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Dec 11, 2008
Josh, Thanks for the link! The Santa Cruise gang RIPS!! Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Dec 31, 2008
I grew up on the East Coast, just north of Boston (born in '60). I went to dinghy racing camp during my summers in my very early teens. Started climbing when I was 15/16 or so, which in turn took me from the shore side rocks to North Conway N.H. From there I went back and forth to the Valley for two seasons before moving to Santa Cruz. There I worked as a boat builder and surfed during the week and climbed in the Valley on week ends and Holidays.
From Santa Cruz I returned to New England for a couple seasons and took a Job at Hood Sail Makers in the 'wind surf' dept. That lead to a job offer on Maui working for Jeff Henderson at Hot Sails.

My first day sailing on Maui was a very unique coast run.
Jeff had the conditions eye'd and it was a perfect day for it. extremely easterly winds.
So he, Paul Mindich and myself put in out at Peahi Bay. We swam our rigs about a quarter mile out to the wind line and sailed the mileage down to Ho'okipa.
People where stunned to see sailors coming down from the Light house towards Ho'okipa ;)
It was an incredible intro to Maui sailing. When we hit the wind line and got up to speed a small group of spinners where paralleling our course about 50 yrds to windward. Down the coast we sailed Jaws in jacking but not breaking conditions (Major fun with no risk ;). Between Jaws and Ho'okipa the conditions were stellar. We had a good size North ground swell, Monster huge easterly wind swell and a steady 25 kt easterly trades.
What an intro to Maui sailing.

I lived in Paia area for about 4 yrs before moving to the Big Island. I lived in the islands for about 18 and a half years. I have sailed all over Maui. All the North shore from Peahi to Waiehu, upper west side (secrets et al), Lahaina harbor mouth (on Kona winds), all of the Ma'alaea/Wailea coast and I even sailed La peruse one day. I have sailed on Kaui North shore briefly as well. ON the Big Isle I have sailed the Coast Gaurd station, Anaeho'omalu bay and some remote place in the middle of no where, down in Ka'u near Na'alehu.
The most challenging/rewarding, and spooking day I had sailing was on the Big Isle, sailing that remote bay. It was a primo day, blowin stink, I was flying a 34' sail on my 8' 4" round pin. Lucky for the two people I was with the could not get off the beach let alone out of the bay into the wind/surf zone, for they would have surely wound up in Tahiti. I was sailing this beat to shiite gear, duck tape all over my sail, a repaired boom, jungle rigged skeg... It was way dangerous... But what'a hey I was there, the day was perfect so I 'chanced'm'. I got a whole day of 25 kt side shore, with head high, wind swell lefts on an open, empty lava rock point, all to myself for the whole day. I put in three sessions that day.


So Yep... ?
I've sailed Ho'okipa on a mast high day and done the Reg' route on Half Dome and the Nose on the Captain.
Am I in the club ?
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Dec 31, 2008
Trundlebum, thanks for posting your very impressive resume! I am only one vote but I am nominating you for club president 2009!
All in favor?
I loved the story about your downwind coast run adventure from Peahi to Hookipa. That is some very remote coast line.
Where did you launch at Peahi? Did you carry your gear down the cliff like my buddy Mike Waltze did that when he first sailed Jaws.
I am very close to being back on the water after a five month rehab from a stupid skateboard accident. I’m getting stronger every day! The season is only half way through and there are some awesome days ahead! YIPPI!!!
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 1, 2009
Wow Olaf:

Thanks for the vote, I am rock/surf bum type guy. Does this position hold any responsibilities that can't be delegated to subordinates? If so I may not be able to accept the position.

I have hours of sail/surf stories. I really need to start writing and getting these documented. As to the coast run from Peahi bay... Yes we carried our stuff down the trail, across the stream and then rigged on the cobblestone beach. That day the was a large shore pound as there was a good wind swell and a descent North running that day. So getting off the beach was engaging. The swim to the wind line was pretty far.
A day or so later Henderson tells Mindich and I that just a few weeks before there was a shark feeding frenzy over a small whale that was dead and had washed into the bay.

That was shortly after Waltze et al sailed the same stretch. Waltz did it as a recon of Jaws. We just wanted to sail, but Henderson did have a jaws recon in mind as well. That is why he picked the conditions/day that he did. We had enough of a North running that we got to sail jaws at about 6-10', big enough for some fun slopes but no where's near breaking.

Re: Mike Waltze
What a guy ! He won't know/remember me but send my regards.
I moved to Paia around 84' At that time it was common to have lunch at 'picnik's' and be sitting next to Waltze, Naish, Kalama, Masonville, Lopez etc...
So I have met all those guys but never had any real interaction with them as I was never at their competition level and the builders I worked for did not have any of those guys as team riders.


Do they still hold the Kanaha, Sunday, Gentleman's, team, slalom racing ?
That was such good fun!

