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Mokulele Island Hop / Honolua

Story and photos by gOnzo

Back in the early 70s, Honolua was considered one of the most sought-after waves on the planet and more than a few surfers moved to Maui just to experience its perfection on a regular basis. Nowadays, the lineup spans the generations with old and new rippers all there to experience that feeling that attracted so many to its shores decades ago.

For the majority of the year the picture-perfect bay sits in idle tranquility, for Honolua to come alive, it requires a major North Pacific winter swell to funnel in through the small channel between the northwest point of Maui and Moloka’i. Once ignited, the freight-train righthander wraps through the series of points and slingshots into a final mutant tube crescendo in The Cove. When all the elements align and The Bay is working its magic, it is one of the most iconic sights in surfing. Honolua is the perfect reef point break to which all other reef point breaks are measured against. The majesty of this wave perfect wave has endured through the many decades of modern-day surfing and is just as relevant and sought after today as it ever was.

When the WSL Jaws Big Wave Championship swell flared up in the forecast, the Freesurf team jumped into Honolua mode. With the media circus headed to Pe‘ahi for the contest, it was agreed that going rogue (and against the traffic) might just be the thing to do to get the shot no one else would have. The team had no sooner hopped off the flight when that legendary gift-from-the-gods swell started showing signs of life. By the next morning, Honolua Bay was in full force and the waves were solid.

Local young warriors, and their endemic knowledge of the wave, showed up with the sun. A stellar crew including: Ocean Macedo, Cody and Levi Young, Cole Alves, and Savannah Stone each caught amazing rides throughout the session. Fresh from O‘ahu was Josh Moniz, who flew over just in time to catch three insane rides that lit up The Bay like fireworks. His Hawaiian style and smile were contagious. Maui local Tanner Hendrickson also got a few remarkable rides—despite the chaos of the crowd, navigating his way through some of the days deepest tubes. The mix of new talent and seasoned wave-warriors made for an action-packed day allowing the Freesurf team to capture a bounty of memorable moments.

And luckily, that was all that was nabbed! That very same afternoon a juvenile 8-foot tiger shark was spotted in The Bay. The apex predator was seen charging a terrified honu for a lengthy ten minutes just a few feet away from the rocky shore deep in The Cove. Although it is all-too-common sight for the locals, it made it an easy decision for your’s truly to stay on dry land for the remainder of the afternoon, and thus was born this issue’s cover featuring Tanner Hendrickson on a Honolua bomb from the safety of the shore.

Freesurf Magazine would like to thank Mokulele Airlines for making our island-hop easy. Mokulele is, without a doubt, the best way to quickly and easily travel between the Hawaiian Islands. All we had to do was sit back and enjoy the epic view.