Badfish Hole Shot in Oahu
Badfish Ambassador and founder of Plastic Tides Christian Shaw checked in with this trip report from his trip to Hawaii this past winter with the new inflatable Hole Shot. People have really been digging this super versatile inflatable here’s the fun Christian had on his trip to Hawaii.
It’s midday and the sun is shining bright upon the crystalline waters of Oahu’s north shore. From far out in the channel at Sunset Beach I can see the countless breaks that give this shoreline it’s nickname, the seven-mile miracle, spread out in either direction. This moment is almost surreal; a combination of fear, excitement, wonder, anticipation, and yes more fear is washing over me as I watch 6ft sets peeling down the point. I’m standing atop my 11’ Hole Shot inflatable, that’s right; I just paddled out at Sunset on an inflatable! I’m probably 50m wide of the pack of surfers furthest down the point, taking care not to get in anyone’s way as I feel it out. Sunset can be known for a heavy local crowd, and SUP isn’t exactly well accepted by traditional surfers so respecting everyone’s space is paramount. Plus I’m not keen to get caught inside by one of the big, wide cleanup sets rolling through every twenty minutes or so.
After half an hour I’m creeping closer to the lineup, ready to get a piece of the action and I see it. A mound of water in the distance heading my way from the northwest, as it approaches I can see another two behind it. Uh oh, I’m on the inside! Luckily, graced by the speed of the 11’ touring shape I start paddling hard towards the shoulder and out to sea. I make it over the first wave, then the second, as the third wall of water approaches I paddle out to meet it with all my might. Just as the peak begins feathering in the offshore winds I whip a pivot turn and dig in, stroking like my life depended on it as the wave surges under me, jacking up to it’s full height, easily 8ft Hawaiian. Picking up speed as I make the drop I feel small. Pulling in about halfway down the face and running out the nose to draw a high and fast line I race for the shoulder. Flying out into the channel I’m elated as I throw my hands into the air and whoop with victory. I did it, I’d caught a bomb at Sunset, my very first wave at this most iconic of North Shore breaks. Hair still dry I paddled in with a feeling of gratitude washing over me. This is what it’s all about.
I spent a week on Oahu dirt-bagging out of a rental van, but fully set-up with my surfboard, kite, and SUP. I was lucky enough to use all three. Kiting at Kailua, and short boarding a few of the famous spots such as Haleiwa. I lucked into a big swell though, and my puny 5’11” short board barely sufficed for scrambling into the thick and powerful North Shore waves. Surprisingly, I found myself favoring the Hole Shot and ended surfing it for most of my sessions. From Makaha, to Sunset, to Turtle Bay, it was a valued travelling companion and actually garnered more questions and compliments than the stink eyes and criticism I had expected for such a peculiar sight in this world-class surfing destination. I dare say, I might very well be the first person to ever surf an inflatable at Sunset! -Christian Shaw