Is the Pauwela cannery still a big shop space for many windsurf related builders ?
I see Jeffrey has moved HotSails down to town. Years ago Hotsails, DaKine and a number of other builders were located there. I lived right across the street from Maui Doors, the house just uphill from the little, local variety store there on West Kuiaha.


Olaf How long have you lived on Maui ?
My question really is just a lead to "How much of Maui have you explored so far?"
Have you been hiking in the crater, or done the illegal, bike, downhill from the summit, through science city, through Poli Poli state park and on down into Kula. (used to love that, summit to Haiku with less than 4 miles of peddling)
Have you discovered the bamboo forest swim spots just a little ways out past twin falls?
Etc Etc...

So Olaf you are a climber as well 'eh ?
There is a little wall on the backside (Kaupo side) that is really quite descent.
I discovered it and have been there top roping a few times. Once I took an old Valley Rat I bumped into in Kahalui. His name is Rob Lescher. Rob is a great guy and last I knew was teaching boarding for one of those biz's by the 'airport triangle'.
Any way if you climb as well I can give you directions and descriptions to a few places out Kaupo side that have descent rock and challenging climbing.


Ok if I am going to be the Presi for 09' then here is my first legislation:
All members must endeavor to learn the basics of the Hawaiian language in an effort to effect proper pronunciation and a deeper understanding and respect for the culture.
It is suggested that all constituents acquire their own copy of the Puku'i /Elbert dictionary and the 'Place names of Hawai'i' book also buy the venerated kupuna Mary Kawena Puku'i.

Not mandatory but all club sailors should learn 'Oli Aloha' (it's good for the soul)

Onaona I ta Hala me ta Lehua
He Hale Lehua no ia na ta noe

O Ta'u no ia 'e ano'i nei
'E li'a nei ho'i o tahiti mai

A hiti mai no Otou
A Hiti Pu no mai te Aloha

Aloha 'E, Aloha 'E
'E Ano ai Kakou

:) :) :) :) :) :)

'E Olaf, mahalo atu wau 'ia 'oe no ta Kind words !

I am trying to save money to get out to Hawai'i this spring, but the scope of my plans keeps getting bigger so I may not save enough till summer. There is a guy over on 'SuperTopo' forum named Nohea, he lives on O'ahu and will be holo holo most of the summer so I may try to hook up with him.
I was not going to stop on Maui (it might break my heart that I ever left)...
However Maybe I should, I could look up an old flame, do some sailing, meet you and soak up a little of the Mother Maui energy !
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Jan 2, 2009
trundlebum wrote:
So Olaf you are a climber as well 'eh ?

Big grin.

Hey Olaf....I understand reasons why you may not want to use your real name online....but every once in awhile you might mention it...just so experienced guys like trundlebum realise who you are?

With regards to both of you......

J. Thompson
From denver, co
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,440 points
Jan 2, 2009
Bigger grin:

This is becoming a really fun thread ;)

Ok so J.Thompson got me curious. I let a friend read this thread last night and I realized that I had really read all of the thread myself. I had just skimmed and got stoked to talk about wave sailing and climbing at the same time.

I reread some of Olaf's posts, good writting. Funny though, I was under the assumption that Olaf was a younger gent, perhaps in his early 30's max. Yet... his writting is not that of a typical young person. To many great idioms and use of old 'phrase of speach'.

So out of curiosity I checked Olaf's profile...
Not a young man at all. If'n I weren't 48 I'd call Olaf a Geezer ;)

As to Olaf's climbing I did see an impressive list of hard, old school routes.
I learned that Olaf is from the front range and lived there for years and his last name is Mitchell
Mitchell does not ring a bell for me. However one of the first submissions I saw by Olaf was a picture of the Yellow Wall on Longs. There were pic's of it as well by some guys I know but I think that was completely independant submissions.

I started climbing around 75/76. I did not see Eldo for the first time until late fall of 78 and only climbed there a few times. I did spend a couple summers in Colorado outside of Fort Collins. I taught climbing at a Scout camp there and would party on my day off in F.Collins or sometimes go down to Boulder. So perhaps Olaf and I have some mutual friends.
I understand 'Clean Dan' has passed away so I won't start there with the names.

So Olaf ? ? ?
Who are you M8 ? :)


Ok after reading more completely some of Olaf's waxing I realized we have the begginnings of a nice complilation of sailboard war stories here...
So let's keep it going:
(copied from a Supertopo post):


A similar to above, flying fish (or as Hawaiians call them Malolo) story:

I moved to Maui in the early 80's to take a job as a windsurf sail maker.
Of course I was out on the water sailing within days. I was a transplant from New England and the sailing on Maui was heaven relative to the full suits, booties, mitts and hoods of 'back east'.

