Hawaii's Waves Just Too Big!
This past November,
the Rip Curl Cup (the second jewel in Vans Triple Crown of Surfing) was
postponed on five consecutive days due to unfavorable surfing conditions.
On Monday, November 25th, competition was suspended just a few hours after
the starting horn due to massive waves breaking at Sunset Beach. The giant
20 to 25 foot surf was breaking along the entire North Shore coastline,
regularly closing out across Sunset Beach’s usually calm channel, and
then rushing up the sand and even over the Kamehameha Highway.
The massive and
disorganized swells continued for the remainder of the week. “Today
(November 26th) we have the biggest swell I’ve seen all year,” said
Vans Triple Crown of Surfing executive
director Randy Rarick. “It’s breaking out on what we call the
fifth reef, about a mile out to sea. It’s at least 20 feet at Sunset.
With the size and the high tide this morning, waves rushed up over the
beach and flooded the contest area. Luckily we were ready for it.”
Competition was again
postponed on Wednesday, November 27th, before a single board hit the
water. Rarick was left with no option but to postpone competition and wait
for the swell to diminish and the winds to decrease: a unique situation
that generally only happens in Hawaiian waters.
After a Thanksgiving
break, hopes were high for a Friday morning start, but that didn’t
happen as the chaotic line-up of waves and stormy surf conditions
prevailed at Sunset Beach.
30th then marked the fifth consecutive day of postponements for the Rip
Curl Cup as massive closeout sets continued to pound Sunset Beach.
“It’s been a very unusual waiting period so far this year. Normally
we’re waiting around for the waves to increase in size, but presently
it’s been the exact opposite as the waves have been 16 to 18 feet
plus,” said ASP head judge Perry Hatchet.
“Only in Hawaii do
we cancel events because it’s too big,” he added. “This is why
Hawaii is an integral part of the tour. We might see great small waves in
Europe and Brazil, perfect waves in Fiji, but the huge waves in Hawaii
round it off and make the ASP surfers the best in the world,” said
The Rip Curl Cup
finally resumed on Sunday, December 1st, with a full day of competition on
clean 6 to 8 foot waves. Following two more days of favorable conditions,
Australian Joel Parkinson came out on top as the winner of the Rip Curl