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Oakley House Sends Aloha From the North Shore

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

oakley logoAfter last year’s weaker-than-normal season, the firing start to the 2008/2009 year on the seven-mile miracle has everyone pumped. Oakley just put out their first edition of a video series posted straight from the Oakley team house on the beach at Pipeline. They have assembled themselves a smooth little line-up of riders and that should make these little slices of eye-candy something to look forward to throughout the year.


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Nothing Says North Shore Winter Like…

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Early north swells are rolling in through mostly uncrowded breaks, the first arrivals of the winter-only crowd are beginning to make their first cruise down Kam. Highway and backing up the lines at the Pupukea Foodland, the descent of what seems like the entire surfing world is on it’s way to the country, turning it into not so country once again. All of that screams that another North Shore winter season is just about here, however nothing screams it quite like the 2008 Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach.

The holding period for the annual kick-off contest opens this Sunday out at Sunset. Our friends at Xcel are especially pumped about the event this year as it marks the 25th anniversary of the 4-Star ASP WQS event. There is $80,000 worth of prize money up for grabs at the Xcel Pro this year; a purse that could just as easily go toward filling the belly of a starving amateur as it could pad the bank accounts of some of the world’s top professionals who have thrown their hats into the ring. Last year’s champion, Joel Centeio of Makakilo, HI, will not be participating in the event so a new champion will be crowned at Sunset. The event will feature a live webcast so you can keep an eye on all of the phenomenal action. We’ll keep you posted on all of the action and results coming out of Sunset.

From then on the North Shore becomes it’s annual madhouse as Pipe and the rest come alive. Last year was widely known as one of the worst in recent history as far as waves go, so cheers to more swells, as well as controlled madness, as the 2008/2009 North Shore winter season gets underway.

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Keeping The North Shore Country

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

“far too long and too often, important pieces of rural Hawai’i have been sold to the highest bidder and then developed into something that forever changed the essence and character of the entire area.” As a community, regardless of whether we live in the city or country, on O’ahu or one of the other islands, we owe it to Hawai’i’s future generations to preserve special places like the Turtle Bay property.” – Governor Linda Lingle (HAWAII)

keep the north shore country

As I’ve gone about reading many of the inspired articles and recaps of what was another historic turn-out in the battle to Save Trestles, I’ve tried as much as possible to relate to the people who are so adamant about keeping this pristine area as is. I’ve wondered what the plan of the proposed 241 Toll Road must sound like to the San Bernadino woman that was mentioned in a previous post, the one who made the 100 mile trip to Del Mar to let Secretary Gutierrez know that for years her family has annually made a summer camping trip to San Mateo campgrounds, partly because the area is so spectacular, but also because it’s a vacation that is affordable for her family. Surfrider’s Jim Moriarty made mention of how inspiring the children were at the rally, how their voices were some of the loudest and most moving throughout the event. In a sense, it’s the children and future generations that stand to lose the most if this project were ever to be approved.

proposed 41 toll raod

While taking in all of the stories of heroic activism yesterday, my mindseye wandered to another truly special and largely undeveloped treasure that is being threatened by commercial interests. The Turtle Bay area on the North Shore of Oahu has been facing similar threats of over-development in recent years. Owners of Turtle Bay Resort made their plans to expand on their current resort with the construction of five new hotels with 3,500 more condos on and around Kawela Bay. This type of development would be nothing short of a tragedy for residents of the islands and visitors alike.

Governor Lingle is working on a state acquisition of the property, but the future for this pristine area of Hawaii is sadly still very much in the air. The Defend Oahu Coalition and Keep the North Shore Country are two very good sources for information regarding the issue, both provide opportunities for those who are interested in helping out to do just that. Surfrider and Teton Gravity Research released the film “Out There” this past spring, a movie that beautifully told the story of the situation that this area finds itself in.

Priceless childhood memories of summer days spent exploring the tidepools, white sandy beaches, and other natural gems in the magical area surrounding Turtle Bay help me to understand part of what’s at stake when places like this and Trestles come under attacks motivated by greed. It’s vital that these areas are preserved for generations to come. Once they’re gone, that’s it. There is no turning back and restoring these lands to what they once were, and losing them would truly be tragic.

