Maui Surf

Kona Winds – the Good, the Bad, and the Bumpy

December 3, 2012, 5:28 PM HST
* Updated December 3, 5:30 PM
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By Carlos Rock

Glassy Mornings with Konas. Photo: Carlos Rock

Kona winds and north swells usually mean great things for surfers living on the island of Maui because the southerly direction blows offshore making glassy conditions and great waves.

And this combination prevailed throughout the weekend and the beginning of the week (Dec. 3). Most north facing spots lit up as expected with the conditions. However, for non-surfers, the Kona winds usually mean a few more unpleasant things, namely hot weather, a blanket of vog around the island causing respiratory problems for some people, and possibly a storm front.

Surfers welcome the heat and vog with open arms. What better way to cool off than catching a few glassy ones out in the ocean?

Although Kona winds are not ideal conditions for the upper northwest spots like Honolua Bay, and a couple others that need not mentioning, the wind was light enough to really not be a factor, allowing the conditions to be mostly glassy.

A trip to the upper west side of Maui is usually a gamble – a lot of gas and time for a few waves (for most), but scoring it with perfect conditions and minimal crowd is worth it all.

This type of knowledge just comes with time spent paying close attention to the swell readings, the winds, and the tides. It is rather remarkable that surfers make it a point to be in tune with the weather and ocean conditions at all times to score firing waves with only a few guys out.

Who knows, you might even be able to score a session with Clay (Marzo), and realize what a novice (kook) you really are.

Clay Marzo, Secret Spot. Photo:Carlos Rock.

The Kona winds are great for Maui’s north shore because of the direction that many spots face, but for Oahu’s north shore, the southerly winds make for bumpy conditions out in the water.

These are not ideal conditions for thethird and final day of the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach for the second event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

A new 8-12 ft+ WNW swell is on for competition, but the Kona winds blow sideshore making for really bumpy and challenging conditions.

The event is sure to wrap up today, Dec. 3, ending the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Some Maui surfers are still in the competition like Billy Kemper, who managed to bag a perfect ten in the challenging Sunset conditions and Lahaina’s own Dusty Payne.

Blanket of Vog from the Kona Winds over West Maui Mountains. Photo:Carlos Rock.

Catch the action and a “how to surf Sunset” tutorial by the pros themselves, at:

Or, get out in the water and enjoy the “offshore winds” because they won’t last long as the trades are expected to come back by Thursday-Dec. 6.

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