Monday, March 1, 2010

Eddie, Pipeline and Flying: an introduction to Hawaii!

Ok I'm still in bed with the flu and figure I may as well put my time to good use. I've weaned myself away from the tv to devote a bit more love to my blog, which has been lacking a little lately. I remember when I first decided to travel, Hawaii was the place I wanted to go. My mum thought it was too far away for her liking though, and told me if I bought a ticket to New Zealand instead she would financially support me. So I caved, bought the ticket to NZ, then mum told me with a devilish grin that she had zero recollection of promising financial aid. So I paid my own way. But looking back over my past few years on the road, I wouldn't change a thing. It's nice to finally, two and a half years and around 10 countries later, land in the warm blue waters of Hawaii.

I really didn't know what to expect about Kauai. Dad always told me Hawaii was like LA on a small island and there was no way I would enjoy myself there, but I was sure there was more to it than that. And there really is. Kauai is a beautiful island. The mountains are amazing, the surf and beaches are great, and the Aloha spirit the people have shown me has been overwhelming. This island attracts such a diverse mix of people, ranging from the rich land owners to the feral hippies living out in the mountains on the Kalalau Trail. There are amazing musicians everywhere, and my creative side is definitely flourishing and growing here. I even feel safe enough to hitchhike almost everyday, as I don't own a car (only a beach cruiser bike). I was lucky enough in my first month here to be taken out hang gliding by a good friend of mine, Gerry, who owns the company Birds In Paradise For anyone looking for a fun way to see the island, this is the ultimate! In return for a few hours of babysitting a terrible 2yr old for a client, Gerry took me on a flight to test out one of his new planes. We got up to 11,000 feet where he then turned off the engine, and we glided all around the island and then landed. It's an amazing feeling floating around up there, flying in the wind and enjoying the view.

I had been in Kauai for a little while when I woke up one morning bored. I had an unexplainable itch to go to Oahu. So I hopped online and booked a ticket for that afternoon! I left my boards behind, got a ride to the airport, and around an hour later landed in the Honolulu airport. I phoned a friend who said I could stay on her floor for the week, and set about finding the bus to the North Shore. I went up to some baggage handlers and inquired politely.
"Where does the bus to the North Shore leave from?".
They laughed at me. One guy replies,
"Sweetheart, there is no 1 bus to the North Shore, it's going to take you about 4 buses!".
Great I thought, but hey, if I can navigate the whole of Samoa and the Dominican Republic on the public bus system, then hawaii should be a breeze. About 5 hours later I made it, right before dark. I'll always remember when the bus drove past Waimea Bay. The bay was firing, there were people and photographers everywhere. I could see the huge wedging rights rolling through, with all surfers dropping in on their big gun boards. I think I had the worlds biggest grin on my face, I felt like I had finally made it. The holy grail of surfing. I was in the North Shore.

As lady luck would have it, the next morning the Eddie contest ran at Waimea bay. It was my first day in Oahu and the Eddie was running. People couldn't believe it. Some told me they had been waiting four years for the contest to run. It was so much fun. I managed to sneak my way into a private house right on the point, with a front row view that was to die for! The atmosphere was electric, the surf was huge, the day was beautiful, and I was on cloud nine! That evening a few friends and I went to celebrate the finish of the contest at a party at the Billabong house. It really is a very interesting pro surfing world over there, full of egos and girls chasing pros. My lucky streak continued, and a few days later the Pipe Master ran too. I was sitting with some friends watching some heats at Pipeline when I got talking to a photographing sitting next to me. As it would turn out he was a photographer for Women's Surf Style Magazine, and we had a great time talking travel stories. I spent the next couple of days doing surf shoots at Pupakeas, but you might have to wait until the magazine comes out to see the best ones :) To see more of Dave's photography visit I had a wonderful couple of weeks over in Oahu experiencing the buzzing surf scene, but it was nice to come back to beautiful Kauai.

I've been over here for around 3 and a half months now. I have two jobs, a nice place to live and a few surfboards. I have a trip planned for most of April to Japan to visit my mum and sister which is very exciting. I am also probably going to head over to Oahu maybe at the end of this month for another photo shoot and to work on some stories. The question on my mind is as always, to stay or to go? I still feel like Kauai has a lot more to offer me, and I have more to see, but the permanently itchy feet of a traveller are in constant need of scratching! Tell me what you think!

Aloha and sunshine,
Tia xox