North Shore Underground: Opening Day, Starring Sion Milosky

North Shore Underground

Since the islands’ surf community pond-hopped to Hanalei for Sunday’s A.I. memorial, it was really Monday, November 15th that served as this season’s unofficial Opening Day. The Triple Crown kicked off at Haleiwa and bombs rolled through Country-wide, particularly at Pipeline, where by most accounts North Shore Underground surfer Sion Milosky stole the show. Here, Sion talks us through a banner day at Pipe.

Whatcha come for. Photo: DJ Struntz

Sion Milosky:

I flew in Sunday night from Kauai and got in super late, got home around 12:30. I woke up early in the morning to get my kids ready for school and checked Surfline, but it didn't really look that big on the cam, so I thought, "Aw, I have time. I'll take my kids to school."

But then I remembered that my 6'8" needed wax, so I told the kids, "Ok, go ahead and make some breakfast, and I'm going to ride my bike to the gas station to get wax." Then at the gas station I saw [Takayuki] Wakita and was like, "Wakita, how's the waves?" He said, "It's Second Reef-ing. It's going off."

This bike path is the Country surf scene's interstate system. Sion, mid-commute. Photo: Ryan Foley

I kind of freaked out, grabbed the wax and went back to wake my wife up. I said, "You know, I gotta go, you need to take the kids to school." Then I hopped on my bike with my 7'2" and pulled up to the Volcom house. First thing when I got there, I walked up and saw a perfect 10-foot A-frame teepee. I put down my stuff and ran to the Oakley house to grab more boards, got my 7'4" and my 7'6", and ran back to meet with the GoPro guys to get my cameras all situated. I got in the water around 8:30.

Right off the bat, a big set came through and I remember taking off and pulling in, doing these three or four huge pumps, and thought I was making it but I got vaporized. After that I got a few more waves with insane barrels, really nice visions, but I just wasn't making it out. I was kind of starting to trip out on myself. Finally I got a good one, made it out, and was kind of relieved. After that I felt like I got in a groove.

The waiting list for a wave like this is years long. But Sion? His waiting is done. Photo: Jeff Flindt

It was a little cloudy, a little rainy, but the sun came out around noon. Eventually I came in and switched out GoPro's, went back out and caught one more pretty big one. It came in and I saw [Mike] Stewart and Kalani [Chapman] -- and usually when a huge Second Reef wave comes in, Stewart can catch it 'cause he's super fast, double-paddling with fins and arms -- and Kalani was on his 9'0", and they both missed it. At the last minute I turned around and whipped it. I remember paddling in, and I went to stand up and it was so windy, it was holding me at the top, but it let me in and...

[See SURFING's 2011 Hawaii Issue for what came next. Photographer Nate Lawrence's images of Sion from that wave are too good to go anywhere but the magazine. We’re sorry.]

All in all, I surfed around six hours total, catching a lot of waves. I was actually kind of stoked it wasn't cooking again today -- my body sort of needs a break. But I always say, you don't get barreled standing on the beach.