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After a Slow Autumn, Winter Hits Hawaii

“Winter is coming.”

That’s what Jon Snow likes to tell people on the show Game of Thrones. But here in Hawaii, we follow a different calendar. For us, winter arrived a week ago.

After a slow start to the North Shore season, things went apocalyptic last week, as a huge, long-period WNW swell poured into the islands. The outer reefs on Oahu went ballistic, the women’s WT season ended at Honolua Bay (congrats to Carissa Moore for winning the event, and Steph Gilmore for winning her record-tying seventh world title), and of course the Peahi Challenge was run. Actually, the big wave contest at Jaws only ran for a couple of hours before it was stopped due to the waves being too big! Then it started up again the next day, when Billy Kemper won for the third time in four years!

In between the heats is when the really crazy stuff went down. Grant “Twiggy” Baker paddled into one of the craziest barrels ever seen at Peahi right before the event was shut down, and then Kai Lenny went out and put on a tow clinic that the entire surf world is still trying to process.

But perhaps the craziest thing is that we are just getting started. Yet another potentially XXL swell is scheduled to hit Hawaii later this week, and with the waiting period for the Eddie Aikau event at Waimea Bay opening on December 1, we could see the most prestigious big wave contest run before winter even officially begins on December 21. But then again, surfers have never been too worried about calendars and solstices. For us, the seasons start when the waves come—and here in Hawaii, that happened the last week of November. Winter is here!