Those of us that are even slightly in tune with popular surf culture know this time of year is all about the North Shore of O’ahu. A large percentage of the world’s top surfers are scattered about the 7-mile miracle and for good reason; they’re being documented by the industry’s première lensmen in some of the best waves the planet has on offer. Sitting back and watching the webcasts is great, getting involved in the #goparko/#gokelly banter is amusing and who doesn’t love it when Waimea, Pe’ahi and the outer reefs start to fire?
The North Shore is no doubt the place to be during the cold winter months. But what about the rest of us? What about the Alaskan fisherman sneaking in sessions during his 5 hour window of light? What about that bitter soul in the Pacific Northwest, hardened by the never-ending wind and rain? What about the Southern Californian squeezing in a 30-minute session during lunch hour?
What are we supposed to do while being tormented by flawless, makable tubes, bronzed babes, and 75* weather? Are we really supposed to pull on that dank, foul-smelling, rubber suit and paddle out into 3ft onshore slop just to say we got wet? Is that really surfing? You’re darn right it is people! We might not have a personal cinematographer or stickers plastered up and down our board, but we are out there, rain or shine, because we love the act of wave riding.
Let’s enjoy our south wind and our ice cream headaches. Let’s enjoy huddling around a fire, thawing our extremities. And most importantly, let’s relish in those rare weekday afternoons when the wind switches offshore, the buoys read 6ft @ 15 seconds, the barrels are backlit green and you are scoring a lonely peak with a good pal. It doesn’t matter if the pros are packed shoulder to shoulder in trunks, drinking Primo’s on the beach and getting blasted out of spitting barrels. Let them have it. Sooner or later, we’ll get ours too.
Author Mark McInnis is a photographer living the dream in the Pacific Northwest. Find out more about Mark at this website here.