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Pipeline Claims Another Life

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

These last two weeks have given me another opportunity to help a landlocked visitor from Utah try his hand at surfing. I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with an ‘all-time’ group of guys from that part of the country who are for the most part are stoked on the chance to get in the water. All of them are unbelievable when riding on snow, so it has been interesting to see how they do when out of their comfort zone. The one constant with each of them is how surprised and amazed they are at the power of the ocean. Having all seen videos and pictures of the world’s best charging unruly beasts of waves and pulling deep into fire-breathing barrels with apparent ease, standing on the shores and watching 2 ft. Oceanside seems like a walk in the park. Once in the water they are soon looking over at me with the same expression of surprise and disbelief. They, as many do, all underestimated just how powerful the ocean is and are soon given a new vision when it comes to surfing and receive an awakening of sorts after a couple of chest-high waves end up on their head.

For those who make surfing a regular part of their lives and become somewhat accustomed to the ocean and her power, the same type of awakening and renewed respect is brought on in different ways. One of them being when a fellow wave-rider loses his life at the expense of doing what they love.

Once again the most famous wave in the world has reminded us of its power. Twenty-three year-old bodyboarder Joshua Kalai Nakata, who by all accounts loved the ocean as much as he loved life, died Sunday after he apparently struck his head on the reef at the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore. With his bodyboard and fins ripped away by the 8-10 ft surf, Nakata was under the water for about 10 to 15 minutes before he was found, family members said. Lifeguards pulled Nakata out of the water and began CPR until paramedics arrived. He was taken in critical condition to Kahuku Hospital, where he died.

With Pipeline claiming yet another life, our hearts go out to the Nakata family as they experience the loss of their family member and friend.


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Heavy Weather, Weak Surf Putting Monster Energy Pipeline Pro On Hold

Monday, February 4th, 2008

With heavy amounts of rain pouring all over Hawai’i and the absence of any type of significant swell in sight, things aren’t looking so hot for the final rounds of competition in the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro right now. Over the past 72 hours more than two feet of rain have fallen in some parts of the State and Oahu is about to receive another ‘wave’ of rain as a heavy band of showers crossing the channel between Maui and Oahu advances northward. In order to determine a winner the contest still has over a full days worth of action to run. Being that there are only two days left in the holding-period with more rain and small surf in the forecast, things could get pretty interesting and not in a good way. It’s looking pretty likely that this years contest has seen its best days.

monster energypipeline

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Pancho Dominating Pipeline

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Pancho Sullivan of Sunset Beach has become the monster trialist no one wants to face in the Billabong Monster Energy Pro men’s surfing contest. For the second consecutive day, Sullivan was one of the standouts as the second day of competition was completed yesterday. The third round and half of the fourth round were run in 4 to 8 foot surf at the Banzai Pipeline. Sullivan finished 2007 ranked No. 7 in the world, but he willingly accepted a spot in the first round, also known as the trials, and was stoked on just having another opportunity to tackle Pipe without having to deal with the insane crowds that gather there to surf on any given day.

With Andy Irons being eliminated early following an abnormal lack-luster performance, Sullivan remains in the competition as the highest ranked surfer left. Sullivan advanced through three heats on the opening day of the contest, then dominated his fourth-round heat yesterday. His fourth-round win becomes even more impressive when figuring in that the other three surfers in the heat were Rob Machado, Roy Powers, and Myles Padaca. Having surfed Pipeline since he was 12, the now 34 yr. old gave credit of his success to his knowledge and comfort of surfing a break he knows so well. The top Hawai’i finishers will earn invitations to the prestigious Billabong Pipeline Masters contest in December.

pancho sullivanpipeline

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36th Annual Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Another week, another contest at Pipe… And with this world renowned break providing the perfect venue for wave-riders of all styles to prove themselves on, why not? The holding period for the 2008 Honolua Surf co. Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic starts this Sat. Jan 26 and runs until Feb. 6th. The contest is making its return after not being held in 2007 due to ‘permit conflicts’ with the ever-dysfunctional City and County of Honolulu.

