Wave Energy

Gary Kewley
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Friday - September 30, 2005
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Hurricane Jova swells hit Laniakea on the North Shore
Hurricane Jova swells hit Laniakea on the North Shore

Aloha, surfers!

It’s the last week of September and waves have been pretty uneventful ... especially compared to our first 6- to 10-foot northwest swell and our rare southwest swell of a few weeks ago. There’s nothing “great” on the forecast, but that’ll change ... it always does.

For now, we expect “energy” from three separate sources:

1) Kenneth, who was still a Category 1 Hurricane at the time of this writing (9/27)

2) The Northern Hemisphere 3) The Southern Hemisphere. All are big enough to motivate surfers to stay waxed and ready.


Let’s take a look at waves for a moment. When I mention energy to describe waves, I’m referring to their creation and their essence. When waves first start out they’re a bunch of mixed up, jumbled up, chop soup. It is wind from a storm that literally transfers its energy into the sea. At that early stage of wave creation in the deep open ocean, you wouldn’t even wanna be there, let alone ride that @#$*!

But as time rolls on, so does the surf - moving out from the center, so to speak, like pebble ripples in a pond. The farther waves travel, the cleaner and more spread out they become - these we like to call ground swells vs. wind swells. You can see the difference yourself all the time right here at home. Go check Makapu’u on a 3-foot tradewind swell, and then head back to town for a look at a 3-foot south swell - huge difference. The former can be built within a few hundred miles, while the latter needs a few thousand miles. This is why Makapu’u surf is choppier and closer together (the other reason is the fact that trades blow directly onshore all along the Windward side and offshore along the Leeward). Winds are the waves’ creator - in all their unique splendor and stoke ...


We do have some events coming up on October. First off is the Hawaii Amateur Surfing Association’s (HASA) third contest at Diamond Head the weekend of the 15th. After that, it’s No Fear presenting the 22nd annual Xcel Pro at the famed Sunset Beach Oct. 27-Nov. 10. This event only takes about three to four days to run, so why the long two-week period? Many folks aren’t quite sure. Well, it’s to make sure the odds favor getting good big waves. They don’t roll in all the time. In fact, good big waves are relatively rare. Just like storms, they don’t occur constantly or in one area. The wind must blow just right for the magic to begin. Surfing is the only sport that really depends upon Mother Nature delivering her full potential so surfers can deliver theirs. This is one of surfing’s mixed blessings. Yet, surfers’ dependence on her leads to an intimate connection. I love this relationship.

Well, enough of talking about her ... it’s time for me to go get her. I hope I see you out there and back here next issue of Midweek-the Weekend! From the new surfnewsnetwork.com ... I’m GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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