Saturday, April 16, 2011


Story by Olaf Mitchell

The day was forecast to be very light wind and advisory level waves.

I thought to myself, “ This is probably going to be another one of those days that there is too much wind for  surfing and not enough wind to wave sail”.
As walked down the access path I noticed that the waves were defiantly substantial.  The few sailors that were out  were barely moving.
I feared my initial feelings were true.
I walked across the rocks and took a seat on the log that we use for a bench.
I could sense extreme adrenaline from two of the guys that had just been out.
They were boasting of biggest wave ever ridden and epic conditions.
I ran back to my truck and quickly assembled my gear and ran back to the launch and rigged.

The wind was light but steady and I sailed right out to the impact zone where I was denied passage but I persevered and made it out on my second try.

It’s always tense making that first attempt at penetrating the white water when the ocean is big.
I typicaly need to make a couple reaches before committing to a set wave.

I sailed pretty far out to sea trying to calm my nerves and get my arms and balance under control.

After my first outside jibe I noticed something very special.
I was on a moving mound of water that was just developing beautifully the closer I got to shore.

My first instinct was to kick out and settle in a bit before dropping in on a wave that size but it was just to perfect so I went for it.
I was a bit early and that proved to be a good move and I stayed far enough in front of the peak that it was easy to navigate all the way to the right channel.

I made my inside jibe and pumped my sail and stepped into the non planning 'sweet' spot on the board.

As I headed back out to sea I was just hooting and filled with the adrenalized euphoria of a man that has just ridden one of the best waves of his life.

This proved to be only one of many waves that were that were of that caliber (size and quality)!
I sailed mast and a half perfectly smooth waves with good friends with a lot of aloha until near dark.

That’s when the wind dropped off to near calm.
There was just enough of a breeze to slog to weather.

I was way below the channel.

I also noticed that every one but two other sailors had made it in already.

I thought to myself “Not this again, WHY, do I consistently make this same mistake? Here I am again, out in big waves with barely enough wind to move, desperately trying to get in position to make it through a very technical channel in the rocks!" .

I actually made good progress and was soon in the position I needed to be in.

I waited for the right wave to come.

I wanted one that I could make the drop, go up and hit the lip, and then point using the power of the white water all the way to the big rock east of the mouth of the channel.

All was going well until I was hit by a small rouge piece of chop that knocked me out of balance and I fell.

I was in exactly WRONG place!

The current in this spot outside the rock is famous for trapping tired sailors. It has a whorl pool effect that‘s nearly impossible to break loose from.

I didn’t have to spend much time in that impossible caldron because the only thing worse than being caught in the swirling eddy is being picked up by one of the large incoming pulses and washed directly on to the large jagged rock.
That is exactly what happened I didn’t even have time to say “OH SHIT !”,it happened that fast.

The surge was large and powerful enough that it washed me and my gear completely over the large rock and into the rocks on the other side.

I tumbled in some sort of controlled whirl, I lightly pushed away from the razor sharp edges.

There is one benefit to the situation that I just described and that is after you make it over all those obstacles there is a direct flow of current all the way to the rocky beach!

I was so stoked to be back on land and not even a scratch on me or my gear!

My buddy Tom fell in the same place and he got trapped in that whirl pool. He was exhausted from the long big wave session. He tried to break loose for about ten minutes and then signaled for help. My buddy Dean put on his swim fins and swam out and helped Tom break free of the current.

As I drove the old Maui High School Road  on my way home all I could think was “What a day!”

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