Ok so I am out there my on one of my firstdays sailing, I was pretty far off shore taking a long hitch trying to get upwind. I was considering throwing a gibe and was looking for a good wind swell to bang one off when...
All of a sudden I hear this weird flutter/buzz type noise and as soon as I noticed flying fish were around me (I had never seen them before)...
This large one flew right into the middle of the lee side of my sail window. It hit the window with quite an impact and actually momentarily glued itself to my window before it slowly sliding down, all the while it's eyes staring at me through the vinal window. It slide off the sail with a plop onto the deck of board and with a flick of it's tail was off.

It scared the sh#t out of me, or I should say startled me, the thing seemed pretty benign.
On the port tack, hitch back towards the beach I sailed almost over a good sized tiger shark that was cruising a piece of outside reef, all of a sudden those little flying fish were merely 'cute' :)


Me and "Scruffy the super mutt" on the beach @ Kanaha during Sunday slalom race series.

I will dredge up so more pic's if I can.
As well I will write out some other good sailing stories.

I got a kick out Olaf talking about whales breaching in front of you while sailing. It really is a fairly common thing especially up around Ho'okipa.
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Jan 2, 2009
Trundlebum,I'll try to address a few of the questions that you asked in a prior post. The “rock/surf bum type guy” club was your idea and you’re my nomination for president So there!
I hope that other rock/surfbum types will continue to post openly and regularly as well.
Let's see, Mike Waltze and I have spent allot of time together over the years. We have done some great projects together. I lived in the cottage behind his house in Kuau for a year while Mike, Ritchie Myers and Mark Angulo and I remodeled his house. I helped Mike stage four Red Bull, “King of the Air” professional kite board events. We filmed the Jaws portion of “The Billabong Odyssey” and a bunch of surf stuff and of course the constant party, party, and party.
The race series is still very popular although I don’t participate(I'm just a wave sailor) but many of my friends compete and I drop by if I have time on Sundays in the summer to root them on.
The cannery is still a hub for the sail and surfbosard builders. The companys that take care of me Goya International / Quarto/ Oceans4/ MFC, are in that building along with Bill Foot,DaKine,and just about every other shaper/designer that you can imagine. My girlfriend (Karen Lang) was the primary sail designer for Goya Sails for four years. We now just do kite and sail repair at our house/loft in Haliimaile.
Jeff’s sail loft is now in Kahului in the same building as Kanaha Kai. It’s a great physility and Hot Sails Maui is doing great and more popular than ever. I think that the introduction of Jeff’s design, "The Super Freak” (a very colorful mostly Dacron wave sail) has had a great impact on their sales.
I must admit that I have only limited experience with the crater and have never biked the Poli Poli trail.
I’ve hiked and swam in the bamboo forest many times.
I worked with Rob Lescher when we were qualifying the local troop of Boy Scouts for there rappel and belay merit badges. We used the cliff at Kaupo. I've been back there since and plan another sesh when my leg is fully healed.
Since you have expressed an interest (and i am flattered) I suggest that you go to my profile here on MP I think the images that I have posted will save some time. Also some of my forum posts give a fair window to my climbing history and philosophy.
Yes, trundlebum ,we have more adventures to share so that reminds me of a story........
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 2, 2009
Damn Olaf, this is turning into real fun for me any way...

Names I have not forgotten like Mark Goo, pioneer of the forward (Reminds me of a story)
Names I had forgotten like 'Bill foot' (super guy).

What about a couple shaper friends I have lost contact with ?:
Adam Stanford and the infamous 'Johnny V' (John Voxland)

For a season or so I lived in the front house of that string of white houses on a dirt drive just Paia side of the apartment building in front of Mama's ( I rented a room from 'KenMark'). While living there I often would rig in the drive way and walk down to Kuau cove to launch, sail to Kanaha, back up to Ho'okipa and then back in at Mama's and walk it home from there.

So you know Lescher and have been to that crag in Kaupo a few times, that is so cool. that is one of the most magical little spots on the planet.
Some where I wrote a story about going out with Lescher and having to make an extra days stay at my buddies house in Kaupo due to alcohol abuse during a friendly croquette game.

There is as well, a small cave like cliff before Kaupo' on the ocean side of the road at a landing. it is a beautiful spot with thick kiawe trees and the ocean right there. I never climbed there but it looked like a huge sport climb potential.


K' den, a wind surf story I just thought of.
Have you heard this one, if not ask Mike about it.

It was in the early years of the Ho'okipa classic this happened.
As I recall it was Mike Waltze that it happened to.

Mike sailed in a heat, the waves were big but not monster (as I recall).
Waltze broke a mast base and lost his rig. After paddling in he got another and continued to compete.
It was not one, but two years later (as I recall)...
It was a beautiful day, perfect, good wind, nice size but manageable waves and the Ho'okipa classic was on.
Waltze, after shredding his way through a heat, upon returning to the beach, right in that little deep spot before you hit the actual sand... WHOMP! he went down like a total newbie on their first day. People laughed as it was so bizarre. Like WTF was that? He could not have hit the reef, no whale would fit in there undetected etc.. so WTF ?

