two sons with your Island goddess who will both forge their own paths as soulful Youtube vloggers.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:01pm

Looks pretty sweet

https://youtu.be/nTV1_ObM2To

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:01pm

You and me both Stu...
First time I came over the Wahiawa hill and saw that expanse of ocean out to Kaena point as a teenager* I literally squealed. The thrill didn't diminish in subsequent trips either. Heart racing, trying to stay calm, trying to work out if it's too big or just big enough... Good times.

*I'd been over there as a 6 year old too, but no memory of that.

He who hesitates is lost

Doublems111's picture
Doublems111's picture
Doublems111 commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:06pm

@Zen
If I don't get chocked out at least once I will call it a failure brah;)

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:10pm

Great clip, great track Blowy.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:13pm

Doublems- you'll have a ball mate.

Let us know how you go when you get back.

btw, mate of mlne just got back two days ago, said it was relatively cold over there, in and out of the water.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:14pm

Occy's cutty at 1:40 in that clip. On a 7'2" Brewer.

Nah, the thrill of first sighting doesn't diminish. After a fair hiatus I went to Hawaii again the year before last, picture a van load of middle-aged men standing up in their seats, heads pushed against the inside roof trying to get an early glimpse of whitewash across the pineapple plantations.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:18pm

Has that cutty been rivalled yet ?

A D grade version by Italo at D Bah owned the internet early last year.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 2:20pm

Same same at Misty 1 in Honolulu.

The drink prices were outrageous.

*regards Stu's post.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Doublems111's picture
Doublems111's picture
Doublems111 commented Sunday, 22 Mar 2020 at 11:09am

Wow, what a trip.
It was only a week but such an overflow of nostalgic and visual stimulation...Maxing Sunset, paddling around on a 8'4.with Shane Dorian and Keala Kennely paddling past(me channel bopping of course considering to sneak a tiny 8 footer) Nathan Fletcher in the car park speaking of Phantoms. Seeing THE Waimea bay break, I paddled out the next day on my trusty 8'4 after watching it for an hour and a dropping swell, then paddled right back after the first real set, hahahah Solid bodysurf on the west corner though. Rocky point daily morning surfs, poke and acai bowls, legit rescue by the lifeguards of an unconscious victim, watching Pipeline in awe, there was a bodyboard comp on so no option to consider it even. OTW - Rockpiles stretch was maxing closeouts so just great footage. I'm actually thinking it could be a great Gold Coast off season surf trip. Just go there in mid October when around here is tiny wind blown rubbish and in dire need of a wave fix. It was only a week so hardly touched the surface... and the numerous options for waves and experiences. A dreamy reality that was only a direct flight away. Oh, and the final night in Waikiki going full tourist, well, except the pineapple shirt but close. Good times. Yeeewww

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Sunday, 22 Mar 2020 at 11:17am

Shit yeah, unreal

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Sunday, 22 Mar 2020 at 4:12pm

What a difference a month makes. I had to cancel my trip. Was supposed to be leaving on Friday.