Much hype has surrounded the recent awakening of the North Pacific. Colorful blobs dancing around Japan and the Aleutians coupled with New Year’s optimism (I’m gonna exercise daily, tell my mom I love her and paddle-in to Jaws) lead to packed lineups from Waimea to Maui to the Mainland and yielded mixed results. Some felt skunked when the predicted perfection was anything but, while others, like Albee Layer, rode historical and giant waves. He was in the right spot — Jaws — among 40 other men, but Albee used his local knowledge to best the pack and pack an inside runner and come out dry on the other end. Oh, local knowledge…you never disappoint.
I chatted with Albee few hours after his super session and as usual, he’s unafraid to make some claims.
Taylor: Was it the best of your life?
Albee: Yeah. But I swear if you didn’t see tow guys get way more barreled for years, it would be cooler.
T: Looks pretty cool to me. Was it as clean as it looked?
A: No, that was just a little nugget. Everyone was catching huge north ones out the back that were giant, but not bowling as well.
T: Wow, so you won the heat? I’d heard Wassel did, but by the looks of things it was you.
A: No I didn’t. Wassel got the largest paddle wave ever, but had to go straight.
T: You’re claiming biggest ever?
A: Positive. I almost went over the falls looking at that wave. And had a really close call on one even bigger than that one. So heavy.
T: Was it 60-foot plus faces?
A: Yeah, I’m claiming 30-foot Hawaiian or whatever us weirdoes call waves.
T: You Hawaiians and your cutting waves in half business.
A: Dumbest shit ever.
T: Agreed. What are you going to do tomorrow? Are you going to surf big waves tomorrow?
A: Surf some spots around here. If we’re lucky that one slab left that was in my Innersection could be working.
Taylor: I always feel, after a great day of big waves, that I have no interest in surfing small waves for at least three or four days, and if I do it kind of ruins the buzz. Are you the same way?
Albee: Yeah, I know right. I kind of almost enjoy it more though, because it’s so mellow. I don’t even think of it as surfing. It’s weird.
Taylor: You’re weird, but great job today.
And the hype rolls on to California…