Rated 19th on the WQS at the time of writing, Gony Zubizarreta is not only Spain’s highest ranked surfer, but also one of the very nicest guys in surfing. We caught up with him during Hodei’s heat at Sunset for some Hawaii surfing tips and insights.
I first came here when I was 14 with my parents and my brother. We stayed a couple of days on the North Shore and then a couple of weeks on the Big Island surfing there. It was easier for me there, I was just a little kid, and we had really fun waves there. Then I came back when I was 16 with my family again, stayed on the North Shore a couple of weeks, starting early helps. Since then I’ve been back every year.
Stoke: My favourite spot for having fun is Sunset. It’s easier to get waves here, and when it’s big and messy there’s not so many surfers in the water. It’s such an exciting wave to surf, like nowhere else.
Exposure: For getting your photo taken the best spots would be Off The Wall or Rocky Point. Rocky Rights can get some good barrels, and not as crowded as OTW.
Vibes: Down at Laniakea (on the other side of Waimea) you can have great waves, good to try out boards and have fun, there and the spots around it. The vibes in the water are way more mellow down there too.
My shaper Nick Semente makes great boards for here, but for Hawaiian shapers I love Glenn Pang’s boards, he’s really good. I like something around 6’8″ for Sunset when it’s not so big. A really good board for Hawaii is a 6’3″ roundpin for Rocky’s and waves like that. That’s like your shortboard here.
At Sunset the best guy for me is Pancho Sullivan, he’s amazing. I like Dan Ross too, he rips this wave. Other guys at Sunset would be Joel and Mick, incredible. Overall, the guy to watch on the North Shore would be Michel Bourez, he rips. Him and Andy Irons, of course.
Michel Bourez, Haleiwa, home (hale) of the iwa bird. Photo: Timo
Gony with Dan Ross. He didn’t just say him coz he was within earshot, Rossy does rip Sunset.
Kua’Aina Burger in Haleiwa, that’s the best hamburguesas you’ll find (laughs), that’s your cheap and unhealthy option. Otherwise if you wanna eat well and spend some money, the best is Lei Lei’s at Turtle Bay. I have the fillet mignon main, then go brownies with ice cream for dessert. Joder!
The best spot for me is Rocky’s, at the Jones’ (Mikala, Daniel) house. It’s an amazing location and they are the best hosts. This year though, because there’s so many of us we’re at Turtle Bay condo’s. It not too expensive between five, it’s quiet, you can cook, it’s pretty sweet.
Your three main places to meet chicas on the North Shore would be 1) On the beach 2) At Lei Lei’s restaurant 3) The pub at Turtle Bay. But we don’t really go out here much. Honolulu on the other hand, Waikiki, wow there’s some amazing hot chicks down there, lots.
The right board is really important here, much more so than anywhere else. Like in Hodei’s heat now, before it was bigger, so he’s taken a 7’0″, and now there’s not many waves and his board is too big. It’s real important to watch the ocean here and chose your board. But it’s best not to think too much before surfing here, either big waves or for a heat. Even if you have some top Hawaiian guys in your heat, you can make it with a 1 and a 2, you never know. Last year Hodei made it through with a 1 and 0.6. Just think positive.
For me aloha, the real one is the way the Jones family treat us here. The hospitality, the sharing of this beautiful place, that’s something that’s amazed me since I first met them and still does to this day.
– Follow Gony’s Hawaii trip daily via his wicked blog: gonyzubizarreta.blogspot.com