Now in its 36th year, the PBC is annually one of the most exciting events. There is something about watching Pipeline being charged on what many including myself see as the purest and most intimate form of riding waves. The legend is that bodysurfing at Pipeline was long ago inspired by the dolphins seen riding the wave there long before the invention of surfboards. This competition in wave-riding at its purest form may be why the PBC has in the past not only drawn the top bodysurfers from around the world such as Todd Sells, Mark Cunningham, and Mike Stewart, but also all around water-men and surfers like Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Tom Curren, and Donovan Frankenreiter.

It’s safe to say that whether you short-board, boogie-board, long-board, paddle-board, or use the stolen McDonalds trays (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ve probably never been to the beaches at Waikiki) there have been many times where you have tossed aside you plank-du-jour to swim around and catch waves simply using the contour of your body. If you have ever spent childhood days diving into the micro-barrels of shore pound that you imagined being a classic Pipeline tube, this contest realizes those visualizations. Watching the most accomplished and talented athletes around take on Pipe sans-stick is truly a sight to behold and produces classic images year after year. And for those who love to see wipe-outs of epic proportions, (let’s be honest, that includes all of us) this contest has it’s fair share and then some of bodies being picked up and slammed to the reef with no regards.

I did find it slightly curious that although this is being put on by Honolua Surf co., I could find absolutely no mention of the event whatsoever on it’s website- Honoluasurf.com . I’m not quite sure what the reasoning is behind this, but I do know that if I were sponsoring on of the largest and longest-running events in the industry I would at the very least want to make mention that the event was even taking place at all. Just a thought…

honolua surfpipeline

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Pipe Masters Thuggery Makes Surfing Mag. Top 16 list

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Surfing Magazine issued their Top 16 stories of 2008 recently. It was a pretty eventful year and the world of surfing definitely had its ups and downs. From the “Surfing for Peace” rally in the middle-east, mind-blowing up and comers, and epic films to shark-attacks, fires, and the loss of fellow water-men at well-known breaks.

The story that once again drew my attention and ended up as no. 6 on Surfer Magazine’s list, was in my opinion nothing more than a gang of thugs attempting to intimidate and assault a world-class surfer in the middle of the most prestigious event of the year. In the first round of the Pipeline Masters, Sunny Garcia and Neco Padaratz battled intensely for a crucial wave in the heat and ended up getting tangled up. As they stood-up, Garcia clearly dives at Neco and takes him out at the peak of the wave. Garcia then proceeded to throw a fit and go after Neco in the water, doing so again once they were onto the beach.

At that point Neco runs to search for refuge from not just Garcia, but his Wolf-Pak buddies who were coming to threaten and go after Neco as well. He attempted to find any source of protection while the whole time throwing his hands in the air to let everyone know he wanted no part of the violence. Surfer described it as “the most exciting thing we’d seen on the North Shore all year”. And depending on your definition of ‘exciting’ I guess they could have a point. But, in my eyes, it was nothing more then a senseless, disgusting display of a gang of thugs having their way at Surfings greatest stage and premier event of the year.

Anyone who has spent much time surfing or following what goes on year after year on the North Shore knows that this is the way that things are run. Local-surfers band up to regulate what goes on and protect their breaks with intimidation and violence. Whether you like it or not, that is the way surfings epicenter has been ran for years and will continue to be regulated for years to come. What should never be tolerated though is having a well-liked and respected professional surfer come to an event put on by surfings governing body only end up being chased from the area of competition with nowhere to go for protection by a fellow competitor and his group of friends.

Having tension and drama at such a crucial event is nothing we haven’t seen before. Having a competitor fear for his own personal safety to the point he needs to be escorted home is. Hopefully the ASP and Pipeline Masters does everything they can to prevent such a sad scene from ever happening again. Garcia summarized it best with this quote,”I might have spent time in prison, but that doesn’t change who I am.”


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