Monday, April 2, 2018

Haole Humbled; Kaua'i - A3 The Last Isle, the Rogue's notes.

"There's no region as wave rich as Hawaii. Go ahead, put our claim to the test: where else can you find the world's most challenging yet consistent waves in varying degrees?"  -Cash Lambert, ed., Free Surf Magazine
Nu Kumoi Point, Poipu Beach. 3/17 2018

   Expected some level of rain. You know. Maybe a couple, three days. Drizzle. Overcast. No. Called the Garden Isle for a reason. Of six days, dry only one. Landed in Lihue and headed south to Poipu Beach and the Waiohai Beach Club. Did the walk around and caught the only sunset. Day one closed with promise. Found Kaua'i Island Brewing about twelve miles southwest in Port Allen the evening of day one. Great little brewpub with excellent Ahi poke' and a grilled Swordfish sandwich. The Ahi melted in your mouth, and the Swordfish was so butter. Still cannot say enough about the Hawaiian seafood! About 11 or 12 brews on tap. Took back a crowler of their most celebrated pale, Na Pali Pale Ale. They did an excellent job over all. Very stoked with their offering. Not to mention more swag to take back home to family.

Could not get enough Poke'!

Na Pali Pale Ale...5.8% ABV meant this
Crowler was put down quickly. 48 IBUs
provided a refreshing island hop bite.
Poured a semi-hazy amber with a thin,
white head. Light citrus-mango aroma,
plenty of citrus and bitter juicineass in
the taste. Rated a B+.

   Rained off and on day two and three. Surfed Day 2. 7'5" funshape rental was less that what I needed for the Poipu break. A reef break. Razor sharp with sea urchins. An exposed portion of the reef and volcanic rock in front added to the lack of hazard pay. Had to paddle out a good hundred and fifty yards to get to the crowded line-up. My experience? Friendlies. No localism. But, let my distractions hinder taking full advantage of the chest to head, clean, teal-blue walls. It is true. Do not judge until you've had the experience. The reef would humble me a couple days later.
Poipu surf, Day 2. 3/18/2018

Never ended up as good as the start. Poipu/Nu Kumoi Point. 


   Day 3 more spotty showers and sun. Self planned Waimea to Hanalei safari. We jumped in the rental and just did the drive. South to Waimea Beach and a western turn in town. Upwards through the canyon to Waimea Lookout at 3400ft. The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Very majestic. Back down to the bay. Flat, but the sun was full on. Far cry from the fabled Oahu North Shore swell. Continued back north through Hanapepe, Lihu'e, Wailua (did the falls the next day), Kealia, Kilauea, and finally Hanalei. Overcast skies returned, for most of the ride and a strong onshore wind mad a mess of the coastal waters. Small scale muddy brown chop resembled a wind blown East Coast. But, when we arrived at Hanalei Bay calm returned, the sun bled out and the backdrop of cattle, taro fields, and a sparkling bay against a mountain horizon lept right out of South Pacific. Very paradisiacal. Nice little town. Consistent waist high swell. People gliding left and right. Zen-like. So smooth. Like riding glass. Would like to surf this break at another time. Put it in the bucket.
Hanalei Bay as it laid out in front of us...swore we were lookin' at Paradise.


Home of the Hanalei Beach Boys!

   A somewhat steady rain on days four through six. When in town do as the locals...Luau'd it. Kalamaku was the real deal. Full-on Hawaiian pig roast buffet, open bar, and a show that told a story...not just demonstrations. Fire, swords, dance. Nice! Open bar. Craft fair surrounded the stage with "made in Kaua'i" gear.

   Next morning I was up to an on again off again drizzle. Last chance for surf. On campus the rental kiosks were closed, but Hoku Watersports at the small resort next to us rented. Mahalo to that dude! Less money. More helpful. Rented a nine footer. Poipu Beach in front of Nu Kumoi Point. Much more enjoyable sesh. After fighting for a right here and there, finally said, "F*#k it!" and went after the lefts. Long, even rolling, clean, chest-high backsides.
Imminent reef. Nu Kumoi Point, Poipu. 3/21/2018
Out there by myself for the majority of the time. Teal blue water. So clear it made the reef under you look ever so close. Definitely takes gettin' used to. Lost track of time before I realized I needed to get back for a planned trip to the Na Pali Coast. Caught the last ride just as a Pacific NW surfer joined in. Commented on the warmth of the water. Would guess so...f'ing chilly up there even in the summer. Not much outta the mid-60's. Here...mid 70's all the time. In that split second of info exchange and set rolled in. Turned a bit late, set up and then went down. Didn't care. Needed to get in anyway. One set after another steamed through and before I knew it I was on the exposed reef. Stood on a waist high structure. Like a rounded cinder block. Didn't feel sharp. One such steamer and I was off balance. Outta instinct, reached to to catch myself. Felt my hand slid along a corner of the reef. Didn't think nothing of it as I tried to paddle back out but when my left had came out of the water I felt the sting and when I looked, saw blood streaming down my arm and my hand, between my thumb and forefinger and palm covered.
After that, It was just..."get out." In my mind, blood and Hawaiian waters don't mix. Seemed like one after the next wave made getting out very difficult. Pride was gone. Kook was out. Scrapes and abrasions all over. Nice session ruined by a bonehead move getting caught inside. On a reef covered in urchins no less. Hafta say, the guy at Hoku was a real example of Aloha. Bandaged my hand, didn't care about the battered board. Let me borrow his cell to call in. At this point I found out our afternoon cruise was cancelled due to rough waters. Kook for nuthin', Definitely a humbled Haole. Went out to dinner that night at a local restaurant called Keoki's. More great seafood. Two local beer flights to salve my wounds. Been brooding over it ever since.

    Last day we packed up as a steady downpour enveloped the island. Ate lunch (for the 2nd time) at the absolute best place for Fish 'n Chips on the island. Brennecke's, right next to Waiohai was the perfect place to continue working out the kook. The Ono (Wahoo) huge, and perfectly fried. A Maui brew to wash it back. Both of us left satisfied...again.
Ono at it's flakiest.

Maui Brewing's Two Tickets to Paradise. A 
hibiscus and lime Saison. Clear cranberry-red
in color. Thin white head. Fast dipating head.
 Tart berries and lime in the aroma and taste.
Little watered down. 4.8% ABV. 20 IBUs
Rated a C+/B-.


   Tooled around before heading over to Lihu'e Airport. Flight was late...around 8pm. Gave us time to get coffee and later stop by Kaua'i Beer Company in Lihu'e (convenient). Not real impressed. Beer was so, so and even the location was sapless. But, we weren't in exactly the best frame of mind. Scrutiny may have been unwarranted. Was glad to be headed away from the rain and back home to the sun. Lot of links in the Archipelago blogs...didn't feel it at the time, but as I wrote these, Hawaii was missed. Dined at Kahanamoko's place, visited with the ghosts of Pearl, surfed in Diamondhead's shadow, went bull riding with Humpbacks (not really), toured Lahaina, crossed Peahi (well, in front of) on the way to Hana, toured the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, explored the Bay of the Solomons and Coral Sea, watched the Ancients dance, dove on the Poipu coral reef (sorta kinda), all the time enjoying seafood and beer rivaling that of the Eastern Shore. Good times. Good times.
"Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen. Aloha!"