Kobi Clements On: The Best Barrel Of My Life In Hawaii
COASTALWATCH | Travel
My Dad and I got on the Qantas flight QF3 across the Pacific Ocean for our fourth trip to Hawaii together. I first went to the Hawaiian islands of aloha when I was just one year old with my parents. This time I was invited by Volcom to get some Hawaiian wave experience and develop my surf skills. I was on my way to stay at the famous Volcom Pipe House and I couldn’t wait to get there.
It was night time when we flew, which was awesome because I slept the whole way. We landed in Hawaii collected our boards and luggage and headed to the North shore of Oahu, totally pumped.
We arrived at the Volcom house at Pipeline and met up with Tai Vandyke and Kai Mana who manage the Volcom house.
As soon as we set our things down we checked the surf out the front from the Volcom house top balcony. The waves were getting big and Pipe wasn’t so good so we piled up our boards and headed out at Sunset, just down the road.
I was pretty stoked to ride my new board, I had some great and not so great moments on that first day, getting used to it and the powerful Hawaiian surf. I copped some sets on the head that were pretty crazy.
Dad sat out the back with me and was teaching me how pick the right waves and where to sit. After about an hour I finally got a good one and it was such a great experience.
After a pretty awesome first surf we headed straight to the Foodland store to get dinner. (A must-do when in Hawaii) I had sushi and the crab was amazing!
On the second day we got straight up to check the surf, it was so big that it was washing out Pipeline. We’re in the tail end of the huge El Nino winter swells that the islands have experienced over the last three months.
Over breakfast with Kai Mana, the Volcom house manager, we decided to head over to the west side of the island for a surf. It was about an hour trip and the drive was amazing. These huge, beautiful cliffs surrounded us on the drive in to a secret barreling reef break. It was shallow, sucky and challenging but a really fun wave.
We checked a few spots and none of them were that good. Then, Tai showed us this secret little barrel where we had to jump off the reef to get out there. It was shallow and sucky and a really fun wave. For lunch, Tai took us to a crazy burger place. It was really funny ordering my burger because the only choices you get in the 50th American state are big, bigger or BIGGEST.
(Video above: footage by Steph Beret, music by Cosmonaut Gillian & edit by Steve Clements)
After a few epic days on Oahu we took a flight to Maui with Tai to show us around. The mountains in Maui are just incredible, bigger than the ones in Oahu and so lush. We drove through them on our way to Honolua Bay. When we arrived, the waves were firing. We met up with the Maui Volcom groms; the Roberson brothers baby Steve, Justin, Eric and Jackson. We surfed until dark out at Holonlua, surfing till sunset is awesome in Maui.
This Honolua wave has three sections: Coconuts, the Point and the Cave. Coconut was rippable and the part of the wave called Cave was where I got the best barrels on Maui. We missed our flight that day because the waves were so good.
After a week of dawn till dusk surfing my eyes were really sunburnt. I put in eyedrops but they didn’t really work so Kai Mana opened a coconut and gave me the coconut water to heal my eyes. It actually worked really well but I still had to rest all day out of the sun.
We arrived back on the North Shore to Pipeline firing. I took out my gun, it’s 5’3, but it didn’t stop me getting smashed. I got a great right hander but got hammered on the rocks right after.
I got up and Pipeline was really good. You have to run right up the beach to go around this big rock because the current is so strong. I took out my 5’3 out and got smashed. I caught a really good right hander but got hammered on the inside rocks. I hit it pretty hard but no scratches.
Over the next few days we jumped between Makaha, Sandbar, Ala Moana and Pipeline. There was one session at Pipeline when I scored sick little barrels on my 5’3.
On our way to Ala Moana one day we dropped into Dad’s friend Ben Wilkinson’s place. Ben got an alternate start at the Eddie Aikau event last month. He’s a big wave surfer from Sydney, but he’s now living with his family on Oahu. When he’s not charging monster waves, Ben makes unique furniture from giant logs. When we arrived he was cutting pieces out from the biggest log.
We spent a couple of days surfing with Dad’s friend Paumalu, he took us to some secret spots with nobody else out. We got some really fun waves and learnt a lot about traditional Hawaiian culture. At Haleiwa one afternoon I saw Paumalu picking things up on the beach. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was looking for sunrise shells. He explained they were really rare and can only be found in Hawaii. We found ten! Paula took us to Makaha the next day where we were treated to a heap of perfect little barrels and got to surf among turtles. There were about seven of them and it was surreal being able to be so close to the ancient and treasured animals.
Over the next few days the wave size really picked up and we got another opportunity to surf Laniakea with sets nearly quadruple overhead. I caught five waves in two hours and got pretty hammered but it was all worth it and such a valuable experience. We had a jetski out with us looking after us keeping us all in check. It was a pretty good day that ended with a second surf at Sandbar and a stand-up barrel for me.
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Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly have a better day, we paddled out at Sunset. The waves were big and fierce but the offshore made them rideable. I borrowed a 6’8 to make sure I could get the best waves. That day it was two weeks since we arrived in Hawaii and I got the biggest barrel of my life. It was the best feeling ever and I’ll never forget the water cascading from above, over the top of me, looking out to the channel.
Our final days in Hawaii we spent with the Volcom groms who arrived from the mainland and Maui. It was an epic couple of days hanging out and being part of Volcom’s next generation team. I can’t believe I’ve had such great waves and opportunities over the last two weeks.
The three most memorable experiences from the trip were; surfing at Pipeline, because nothing beats getting a barrel there. Staying at the Volcom house was like nothing else. Waking up right in front of Pipeline a priceless and Volcom is like a big family. Finally, eating the food cooked by Tai on the barbecue on one of the world’s most famous line-ups and hanging with my Hawaii mates.
Watch Kobi's 360fly Virtual Reality tour around the Volcom Pipe house below.
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