My roommate, Dave, and I just returned from a killer trip to
da islands. We've got this great story to tell but I don't
think anyone is going to believe us.
About a week before our trip I was out surfing Simmons' reef
in La Jolla by my lonesome. After a while this other guy
paddles out and, since there are only two of us and we're
stoked on the good waves, we start talkin'. It turns out he
just came back from two years on the island where Dave and
I are headed so I grill him for surf spot info. He tells me
this and that and says to say hello to one of his friends if
I meet him surfing on the southwest side; yeah, sure dude.
So, a couple of weeks later Dave and I are in the middle of
an awesome (even for Hawaii) surf trip. We get up in the
morning and point the rental car towards the north side.
We're pretty sick of the one tape we brought along so the
radio is blaring Hawaiian Christmas carols interrupted by a
weather report. The SOUTH shore is breaking (yes, this is
December). We pull the U-turn with dirt flying and chickens
running for cover. An hour later we're driving along a dirt
road through a random cane field thinking "If we just keep
going south we've got to hit water eventually." We emerge
from the sugar cane to see the most incredible empty waves of
the whole trip. We drive along the coast to find the best
spot, which turns out to be right in front of this crazy
little assortment of beach shacks. Dave and I are psyching
ourselves up to paddle out to this peeling double overhead
shallow reef break when this large Hawaiian comes walking
towards us. He doesn't look happy to see us. In fact it
looks like he's in a mood to kick our haole asses all the
way back to San Diego.
Pissed Local: "Hey, who told you 'bout dis place? You're not
supposed to be here. Dis is private land. Did
someone tell you 'bout here?"
me (I only have one card, why not play it): "Uhh, I heard
about this spot from a guy named Jaymon in San Diego."
Local: "Jaymon! You know Jaymon?"
me: "Yeah, are you Aba?"
Local: "Yeah, brah."
me: "Aba Alvarado?"
Local: "Yeah, brah!"
Dave: silence, weird look. (We just randomly crashed through a
sugar cane field, totally lost; parked in this guys'
front yard at a random break in front of a random house,
... and Garrett knows the guys' name.) weird look
We were golden. Aba took us out in front of his house for some
UNREAL barrels (mostly for him). We bought food and Heineken,
(Aba's favorite) and surfed other spots, ate, and drank till
sunset. We were Aba's new haole brahs. Everywhere we went
people knew this guy and treated him like a King and wondered
who in hell these two guys were with Aba. Come sunset, after
Aba's downed 3/4 of the case, he insists we go into the hills
and go pig hunting with him and his friends. Now Dave and my
hunting desire and ability would probably qualify us to take
down a wild head of lettuce, but, when life throws this crazy
stuff at you you just have to go for it.
We piled into Aba's car and drove inland. After a few miles
we pulled onto a smaller road, then a dirt road, then parked
next to an ancient Toyata Landcruiser. We transferred gear,
inflated the tire and were bouncing off on our way again. The
necessity of the vehicle change quickly became obvious. The
dirt road turned into a goat track leading straight down into
a huge canyon. Dave and I hung on for our lives as Aba directed
the beast over three foot boulders on a 45 degree grade in the
dark. At the bottom of this huge lush canyon was Aba's family
farm. Aba started the generator and Dave and I unloaded
supplies and checked the place out. It became apparent that
Aba's friends were going to flake on boar hunting so we just
ended up doing tequila shots and eating. Oh, the eating. Aba
kept loading us up on lobster he had caught that week. Plate
after plate of the best lobster tails and it just never ended.
Aba:"Grind brah. Grind it all." Oh man, this made Thanksgiving
dinner feel like a snack. Me:"Aba, are you sure you're not
just fattening us up to shoot us since you aren't going to
hunt pig?" Aba: chuckle. Dave: too busy to worry with mouth
full of lobster.
The next morning Aba cut some flowers from the farm and cooked
us breakfast. I couldn't stop thinking that this guy who
could have just as easily pounded us for being at his break
was making us omelets. Aba told us how his family had held
onto their land when all the other families in the valley
sold out to a big haole land owner.
After the journey back we exchanged addresses and Alohas and
drove back to the north side. Dave and I just couldn't
believe the whole thing. It was just such a shock to get to
know the deeper life of Hawaiian locals behind the dirty looks
you get out surfing. The spirit of aloha is alive and well
in the islands, it's just been covered by a hard shell due to
exposure to the abuse of Western Culture.
Our trip seemed different after that. The waves were still
epic, it just seemed we had gotten something deeper.