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Log Cabins day * Outer Reef

water level shot of beach at Log Cabins * photo Austin Moore

Just down the beach from Pipeline/Off the Wall, and a bit past Rockpiles, you could once upon a time find the lone 60s beach landmark along this famed stretch of the North Shore, and ‘twas right in front of the break with the same said name, and which like most every other break along this beach all the way up to Rocky Rights, came to a picturesque and most surreal life on a straight north or northwest swell.

Log Cabins wave * photo Austin Moore

For myself it was the first wave within walking distance from where we lived by the fire station on Puula Road. The log cabin is no longer there, but there are still empty offshore mornings for the surfer willing to be in bed by 8:30 and up before the masses/North Shore flotilla arrive from their about last night.

Log Cabins on steroids * photo Evan Fa

The reef is fairly shallow here, even by North Shore standards, and recall my neighbor’s concern when I was bodysurfing alone at double overhead near closeout waves, after watching from the beach and wanting to get wet. There was also a time when I duck dived a lefthander and when my board failed to come up with me after the requisite pummel, and as the board was literally stuck to the reef, and of which I had to physically pry it off the lava and coral, and of course all the while I took another coupla few on the head.

Nowadays the wave is best known for what happens a bit further out to sea, as Outer Log Cabins was host to one of the biggest waves/swells ever ridden, by local tow in surfer Ken Bradshaw (and others).

My tenure came to a close by of all things riding my bike, barefoot and for the intersection of a pokey man palm frond needle. At the local clinic and without monies for antibiotics, I was declined service and while the outside of the puncture wound healed up, and only to leave me with a less than mild case of cellulitis. Fast forward to the Kailua hospital, courtesy of a lift from my surprisingly generous roomie, I soon had the local doc serve me with the news that he was going to have to amputate my foot, and as the initial stitches had failed to hold. Luckily it was nothing that a second opinion, (souvenir skin graft) and plane ride back to the Mainland couldn’t cure.

Jay Davies at Log Cabins on

outer reef * four of rocks

Remi Bertoche painting

original painting by Remi Bertoche

“Men who ride mountains” have a deep connection with the sea. Out to sea and out beyond the fold, it’s a whole different game. You are “outward bound” and alone, and all one. Sitting eye to eye with the wide open ocean, you await your big wave beauty as the beast. It’s your personal “alone time,” upon the “silence and solitariness” of the watery expanse. It’s a secret love affair, your own “private indigo,” and your escape from the mundane. All the elements come together in “majestic solitude” as you are “out there,” alone and lost, in the silent reverie of the sea. Still, you stake your claim alongside the said, “watering shoal for underground maverick characters,” not unlike yourself, in hopes of falling in with one of the “near death wish” waves enroute. Not much for waiting, “moving mandalas” soon cannonball across the outer reef with a “deafening roar,” exploding all around us, literally blowing up “the proving grounds.” Now, after the gauntlet has been thrown down, it’s a race to the drawbridge. It’s “high risk and high return,” and things don’t always go as planned. Things can get a “little loco” as there is no second guessing when you are “running with the bulls.” Pushing your limits and exhausting all your resources, her “surging summit” demands the finest equipment and is the ultimate test. Surfing is the “sport of kings,” but with her deep water, third reef waves, you had best leave your crown at the door.

Pure Blue by Remi Bertoche

Pure Blue by Remi Bertoche

Ignorance is not bliss. You can’t “guesstimate” from the beach nor the rocks. Know thine reef. Her disguises are “in effect,” and often little is known of her. Confusing and disruptive, she plays rough and will expose any weakness. Any lack of preparation will be painfully evident. It’s a battle of wits, with doubt and uncertainty her game of choice. Boulders await below, and you can’t postpone the outcome. With wind and speed bumps at work above, separation from board is likely. You’re a “one time tourist” and not a “real” big wave surfer. It’s just not your cup of tea, and not how you thought it would be. You did your best to stay afloat and under control, and keep things manageable and in order. You were guilty of excess ambition and estranged from reality. Not up to the task, the roof caved in, and the bottom fell out from under you. You underestimated the severity of your deep water wipeout. You suffered a loss of sleep in anticipation of being held under. In the eerie silence you had a restless sleep. With the growing din through the night you knew she would serve up more than you could chew on. Blocked by your fears of squandering waves or opportunity, your materialistic side won out. Judgment day came and went as your fall from grace befell you. Avarice at its best, you were greed with envy.

Let go of your illusion. “Shut hole” or stay on the rocks. There is a right time and place for everything. Be careful. Catch a wave and go in. You must work from a solid foundation. Have a good board and good equipment. Be on the money. Surf Money Trees. Perseverance, hard work and training pays off. That is the difference between dare devils and accomplished big wave riders. It’s difficult to keep your balance while on high. Big waves teach us about commitment. It’s not for the sheepish. Get “farther out” and “closer to god.” Gain in standing. Surprise yourself and “face the beast.” Happiness is not “dependent upon overcoming the outer limits and inner tension of big wave surfing.” Making the wave is about keeping your commitment. It’s for “surf goats” only. Align with the Divine and your inner divinity. Get into “R & B.” Find your “inner rhythm,” and balance about, accordingly. Hold that above all else. It’s not the water, it’s the “wave” that “runs through it.” Be one with the wave, of life.

Remi Bertoche painting

original painting by Remi Bertoche

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