Surf’n Things: Winter hype!

Winter swell at Honolua Bay in winter 2013.

Photo by Kainalu Steward

Winter swell at Honolua Bay in winter 2013.

By Kainalu Steward, features writer

Fall just kicked in, and winter will be right around the corner. Many things come to mind when you think of winter — all the festivities, like Christmas, winter break, family time, New Year’s Eve, cold weather, and pure joy in the air.

Don’t get me wrong, all those things are fun and not one disappoints (well, maybe the cold weather), but what really happens in winter?

In a surfer’s mind, winter is really all we think about. Winter equals WAVES! And the swells of winter season bring in a bunch of necessities you should know before paddling out.

First things first…where should you even go to surf?

Winter usually hits the north facing shores best, which means areas like Hoʻokipa in Pāʻia and Honolua Bay out towards Kapalua will probably be your best bet. Although these areas can fill up with lingering crowds, the waves are totally worth it.

Because I live out in Napili, I mainly surf Honolua Bay in the winter, so I’ve got all the scoops on parking, hazardous areas, best times to surf, and even best places to eat after.

So, parking.

The best spots usually have the worst parking. When there is no parking, you know the waves are pumping. At Honolua Bay, you’re literally parking at the top of the bay, basically on a cliff, and walking down to reach the break.

The bay works in three sections. You could surf “The Point,” which means most people park towards the point of the cliff. You could also surf “The Cave,” which is more in the middle. Surfers either end up surfing there or walking a little further down. “Keiki Bowls” is right before The Cave, so parking for there would usually be in the first section. Ultimately there is no parking structure, so you park where you feel most comfortable.

The hazards depend on where you surf.

Keiki bowls, on the inside, has a much faster wave, and it tends to form like a bowl. One thing to remember about Keiki Bowls is it does get shallow on the inside, so you either make it or don’t.

The Cave also has its its own hazard to look out for. It’s a really fun and long wave, as long as you make sure you clear the cliff in front of you when pumping down the face.

And, The Point has its dangers, too. The Point is a more forgiving wave, but it does sit right behind a rock island that is crucial to pass, before you end up right on top of it.

The prime time to go is usually early morning. Dawn is nice because there’s not as much wind, the crowd hasn’t really woken up yet, and you catch a lot more waves.

Another good time to head out would be right before or at sunset. It provides mellow winds as well, and thats when people usually start to leave…plus you get a first class view of sundown!

Now, if you’re not hungry after a surf session, then you obviously didn’t have fun! I love to stop somewhere to grab a bite, especially with some friends after a great session.

If youʻre looking for good local plate lunches nearby, Honolua Store is the way to go. It’s just a few miles south of the bay, so definitely on my way home.

My other personal favorite would have to be the Farmers Market in Honokowai. It’s a little bit past Honolua Store, but worth the extra drive. It’s got killer açaí bowls, a fresh salad bar, an organic hot bar, and refreshing juices.

I don’t know about you, but talking about this is already getting me excited for the winter swells…oh, and the other stuff that comes with winter — pretty stoked about that, too.