Waltze surfaced and dragged his board up to and onto the beach. It turns out he had hit some under water flotsam...
in the form of his rig that had been ripped off his board in the same comp two seasons prior.

Do I have that straight ?


Funny but you would have to a foot in both realms to get this comment:
I always felt that Waltze was like the Kaulk of wave sailing.
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Jan 3, 2009
trundlebum wrote,
"Funny but you would have to a foot in both realms to get this comment:
I always felt that Waltze was like the Kaulk of wave sailing"
I will respond to this soon,K?
Rob Funk rented rooms at that place also?
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 3, 2009
Yep That's right, Rob Funk. Another name from the cast of N.Shore characters that I had forgotten about.
Yes at the time Rob was there as well as for a little while John Voxland and I had a good friend (It's been years) Named Rick who was our next door neighbor.
Rick (Damn I forget his last name) is a surf photog. Last I saw him, we bumped into each other on the beach at Kanaha. At the time he told me his biz was booming due to the emergence of digital tech and getting rid of the hassles of celluloid image production.


I got up this morning and over coffee had a thought...
the Sailboard world needs (if it does not exist yet) a book like Roper's '50 Classic climbs'.
That would be cool, a quality picture book of the 50 classic sailboard beaches.
You could have Waddel Creek, the Dalles in the Gorge, Kanaha, Ho'okipa and Secrets on Maui, Shipwrecks on Lanai, and Tunnels on Kaua'i etc etc ... :)
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Jan 3, 2009
trundlebum ,
I am finding it hard to keep up but I’ll give it a try. Let’ start with some great (wind surf) spots that I have visited and would love to sail again. I don’t think that between us we will have any trouble coming up with 50 classics. They may not all be “down the line” wave spots though. But classic in their own rite, when they are in condition.
Punta San Carlos, and Punta Abreojos, (Baja Norte)
North Beach at Los Barellies, La Ventana, and Cabo Pulmo ( Baja Sur) Pulmo has sick granite bouldering very XXX over pounding surf,
Cape Sebastian, and The Rock at Pistol River (Southern Oregon Coast) there is also great beach bouldering,
Cape Mendocino (Nor Cal coast),
Lake Mc Conaughy, (W. Neb.)
Ft Pierce North Jetty, and Stuart Causeway, (South Fla. east. coast)
John Martin Res. SE. Co. (Great bouldering!)
South Padre Island (Texas)
The Delta (Cal.)
Swell City, Hatchery, and Doug’s Beach. The Wall, Rufus, Arlington, Three Mile Canyon (Columbia River George)
To name just a few of my personal favorites.
There are so many more great destinations, in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, and the list goes on and on.

Both Kaulk and Waltze are pioneers of "Our" sports and I regard them as friends and I respect each of them for their vision and achievments. I mentioned my history with Waltze in a prior post. Ron Kaulk and I worked as wall riggers for ABC Wide World of Sports on three separate occasions. Talk about a great gig! Good, money, locations, and crew. Along with Ron we had Dale Bard, Mike Hoover, the late Beverly Johnson, Bruce Sposi, Ron Matous, Brent Bingham, Rick Ridgeway and Mike Carmichael all were on our crew on various occasions.

Was that surf photographer that you mentioned,Eric Aeder, by any chance?

You mentioned the late Clean Dan Grandusky. I have a bit of history with Dan over the years both climbing and working.

I haven’t seen Johnny V. in a while. He bought some property over Kaupo way. He was telling me a story about some bad JU JU with a “newbe agro” park ranger on his way home that caused him considerable grief!

I can relate to your story about flying fish swarming like mosquitoes, getting plastered to your sail and landing on your board.

How about being wound up, fully sheeted in feet in the straps while bearing off the wind and barely hanging on. When a sea turtle pops up out of nowhere and you have no time to avoid him and you feel like you have hit boulder in the water that send s you flying. That will shake a knot in your tail!

