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Sunday, December 30, 2012
Bad moon rising

By Jake Howard

A full moon morning at Pipeline provides a perfect warmup for Kohl Christensen as a large swell bears down on Hawaii and the West Coast.

The scramble is on as the North Pacific prepares to unload in Hawaii and California. Going into the New Years weekend whispers of the Red Bull Jaws event, the Eddie and the Maverick's contest were swirling around our digital airwaves, but it was all for now. Almost simultaneously press releases were issued from Hawaii that neither Jaws or the Eddie would be running.

"We have been monitoring this developing swell very closely but the real issue is the timing," said Red Bull Jaws contest director Mike Parsons. "There will be some very large waves late Sunday/early Monday, but we do not have 90 percent confidence that either day will offer up the required seven hours of optimal 30-50 foot wave face heights that we are looking for to make this a great event."

"What we see is an inconsistent 20-foot swell with peak energy during Sunday night, and dropping after that," said Eddie contest director George Downing. "We do not foresee the eight daylight hours of consistent 20- to 25-foot deep water swell that is the minimum requirement for this event to run."

The same sediment was expressed in Northern California, where some were hoping to get the Maverick's Invitational underway, but they're currently in a black-out period, which ends Jan. 2, 2013.

This leaves surfers in Hawaii and California free to ramble, roam and get into whatever kind of aquatic trouble they can. As noted, the bulk of Hawaii's swell is expected to arrive later today and throughout the night, making the early morning hours of New Years Eve the biggest. Already Pipeline's had some memorably moments, but Waimea Bay and the outer reefs are beckoning to those looking for a challenge.

In California Maverick's water safety maestro Frank Quirarte, who helped save Greg Long's life during a wipeout gone wrong at Cortes Bank last week, is reporting that "Tuesday could be the biggest and cleanest."

And while there's sure to be no shortage of drama over the next 48 hours, those with a competitive mind shouldn't be disheartened. The Pacific appears to be stacking up.

"The winter is just getting started and by all accounts, it looks like January is going to be a great month for waves," notes Parsons.

Stay tuned for complete coverage as it unfolds.