Along Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head can be seen from almost any sandy spot your feet happen to be buried in. Gazing at its iconic shape, I sometimes think about those British sailors who gave Leahi its English name. I bet they were bummed that those ‘diamonds’ turned out to be thousands of iridescent calcite crystals. But their disappointment was just a lapse in perception - it is full of diamonds. All of Hawai’i is, as long as you know where to look. How do I know? Because I’ve never seen as many diamonds as when I stand at the water’s edge and look out at the Pacific, the glinting shimmer of the sun reaching towards the horizon.
On the way to the beach on this idyllic day, my mind is overflowing with visions of salt and sea. I grab my wave tote and towel, and can feel the bubble up of joy, starting in my toes and filling me with anticipation. As I stroll through the surfboard alley and near the sand, I can hear the relaxed hum of laughter and music, punctuated by those shrieks of glee that always seem to be a part of the beachside soundtrack. But as I lay down my towel, then stand, stretch, and feel the caress of salt air in my hair, a more enticing sound fills my ears. The waves are calling...
And so too is my cousin, Mihana! We grab our boards and take a running start. No hesitation, just a deep breath and full duck-dive as we make our way out to where the swells start to break, bringing in all that fluid energy from the ocean depths. It’s a long paddle, but Pop’s is worth it. Two to four feet, an easy, rolling break, mostly just green sea turtles vying for a spot in the line up. The waves keep on coming and I’ve lost track of time, but am quickly reminded that it’s already midday by a series of angry texts from my empty stomach. I hear a “hooo-ey” and see Mihana doing a frenetic mime of eating. She must have received the same text. We head in, load up our gear in the wagon, and rummage through our totes for the manapua and musubi we had packed.
Turning on the radio, we hear that a clean north swell is kicking up, so we make our way out of Waikiki. The traffic is fairly light so, in a little under an hour, we make our way past Haleiwa and pull in at Pipeline to check out the surf. The waves are breaking left, but every now and then, a sweet right comes along. The surfers are charging down the faces of giant, liquid mountains, pulling into caverns of blue and green. The part I like best? That blast of spray that spits out of the top of the curl just as the wave rider appears from the frothy depths of the barrel. There’s that moment of raw exuberance, and then the glassy slide into the calmness of the channel.
It’s mesmerizing, and seems like it could go on forever, but slowly, the soft blue sky begins to take on a tinge of peach, then a golden, fiery orange. One by one, the surfers take their last ride into shore, and we gather up a few pieces of driftwood into a small bonfire. The fire in the sky melts into a deep, velvet black. Looking up, there are even more of those diamonds I was thinking about earlier. They are scattered across the sky, glimmering in the profound beauty of the present moment. And if you look carefully, you can see their light sparkling endlessly in the sea below.