Saturday, January 08, 2011

King of the Day

We have been chasing wind for weeks and handfuls of us have scored some flights in areas that have seldom been graced by our wings. But today was special: one of these pilots scored a flight that may not be repeated for quite some time. I hope Alex and Duck can post more pictures to this story.

Ten of us met at the base of the Kahuku Motocross Road. It was not looking promising but we decided to go up and take a look anyway. This site only works when the wind is NW and can only be accessed on weekends when the gate is open to the public. I guess you can compare it to the possibility of Alex not flying Kahana for a year. What are the odds?

Jorge, in an act of chivalry, declined to come up and opted to have lunch with his much better looking counterpart. So, nine pilots and one of our favorite wingmen, Ginger, headed up to a spot on the North Shore that has been dormant for over six years. This spot could be compared to the viewing of an eclipse or the crowning of a king. You have to be in the right spot at the right time and pray for the best conditions.

We trudged through the mud and dodged motocross bikes until we found the launch. It was overgrown and our native sticker plants had popped up. We tromped around and a suitable launch appeared.

It was light, but JK wasted no time. We laid him out and off he went, landing shortly thereafter. McStalker followed, as did Harvey, then Berndt, with everyone suffering the same fate, landing in the field just below. Harvey actually pulled off a perfect forward launch.

Five left on the hill. Duck had not brought up his wing - he and Ginger planned to drive down two of the vehicles, with mine remaining. So four left to fly, and a squall was approaching. Gavin decided to give it a whirl and took off just as drops started falling, and he got the highest lift of the fateful five but landed damp.

Alex had put on his new flying shoes but wasn't feeling it, Frank was shaking his head, and I pretty much had thrown in the towel after the first four went to pasture. We called it, as Gavin landed safely in the tall grass below.

On the walk back to the trucks we scouted out a few other spots that may have potential for future expeditions. This area could be sweet if we could get some weekday access. We drove down to street side to catch up to the five fliers and were greeted by Reaper and Forest bearing cold refreshments.

While we were gathered, commiserating over the short flights, the mud on our shoes and the depleted supply of cold ones, the sun peeked out and the wind started to turn on. Alex stated that the sensors were looking good and that it was 'probably' flyable now. Duck said "I will drive you back up before the gate closes". Harvey headed back to his car to get his gear, but no one else moved, not even Alex.

So only Harvey went up for another chance - he's a die-hard. Just to catch everyone up on his last few flights that I know about: today he had sledded down after a perfect forward launch. The day before he had a sledder to the beach at MPU. The day before that he had 2 sledders from the climbing wall launch at the Dill. The sledder today was to be the last in this streak.

I made a run to replenish our supplies, and on my way back, I looked up. There he was! Harvey was soaring. When I arrived at base camp only Reaper and Forest were left, and Duck and Ginger were on their way down to beat the gate closure.

Reaper, Forest and I just stared up with a mixture of envy and glee. "Well, at least someone got to score this rare flight". We were kicking ourselves for not joining him, but we all agreed that Alex must be feeling it too. Especially after we called him to rub it in. This was his exploration, and it was his idea to go back up, but he had family constraints.

Duck and Ginger now had joined us on the roadside. Harvey was attracting quite a crowd of onlookers, and as he flew over us, we finally heard from him, "Wah Hoooooo!". He soared toward Sunset Beach, then back to launch where he benched up and threw out a big old SAT.

As dusk approached, he made it down to the field across the street. One of his fans jumped on a dirt bike to go meet him. Duck, Ginger and I got there as he was folding up. Harvey was beaming and as only he can say "Dudes, that was awesome". We had to agree.

He thanked Duck and Ginger for the ride up, he thanked me for the frosty and he thanked Alex for getting the ball rolling for the second trip. It was kinda like an Oscar acceptance speech. Duck, Ginger and I proclaimed in unison, "Dude, You are King of the Day".

While I was driving home, I thought, we do have our King, and that would be Alex. We have our Earls of Kahana, One-Eye and McStalker. Now maybe we have a Knight: Sir Harvey of the North.


Duck said...

Great write-up! I can totally see Harvy as a Knight! Perfect ending.

Thanks for calling everyone to-arms.

Sweet flight dude, sweet flight!

Louise said...

Awesome story! Wish I could have been there with you guys.

Alex said...

Thanks for the story, Thom! It was a fun day and while I'm sorry I had to leave just as it got good, I'm stoked that Harvey scored a great North Shore flight. Harvey and Duck ran back out there today to try and make it happen again, but it was too strong and cross, and they ended up in the pasture below. We'll keep trying out there, and maybe scout some new launches too. Today we scouted launches on the Haleiwa side of Waimea Bay, hoping for a west facing option. There's a great trail leading up there but the undergrowth and foliage up there is too thick once you get on top. We blazed a lot of new trails through the California Grass on top of the ridge. That is some itchy stuff!