One day on the Sea of Cortez my buddy Paco and I were out on our sail boards about a mile off shore. We were ripping of the wind and simul-jumping the chop on the rolling wind swells, you know what I mean. When all of a sudden I noticed dolphins, lots of dolphins, thousands of dolphins. We were completely surrounded as far as the eye could see. I have seen plenty of dolphins but I have never experienced anything like it before or since. We put the brakes on and slogged for a long time. While this giant pod of Bottle Nose dolphin migrated through the area we were sailing. We were so stoked! It was like a dream only we were awake and both experienced it!
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 6, 2009
Some years back I framed this awesome house at Hubbard’s Creek near the town of Port Orford, Oregon. Port Orford is out on Cape Blanco and a remote, utopic little fishing / artist village. It’s the kind of place you pass through on your way to somewhere else and never give it much thought.
Hubbard’s Creek has a very territorial and aggro group of local surfers. That’s another story that I should tell. It’s about how grown men can act when they feel that their surf territory is threatened by strange surfers from 25 miles down the coast. That sounds funny unless you are the one about to get the shit kicked out of you, in your wetsuit, at 6:30 am, just for having a cell phone in your hand.
My partner on the framing project was Victor “the inflictor“ Roy. Victor is the world champion in masters division in downhill skiing and he is also a wind surf legend from the early days in The Gorge.
Victor had the task of waking very early every morning and analyzing the barometric gradient models for the Columbia River Gorge. He would then record his wind forecast for that day and phone it in to a radio station in Hood River. Victor’s forecast would be aired hourly throughout the day so the wind surfers in The Gorge would know where to go for the most favorable conditions.
Little did anyone in The Gorge know that Victor was actually hanging out with the Pistol River gang down on the south coast. We were living large and having a blast while framing a really cool house, surfing and wave sailing, every day.
Every morning I would wake to the sound of Victor’s gravelly voice saying “Good morning sailors, the best conditions will be from wherever to wherever bla,bla,bla.” Then I would hear his van door open and the next sound would be him kicking the side of my van saying “Surfs up! Let’s go!”
I would roll out of my sleeping bag and drive about a quarter mile down to the beach at Hubbard’s Creek. Victor would already be there and have his wet suit on waxing up his surfboard.
My wetsuit was usually still wet from the previous evening’s session. It was harsh pulling that wet, cold rubber thing on having had hardly enough time to wake up.
We would paddle out before the sun came up every day and surf whether it was good or not.
Hard as it was to get motivated, I never regretted it after the first wave hit me in the face.
We rarely surfed for more than an hour on those mornings so we were out of the water, dried off and had our stoves going making coffee and pancakes on the beach..
After we finished the morning surf and breakfast rituals it was serious attention to business, nose to the grind stone, power framing until around one o-clock. Usually, at about that time one of us would get a call from one of our gang with a wind/surf report from Pistol River ,about 25 miles south of Hubbard’s Creek.

