We’re a few weeks into the North Shore season, and the air is thick with tension. Culture clashes, unavoidable in a conquered kingdom that relives its anguish every 12 months, have once again turned our idyllic piece of paradise into a resentful whore.
And, while there is some umbrage, even an outsider can fit in. It doesn’t matter if you’re some dude from the mainland, quickly learning that your retro fish ain’t gonna work at overhead Rockies or a spoiled Brazillionaire who hasn’t figured out that his social status back home doesn’t mean shit out here. A couple local tips can mean all the difference when some menacing Polynesian is paddling over the top of you.
1. Speak pidgin. Before you come over, pick up a book on pidgin and learn a few phrases. All the locals speak English, but, as in most countries, attempting to use the local dialect opens all sorts of doors. Work on the accent too, as you don’t want to sound like an idiot.
2. Don’t be afraid to call people off waves. You’ve only got a week or two until your flight home, and you’ve gotta make the most of it. Paddle hard, jockey for position, and if you want a wave, be sure to speak up. Find a spot in the lineup and stake your claim, and if you’ve having a hard time getting a wave, just paddle around the pack. A straightforward declaration of intent will earn you respect, as well as those North Shore accolades we all dream of.
3. Drive fast. A good swell won’t last forever, and when it turns on, you need to hit the water post haste. Hop in your rental and floor it, and if some brown dude in a beater is lollygagging down the road in front of you, don’t be afraid to lay on the horn. He’ll happily pull over for you, and you’ll be ripping it up in no time at all.
4. Leave your bottles at the beach. A lackluster economy and high cost of living mean that more people than ever before are making ends meet by recycling the detritus of visitors. Rather than tossing your rubbish and keeping the beach clean, leave those empties sitting in the sand. You’ll help support local families, and save yourself the effort of walking 50 yards to a trash can.
5. Make lots of eye contact. When you’re out having a few drinks after a long day ripping, be sure and make friends. The easiest way is to make eye contact with a group of young men. Be sure to stare until they notice you, then firmly ask, “What’s up?” Don’t smile, as that can be interpreted as a come on. They’ll undoubtedly respond kindly to your openness and self confidence, and will most surely invite you to their next family luau.
6. Smoke weed everyday. The North Shore has some of the best pakalolo in the world. The only problem is finding it. Luckily, for those in the know, there’s an awesome little centralized drug market were you can score whatever you want, fairly priced and at no risk to yourself. Just head on down to the Haleiwa Harbor after sundown. Knock on car windows until you find someone who’s open for business. For a true Hawaiian experience, ask if they’re holding any batu.
I hope this helps make your trip one full of cherished memories. And always remember, aloha also means goodbye.