by Gerry Lopez
[Editor's note: In honor of his new book Surf Is Where You Find It, we're stoked to have Gerry Lopez sit in as guest editor. Stay tuned for seven days of stories from one of surfing's finest.]
As I hurried towards the baggage claim at the airport in Kahului, Maui, I noticed the stillness and the very warm air with a distinct salty taste to it. Only Kona winds from the south produce these conditions. I recognized the salty taste. It was mist that is only there when the surf is huge. I knew I would be getting some good waves the following morning.
I had flown from Oregon to Maui where my brother, Victor, was to pick me up at the airport. I quickly collected my bag and headed outside to look for my brother’s car. Victor, whose wife Terry has been a stewardess for over 25 years, is a veteran of airport pickups; he was rolling up to the curb just as I came out the door. I bundled my luggage into the back of his pickup truck and jumped into the front seat so we could quickly exit the airport mess and head home.
“Howzit brudda!” I said. We greeted each other with a brief hug across the steering wheel as Victor put the car in gear and off we went.
“So how’s the surf?” I asked. This is question one, always.
“Good” he answered, “Kona winds all week.”
But I immediately sensed something was wrong. He had this faraway look in his eyes like the thousand yard stare that we became familiar with when our friends returned from their tour of duty in the Vietnam War.