in the fall i decided to go to hawaii for a little vacation from the mountains and soak up some sun and salt water. i wanted to take some time to do photography and hang out in some high quality surf culture so naturally i chose the north shore of oahu. it’s always been a dream of mine to hang out on pipeline and watch some of the best surfers in the world do their thing. my good friend josh decided to tag along for the adventure which was pretty key. josh picked our accommodation after calling all of the budget spots close to pipeline and made his decision based on who was friendliest on the telephone, works for me! we booked our flights and we were ready.
the journey started in the vancouver airport when the draft beer went dry at the only pub in our terminal. this is when josh and i discovered the beauty of the airport lounge. inside the lounge they provide you with tasty beverages and continuous supply of snacks all for one low price. most importantly that price is much less than we would have spent quenching our thirst at an airport pub. we indulged in our new found goodness, chatted with others who were hopping around the continent on business and lost track of the time. we learned another new tid-bit of travel info here; a flight can’t take off with your bags loaded if you’re not on it. the flight attendants weren’t to happy but we didn’t miss our flight!
slightly embarrassed, we were the last to board the flight, i hung my head and josh apologized to the other travellers as we made our way to our seats at the very back row of the plane. another one of josh’s brilliant decisions, i think he thought there would be more leg room. there was no extra leg room but, there was no one else but us in our whole row. plus we had close access to food, drink, washrooms and good conversation with our flight attendants. we got comfortable and josh decided that he wanted to do something nice for every one on the plane since we’d sort of held things up.
“hey jay! how much do you think it would cost to buy everyone on the plane a drink?”
we pondered over it for a minute and decided that half the plane max would ask for a drink, crunched some numbers and decided it wasn’t going to be a problem. josh asked the attendants to offer everyone a drink like the normally do, if they chose an alcoholic beverage he would take take care of it. the stunned look in the attendant’s eyes was brilliant.
“you want to do what? what should i tell them when they go to pay for it?” he asked. “just tell them it’s taken care of, just don’t go around offering free drinks to everyone.”
i think they still thought he was a little loopy. we talked about for a couple more minutes but in the end they agreed and josh bought a little over two dozen drinks for the passengers.
we got comfortable sitting at the back near the washrooms and were rapidly making new friends and socializing. we met a very key friend at this point. danielle had wandered to the back of the plane to stretch and do some mid flight yoga. we chatted as she loosened up and exchanged contact information. we bonded instantly, talked about mountain life and what our hawaii plans entailed. we figured since oahu is a small island and she had a jeep waiting for her, it wouldn’t be hard for us to meet up. you know how life just brings you good people when you’re open to it? this was one of those moments. we didn’t know it yet but we were going to spend about half our trip with danielle and her travel partner eric. great people equal good times, every time.
ohau is kind of funny place and it really gives solid meaning to saying “running on island time”. once you arrive, you realize the locals don’t have much of a schedule. the shuttle that we had booked to wisp us quickly up to the north shore and away from the city didn’t show up. after a few phone calls we got a ride sorted out and an hour later we were on our forty-five minute journey across the island. the “big johns taxi” light glowed off into the night and we were plugging our driver for details on our destination. john had to make a stop at s shop to pick up some wine for the party he was heading back to, which was ok with us, we needed to get supplies since we had just arrived. the van pulled up to sharks cove rentals just after midnight. it’s a large main home with a guest home in the back, located on sharks cove. go figure? more to the point, if you’re looking for a nice relaxed inexpensive place to stay that is quiet and free of the annoying hostel crowd, this is the place. you can take your parents here and the staff is friendly. a man named john owns the place and his son john manages it. no, neither are the taxi driver these are two new johns. so far everyone we’ve met is named john. this is going to be easy.
we made a lot of friends at sharks cove, from all over, chile, france, united states, norway and sweden too. josh was learning to surf so he wanted to meet and make friends that would help him get there. it was easy here, everyone was friendly and took us around to show us where the surf spots were. we were quickly absorbed into the north shore eating acai bowls, fish tacos and other delicious brazilian inspired food. i could eat acai bowls every day for life. josh hitch hiked to surf spots and i spent my days making the twenty minute trek to pipeline to take photos and talk with people on the beach. the first day danielle and eric came to visit we went on an eventful little trip to the waimea falls botanical garden.
danielle and eric picked us up in their jeep that they’d rented to cover as much of oahu as possible. cruising top down in a jeep is the only way to get around hawaii, if you try to do it any other way you’re just being silly. we had a great time walking through the gardens, even when the flash flood warning that i’d seen earlier that day came true. it rained so hard the jeep had been flooded with nearly ten centimetres of water by the time we got back. we pulled the drain plugs out of the floor, the water drained, we’re back in business and by this time the sun had returned. no big deal, just a little water!
pipeline has to be one of the most beautiful waves in the world. i haven’t seen them all but from my spent watching it creep up to a twelve foot face and stopping it with my camera; i’m truly awe struck by it’s beauty. i had the pleasure of watching the best surfers on the north shore put on a performance that makes any surf film seem inadequate. the swell was probably one of the best that will hit all season, large, clean and oh so powerful. i really enjoy taking photos of surfing and watching humans master the ocean with power and grace. really quite epic to watch and if you’re a surfer you can really appreciate what the amazing skill these people posses.
i hope you enjoyed my story and photos. maybe it will inspire you to visit. i left out a lot of the stories mostly because they would be better heard from josh’s point of view.