One particular day we got a call from, I think it was Dana Miller saying (in a sing song and tempting manner)” Gale’s back in town!” Meaning that the wind on the ocean is blowing gale force and it’s time for the troops to rally at Cape Sebastian, one of the Pistol River area’s two wind surf launch sites.
We dropped our tool belts and buttoned up the job site. We were on the road in about five minutes.
The home owner, who was a windsurfer as well, wasn’t far behind us.
On the drive down to Pistol I had a good chance to check out the ocean. It was howling! Gale was defiantly back and she was in a foul mood!
High surf and gale warning flags were flying outside the Coast Guard station at Gold Beach.
I didn’t figure that anyone was going out on the ocean that day. It was just too gnarly.
I pulled into the Cape Sebastian parking area to find all the gang assembled and rigging small sails.
I checked out the ocean and it looked big, but doable, so, I rigged a sail as well.
It was odd to me that there was such a big difference in the ocean from what I had observed on the trip down from Hubbard’s.
With the direction that the wind was blowing, the cape and the small island in the bay had created a comfortable wind shadow and things had toned down to a seemingly manageable level.
I sailed for a while and rode several medium sized waves. Then this monster cleanup set came through that completely annihilated me! I was separated from my gear and I was swimming and getting worked by the following waves. I wasn’t the only one to get nailed by that set and it seemed as though every sailor out was caught off guard by that set.
Victor, who had been charging to punch through that same wall of a wave that took me out, had been denied as well, only, he, still had his gear. And my stuff wound up fairly close to him.
Victor saw my situation, I just looked desperate! For what reason I still to this day can’t explain why but Victor grabbed my rig and was holding it along with his own while I swam over to retrieve it. By this time the next set was about to show up. I was terrified by the idea of the two of us and our sailboard gear being caught in the same mast high wave! As swiftly as possible I grabbed my rig from him and water started just as the next equally massive wave was bearing down on us. I shoved my feet into the straps and pumped my sail to try to get some power in it before the monster devoured me. My timing was better this time and somehow I made it over the first wave of the set which allowed me access through the next three waves. My adrenaline was soaring by the time I made it safely outside the impact zone.
Looking back I noticed that I was the only one that had made it through that last set and the Ocean was littered with swimmers and loose gear was bouncing everywhere in the frothing white water.
I was in the straps, hooked in and my board was on a steady plane. I was heading farther out to sea and trying to relax a bit when I realized that I was in the shadow of the island that I mentioned earlier. The further I sailed the lighter the wind became un till it was gone all together and I just fell over backwards. It was so still! There are a few places that I wouldn’t recommend swimming and the spot where I was is one of them. A nice lonely patch of still water in an otherwise violent sea felt like just the place where the landlord would look for a snack!
Although it was very still, every now and then a puff would swirl through and give me a little hope of a water start. I tried to keep my rig in a water start position but it was so fluky that I just seemed to go around in circles. The gusts of wind spilling around the small island were coming from every imaginable direction. I swam my gear through the seemingly endless calm until I felt the first puff. I smiled and raised my sail so that it filled a little then set my back foot on the board and this way I navigated with a little power and some resemblance of control. I was still moving farther out to sea. I was hoping to clear the shadow of the island and get a fully powered jibe on the outside, and charge through the dead air using the (apparent) wind generated in my sail. I’d had enough of this particular brand of fun and I was ready to go back to the beach and have a beer with the gang!
As I sailed farther from the shadow of the island the wind picked up to a comfortable velocity and then without a signal, Gale came from her hiding place and hit me like a bomb! The force was so great that I was flattened! Luckily, I still had a firm grip on my rig. There was no way that I could have survived those seas without a flotation aid!
I had been in strong, violent ocean conditions in the past but this was clearly beyond anything I had previously experienced. It was defiantly” Victory At Sea” conditions!
Panic was not an option! Every time I attempted to water start I would be launched so hard that the rig would be nearly torn from my grip, or, I would be violently flattened back in to the water. I realized that sailing was out of the question. I had to hang on to my gear at all cost! My life depended on it! On one my attempts to water start the force of the wind ripped a hole in my sail. I was actually happy about that because it made the sail less powerful.
I came to the realization that I was in the grips of energy that I had no hope of controlling! My one and only hope of salvation was to keep my wits about me, hang on to my rig and go with the flow!
I accepted the fact that this just might be the end of the road! This was it! This is how the story ends! So sit back hang on and enjoy the wild furry of nature unleashed!
After accepting that I was in a very tight spot, I realized that my efforts although totally futile were resulting in a small amount of progress and that I was actually unknowingly heading toward the next island and that if I could hold some resemblance of a coarse I might be able to work my way into the shelter of the lee side of it. A lot of things had to go right in order for that to happen and none of them were.
M y fleeting glimpse of hope vanished when my attention turned from the distant island to what was right in front of me!
The Oregon Coast is a visually striking scape with its rugged sea stacks that project from the water with the pounding wind swell colliding with them creating a visual extravaganza that will stay with a person for a life time as one of the truly great memories of nature’s power! This day I had a front row seat!
Now, this was not that first time that I had ventured into this arena and I thought that I knew where all the sea stacks were but with the size of this wind swell, rocks were manifesting in places that I had never seen before and I was drifting out of control directly toward one that was typically submerged.
Terror once again took over. I was drifting in giant waves, powerful current and nuclear force winds toward an aircraft carrier sized rock that was being periodically exposed and dry only to be swallowed again by the next swell.The sea has no conscience and it was about to deposit me right on top of it!
Once again my mortality came to the surface and I accepted my eminent demise!
I wasn’t going without a fight! SO, I made a hasty plan that when the wave deposited me on the rock,I would pick up my rig and charge with power and determination,as fast as possible for the far side of the of the rock.Bare feet or no this is life or life. My only chance was to make it to the far side before the next wave swallowed and crushed me in to the rock’s exposed razor sharp surface.
Now that I had a plan it was time to execute!
Get Ready,I’m Coming In Hot!
The monster was getting closer and closer! As Yoda said “There Is No Try!!!”
I was up and then down in the mountainous swells drifting on a collision course! The rock was only meters in front of me.I was wide-eyed and anxious for it to happen when the timing of the swell lifted me completely over the jagged slab without the slightest contact.
I couldn’t believe it! Emotion swelled in me beyond any that I have ever experienced.
The violent winds that drove me to my near demise subsided a little bit at the same time as I passed over the rock.
I was in a total state of adrinalized euphoria. I water started my damaged but still serviceable sail. I sailed straight in to the beach. I was a mile down the coast from where I launched not more than an hour ago.

I have no words for how I felt after reaching the beach that afternoon. I was physically and emotionally drained.
I took a moment and noticed the sky, the sand dunes , rock formations, drifted logs, even bird foot prints in the sand, the green forested hills were greener than I ever noticed, and a variety of other things that I typically took for granted on a daily basis were, Ever So Much More So! Greg had driven down to give me a ride back. He looked at me with a big grin and said” Man we were watching you from the beach with binoculars! We thought you were a goner!"I responded” Me too Dude, That was way too close!”
Greg said, “Throw your rig in the truck and I’ll give you a ride back to the launch.”
I responded” Thanks, but I think would like to walk back and I’ll carry my stuff, I need a little time to digest what just happened and let my soul catch up”
He looked at me and said “cool dude, ever y one is already de-rigged and heading for the Crows Nest. Take your time and come on down and I’ll buy ya a beer. K?”
“I’ll be along in a bit.” I said, as I lifted my board and sail in the head carry position and started the mile walk down the beach in my wetsuit and barefoot reveling in the fact that I was issued an extension pass to live yet another day.
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 7, 2009
Jebus. I have the shakes after reading that. Powerful stuff. Andrew Gram
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jan 1, 2001
3,430 points
Jan 13, 2009
A GIMONGUS swell has arrived here on the north shore of Maui.With the strong "Kona" winds it will be PRO's Only on the ocean today! I'm going to see if I can get a parking spot at Lanes and watch the show!
Pat Caldwell wrote:
"Outlook through Monday Jan 19: the very large northwest swell will produce surf above the 25 foot warning threshold along the north shore and west shores Wednesday through Friday morning. The swell will be reinforced by another west northwest swell, therefore large surf will persist through the weekend and likely drop below the 15 and 12 foot advisory levels on the north shore and west shores by Monday."
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 14, 2009
wooo hoooo... I am envious !

