Travel Log

A Week On The North Shore

Julien Roubinet

The North Shore has been well documented for many decades, yet its intensity and majestic beauty should be experienced in person. It’s like the Grand Canyon; until you stand right in front of it and breath its immensity and vastness, it’s just a picturesque geologic anomaly.

The first thing that hits you when driving into Haleiwa is the ubiquitous support for John John’s world title campaign. Flyers stapled all over town, flags flying outside of restaurants and homes, even his face is graffitied on the concrete blocks around the skatepark. Brazilians coming en masse must be stoked by the scenic drive.

Makaha Julien Roubinet
Waikiki Julien Roubinet
Honolulu Julien Roubinet
Honolulu Julien Roubinet

It rained everyday a little — enough to avoid the beach and see something else. Pipeline didn’t shine exactly either. It’s a sight to see even when choppy and unpredictable though, the raw power and energy is very unique to the locale.

The 20 ft, Hawaiian or not, swell announced showed up mid-trip. A good reason to get excited! Might have been bigger, might have been smaller, who knows. Big enough to see a dozen of guys waxing their guns and timing their paddle out through the fickle shorebreak. Not big enough for a group of English college students to cheer their homie into the shorebreak with his $10 bodyboard from Foodland. Smart decision when it’s macking and the lifeguards haven’t arrived yet.

The east winds poorly shaping the waves, ruining the surf the whole week didn’t disappoint that morning. Waimea looked big, but nothing worth of a picture from the shore. And the light was just bad, washed out, shapeless.

The morning topaz blue waters turning emerald as the light goes down, the modest real estate development starkly contrast with the North Shore. The Farrington Highway follows the West Side of the island and it feels like the Caribbean. You can see glimpse of the surf in between sand dunes, homeless camps and porta potties. The swell is big enough to light every corners along the road. It’s hard to choose where to stop. Mahaka it is. Good call. It’s relentlessly producing 20ft faces waves breaking flawlessly across the horizon. It looks like an enticing point break.

When you spot a few guys standing on a dune, when nothing indicates they should, it’s a suspicious sign. The slab they were looking at is mesmerizing. Zeke Lau is in the water alone, getting tubes after tubes, 50 yards from a dry bed of sharp lava. Later on he’s joined by a few local boys and Mason Ho. The crowd thickens as the show goes on. It was just as exciting as the North Shore.

Makaha Julien Roubinet

Julien Roubinet

Born and raised in France, Julien is a self-taught photographer who recently moved to Los Angeles after 6 years in New York. He is fascinated by and documents the subcultures that have originated here and the individuals that create around them. He is really happy to surf quality waves every day, without a hood, gloves and boots and the ice-cream headaches that come with it. He doesn’t miss the A train.

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