Wednesday, February 23, 2011


By Olaf Mitchell
On Tuesday February, 22, 2011 I arrived at the launch at Kuau at 5:30 pm.
 I really didn’t have plans to sail due to the late hour.
I noticed there were some clean sizable sets rolling in and the wind seemed to be holding well . I      received positive reports from my friends that had already had their wave sailing sessions and were sitting on the log talking story or de-rigging their sails.
Art, Mike Siopes, Giampaolo, and Kiwi Tim were still out sailing and they were killing it!
I rigged as swiftly as possible and made the long swim out the channel and started trying to water start.
The current on the inside seemed unusually strong and it was inhibiting me from clearing my sail.
I finally got under way after trying for longer that I want to admit.
On my first attempt to penetrate the impact zone I was refused access and I had to take several substantial waves on the head.  I kept trying and I finally got water started and eventually slipped outside between the sets.   
I sailed pretty far out to sea before I jibed and headed back toward shore.
 On my way in I found a really good wave and rode it further than I should have. 
At the end of my ride I jibed on the inside and headed back out only to be looking a large breaking wave right in my face. I didn’t have time to turn and run so I just got creamed! There were a few more waves in that set and I had to absorb them as well. All the while the swirling current just wouldn’t let me go. My sail was in completely the wrong position and it took forever to get my rig adjusted. Once again I was having trouble clearing my sail. Every time I was just about to clear it the current would grab my clue and flip my sail back to the exact wrong position. 
Through determination I broke free of the hold that the current had on me and I got under way once again only to be refused access again. This time it was a clean mast high wall that I had no choice but to ditch my rig and dive for the bottom.   And I took several more of the substantial bad ass muthfuggers on the head!  Each one of them pushed my kit further away from me and deeper in to the windless bay. I swam as fast as I could to retrieve my gear. Quite a few sailors have lost their entire rig in just this same situation. Luckily I reached my gear and fought the current once again to get my sail cleared.  It was difficult but not as hard as the last two times.
I water started and made it back out this time. I was surprised how easy it was to get back up wind due to the extreme easterly wind direction.
Once again I was looking for a wave.
I found one that I liked and tried to catch up to it but to no avail so I looked behind me and there it was! It  was just forming and seemed to be a bit smaller than some of the larger set waves.
I pointed to weather until the wave walled up a bit and then I turned down the line and had a great ride. I kept telling myself to kick out but the wave was holding up so well that I just had to ride it all the way to the channel.
I am thinking by this time that I have finally found my groove but for some unknown reason I blew my jibe again.
Now, I‘m once again, going through the same grueling aforementioned process of righting my sail and board position.
In the meantime another sizable set was bearing down on me!
I got worked again, and the sail was ripped away from me again, and I had to swim a long way again.
This time it had pushed my kit deeper than ever into the windless bay.
Did I mention that I launched well after 5:30pm?
Well, by this time it was starting to get dark and there was no hope of getting a water start much less making it through the impact zone and beating to weather for that far and then putting myself in a position to make it through the narrow channel.
So I turned around and cleared my sail and I body drug my way toward the beach at T-Bay.
I made surprisingly good progress and the closer I got to the beach the stronger the wind got until I was able to water start and actually sail in.
 The tide was high enough that I sailed right on to the beach and stepped off my board. I really didn’t even get any sand on my rig to speak of.
When I got to the parking lot at T-Bay a very nice bradda helped me by carrying my board over to the grassy patch by the road.
Now this isn’t the first time I have made this walk of shame and I usually bundle up my kit and put the rig under one arm and the board under the other and hoof it back to my truck. But this time I only made it a few meters and realize that I was too tired and chilled to carry the stuff all that way. So I stashed it and started hoofing it back to the launch.
I didn’t get very far until Mike Siopes stopped and gave me a ride in his truck (with the heater on) to my gear and then back to my truck.
When I was loading the gear my truck Kiwi Tim and Dean of Maui came by and checked on me.


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