Big Lanes on a strong Kona day... yeah baby.

I am a goofy foot surfer, those rare days when you get down wind lefts (with out having to go over to Diamond head)...One in a thousand.

Olaf if the swell is huge (and northerly more than westerly) and strong kona winds ...
what about a day (for the mortal sailors) on the west side up at secrets or there abouts ?
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Jan 14, 2009
Trundlebum,It's good to see you back!
We have high surf warnings posted for the north shore!
There's a lot of west in this swell and with the strong Kona winds the upper west side should offer great sailing conditions.
It looks conditions will be favorable at select spots all the way down the west side of Maui.
My girlfriend "Karen" is heading over to Kehei for kiting today.
I have opted to sit this one out since my knee is yet untested in battle.
My take on the navy's wave models is that it's gonna be a great event from Oregon to Baja.There should be a lot of happy surfers not only in the islands but all the way down the west coast.
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Jan 17, 2009
True to all predictions we are in the middle of a classic, strong Kona wind, Gimongus, wave event!
The view from my house upcountry is a solid white line, with no visible channels, from the harbor to way past Hookipa I am sure that Jaws it going OFF, big time today!
Check out my buddy Giampaolo’s blog post from yesterday. I was hanging with him on the cliff when he took most of these shots.

BTW, Coach says that my rehab is going well and if I sit this swell out, I can dress out and”POSSIBALY PLAY??” in the next game!I am sooo stoked!!!
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Feb 10, 2009
I need to sit down and carve out some time for some serious writing for this thread
(as you have done to get it going Olaf)

So Mark Nelson, and Olaf:
"Mark, what a coincidence, I started surfing at N/S Jetties at Fort Pierce and Sebastian Inlet. Some great surfers come from that area..."

I don't know you two guys other than interacting here on this forum, but maybe you are of the vintage to know an important mentor of mine?
His name is Larry Tuttle. He surfed Sabastian all through high school and for many years after until he left Forida as a young man. For years now Larry has been building high performance, trapeze, dinghies, particularly 505's.


A bit back in the thread...
Katy H said:
" at Pavones! Longest left in the Southern Hemisphere is what I hear!"

I'm bet'n she's a goofy foot 'eh ?

Let's hear back from yah Katy, let us know how the surfari went ;)

J.Thomson goes on to talk about standing or river waves....
got a story there but just not the time right now...


I bought a snow board at a garage sale last weekend and yesterday went up to Mount Charleston and did about 6 slides down and 'hoofs' back up the bunny slope before they kicked me out ;)
It was fun till this big burly dude named Kent decided I had enough free fun for the day.
I could see getting into it, but I could totally see becoming a fresh powder or untracked run, snob as the slippy/slidy ride on packed slush is not very interesting to me.


This is a fun thread ;)
bumpity bump
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Feb 10, 2009
SWEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God I miss surfing!! Stopped when I moved out to Colorado back in 2001. Born an east coast surfer and surfed most of the east coast. Spent a lot of time in NC surfing as I went to school about 10 miles from Wrightsville Beach. Gave my nephew my boards when I moved out here.

Thanks for the video. One day I will get back to surf again, climbing and skiing are great, but there is nothing like dropping in on a beautiful glassy wave, dragging that hand in the water, ohhhhh gotta go change my shorts now!
"H" Lampasso
From Manitou Springs
Joined Feb 13, 2006
10 points
Feb 10, 2009
Hey trundlebum....
I'm excited to hear your standing wave story!

I'm going to be in Vegas for the month of March...I've got a couple of partners lined up....and would be psyched to rope up with you, if you'll have me!

Also...isn't Mt. charleston on Forest service land?
If so they can't actually kick you are technically one of the owners...just don't go riding the lift!

J. Thompson
From denver, co
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,440 points
Feb 10, 2009
trundlebum wrote:
bumpity bump

you didn't just write that.

I don't know larry, maybe olaf might; I spent just about every free moment at hobe sound before they started planting development out there.
Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
545 points
Feb 11, 2009
Got a call from one of my buds; hittin it before school, the weather setup was perfect & a bluebell day. I had to put my wetsuit on; biting cold, tell-tale cold, spiritually ominous; a day remembered.

The day of the Challenger.
Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
545 points
Feb 11, 2009
Boy, you guys are nuts. I'm a lake surfer and the most extreme thing I've been through is planeing on Blue Mtn Reservoir in a hailstorm with lightening striking all around.

Tried it on the ocean when I was down in Grand Cayman and once in the US Virgin's, but there was very little wave action to speak of. This is a completely different sport that you guys do, we just happen to use similar equipment.
From Santa Monica, Ca.
Joined Aug 7, 2003
240 points
Feb 12, 2009
Mark Nelson:
"The day of the Challenger."

Yes I will remember that day forever as well.
I was working for a small sail maker in the Boston area. I was the 'hand work' man/dept which meant I sat on a bench all day listening to a walkman or the radio. I followed the live radio broadcast as it happened.
It was a fateful day indeed.
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points
Feb 12, 2009
Scott Mossman:
"most extreme thing I've been through is planeing on Blue Mtn Reservoir in a hailstorm with lightening striking all around. "

The most violent conditions I have been through that were threatening...
(I don't consider riding out a squall on a maxi boat very threatening)
...Was one year during Marblehead race week, I was crewing on a 505.
We had a line squall come through that was a doozy. As the old adage goes the rain came before the wind and it screamed.
Race week typically has three starting lines, inside middle and outside. Our class was on the middle line. We got our start off, rounded the windward mark and started off down the reaching leg. Shortly before the reaching mark the wind died and the rain started. Then the lightning. Many bolts were close enough that you could hear the arcing sound. The rain was coming down hard enough to create 'sea smoke'. It was getting pretty scary, standing in calf deep bilge water with a stainless and alloy rig.
We made the decision to leave the race aside and creep over towards the outside line as at this point they were close by. So for the worst of it we sat in the shadow of a couple large keel boats with much bigger rigs. When the lightning mellowed we hobbled back towards the reaching mark arriving back on course just in the nick of time.
We were sitting at the reaching mark, in the fog with barely a breath of air when all of a sudden out of the fog, about a 1/4 mile back up the reaching leg comes 5 or 6 Hobie 16's with both crew members out on the wire and making tracks. In hot pursuit was a half dozen Tempest class boats. They were flying chutes and had the crew on the wire and were planing like dinghies. I looked up, saw this and thought 'Oh f*&^%' and my skipper who was much larger than me started to say "yah Know maybe..." I was already out of and handing him the trapeze harness. As he came over the traveller with the harness in hand I was grabbing the tiller extension and jumping in the back of the boat. Sure enough the boats and breeze caught us moments later, we had just started down the second reach of the course. As we anticipated the wind built in a matter of seconds from zip to well over 40 knots with severe gusts way beyond that.
With the owner on the wire and me hiking my ass off (on a broad reach) I drove down to the leeward mark. At that point all seemed under control so we rounded up and attempted to beat our way back to the weather mark. Fat chance! The best we could manage was barely a beam reach and that was with full hiking, the main completely luffing and the jib drawing but with a large luff in it. I tried a few times unsuccessfully to tack the boat. Each time I would get as much speed as I could and slam the helm down. As soon as the boat came into the wind it just stopped and would not come all the way around. I decided I would give it one more go and if again unsuccessful I would then do a 'back down' tack. During the next attempt to tack, the jib was luffing so violently that it took the slack in the jib sheets and welded them in some funky 'roodabaga knot' on the shroud. With no control of the jib we capsized but that was not so bad we righted the boat on the new tack. It was a no gain situation and very strenuous to maintain so we decided since there really was no more 'race' at this point we would head for a lee shore on a large island. While running down to this island we were under a fair amount of control and could actually take a breather and look around a little.
I saw some pretty wild things. I watched one crew of a 420 class boat capsize. They were reaching and moving so fast and went over so fast that both the skipper and crew were separated from the boat. Before they could swim the short distance to the boat the wind on the hull pushed it down and got under the center board and it looked like it would actually be strong enough to make the boat 'turn turtle'. It did way more than that... the windage on the center board pushed the boat over quickly enough that it actually came up on the other side. Now with the rig out to windward it was but a second or two and wham, the boat literally launched in a manner akin to pole vaulting on it's own rig. The boat did a full 180 with just the tip of the mast left in the water, flew about 20 yards down wind and finally came to a rest. I saw the same but not as dramatic, happen to a couple Laser class boats.
We hit this steep cobble stone beach and beached the boat. The light keeper on the island had been watching and came down to the beach. He told us his anemometer was holding at high 40's (knots) with violent gusts well above hurricane force (72kts).
After the line squall passed it was a pleasant, light air sail back to the harbour. Enroute we saw many, many swamped boats being towed back to the harbour. It's a strange sight to see three guys bailing water out of a 30' keel boat that is down to rails in the water. There was a Soling class boat that actually sunk in that squall and divers used to joke about how it was sitting on the bottom under full sail for weeks before being raised.
From Las Vegas NV
Joined Aug 18, 2007
45 points

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