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Posts Tagged ‘surfers’

When you’re a writer and need to get stuff off your chest, you have to write it down. Normally I don’t bother sharing much of the musings about so-called “famous” people, they deserve their privacy – plus shoots, in Hawaii you surf every day with someone who’s had some fleeting (or legendary) moment of fame via surf. But when that someone’s being a douche, they should be called out on it, regardless of who they are. And sure, every surfer has had their douche-y moments in the water (some are conscious of it, some not so much), but this incident was particularly entertaining. 2015 was the *gulp* 30th anniversary of the first time I ever went surfing. So to have Laird Hamilton gift me with this quote was pretty special. Here’s to purging for the new year!

“You never saw me on a short board?! Then you just started surfing!” –Laird

Surfing Hanalei Bay. It’s a pastime that some on Kauai only partake in on occasion, as it’s so often over-crowded and a bit agro. Today was one of those mellow days with fun-high surf, a relatively sparse crowd, and waves for all.

Winter fixture Laird Hamilton was out. It was early in the season and the first time I’d noticed him since his return from summering in the ‘Bu (yeah, I actually wrote that).

I was surprised to see he wasn’t on a SUP. He looked like a kid, sitting on a board he could actually sink, and I thought it refreshing (not to mention he’d be less able to hog all the waves). So when he paddled near me, after an aloha exchange, I mentioned, “I’ve never seen you on a short board.”

His mood altered split second. “Well then…”, he tisked, “you just started surfing.” He repeated it a little louder and a little more annoyed, “You never saw me on a short board?! Then you definitely just started surfing!”

Wait, um, huh… waht just happened? I waited for a crack of a smile. Nope. He wasn’t joking.

My thought process went something like: Is he thinking I think he’s never short-boarded? Does he think I never saw North Shore?  LOL. Did I accidentally threaten him in some way? Is he really so cocky as to tell a chick that she must be new to surfing because she never saw him in the water on a short board. Is this the best example of inductive reasoning gone awry?! My mind was reeling with questions!

He actually repeated it a few more times. Then went on and on about himself but at that point I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I got all caught up in the energy of the incident… this massive ego… becoming palpable… expanding way beyond the sphere of mere mortals. Maybe someone drank a lil’ too much Laird Superfood Coffee that morning?

He paddled inside, caught a wave, and the vibe out in the water mellowed.

When he made it back out, he took the opportunity to engage a few of the local guys in the pack and went off on some tangent about people who were trying to put him down. He brought up some guys who did this when he was body surfing the other day. “I was going to go in and get my fins and a french fry box… and surf it better than them.” The guys in the water kissing his okole joined in: “Yeah, yeah!” “I would have paddled in and gotten an old door” “Yeah, and beveled down the edges” “Yeah, yeah” “That would show them!” “Yeah!!!”

**Oh boi**

It wasn’t as if Laird was directing this all at me, yet it was obvious my comment – tweaked in his head – inspired the loud discussion that I was supposed to overhear. Bulleh 101. All I could think was, Girlfriend, you know better, don’t you mess with the mind of a narcissist.

After his third wave, Laird paddled back out towards me, and at that point I had to laugh it off and said, “I dunno dude, I was just saying I’ve surfed out here with you like 100 times and I’ve never seen you on a short board. That’s all. Not sure where you decided to go with that…”.

He gave me a pondering stare. Started paddling away. Then turned, paused, and said, “Ohhh, it was a complement.”

I guess I was either with him or against him.

“Uh, well, basically” I replied.

And he smiled…

So, my special quote may not have been North Shore-worthy, but it was close. And whenever there’s a good excuse to include any reference to the flick you really shouldn’t pass on the opportunity: “Burkhart you bastard!”

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AlessandraOlanow Sandy Relief surf Love4Relief

What: 

Surf Collective NYC’s Valentine’s Day eCard campaign to benefit non-profit Waves for Water’s Sandy Relief initiative focused on New York and New Jersey’s hardest hit areas, including the Rockaways and other East Coast surfing hot-spots. Send your sweetheart, crush or friend an eCard that simultaneously helps our local surf communities hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy.

Who: 

Contributors include surfers from a cross section of creative fields including fashion designers Heidi Merrick and Rogan Gregory, filmmaker Mikey Detemple, photographers Alberto Guglielmi, Dane Peterson, Ryan Struck, Justin Jay, Justin Bastien, River Jordan, Zac Bush, surfboard shaper Tim Bessell, fine artist Michael de Nicola, graphic artists/illustrators Mr. Furious, Alessandra Olanow, Nick Lynn, etc.

How:

The series of eCards will be available online on Surf Collective NYC’s website (www.surfcollectivenyc.com). Users choose from one of the images, customize the message and make a donation in the name of the recipient. Your customized messages will arrive on Valentine’s Day.

XO:

100% of the monies raised will go directly to the charity to provide hot meals, construction materials, and much more; offering a paperless, environmentally-sound way of sending some Valentine’s Day XO while helping to provide local residents with the assistance they need to rebuild the communities we love.

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We can’t always get mad at the sharks when we get in the way of their feeding frenzy. Yesterday afternoon a tiger shark (who’s been spotted cruising Hanalei Bay the past week or so) got a little close for comfort. Reportedly a baby whale has been hanging out in the bay and a few big sharks followed it in. And supposedly the turtles were going bonkers. One of the surfers –Jim Rawlinson– had his board bit off by a large shark.” Missing was the leash, two fins and a chunk out of the tail of the surfboard, carving teeth marks approximately 1.25 inches, which supposedly translates to a 14 foot shark (every 1 inch equaling 10 feet).

Just for the record, when the shark hit his board Jim rolled off onto the sharks back. He stayed calm and realized it would be best to detach himself from the shark, which was pulling him by the leash. While the crowd scurried to the shore, 68-year-young Rawlinson, realizing he still had one fin left, continued to surf for maybe an hour and reported that he got two really good waves….🙂

Since the tsunami there’s been some anomalies in the waters here, especially in regards to many deep water fishes appearing in more shallow waters (Tigers are much less common and there was even a Great White making an appearance last month); more about that soon. So will that stop the surfers from paddling out at the bay today? Doubtful…surf’s up!

*   *   *

Hey, did you never read our post “Sharks, Swells & Stinky Smells“? Get on it!

Btw, the Bay WAS as busy as ever. Okay, maybe a few of us kept our feet up but everyone was out there!

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tsunami surge hawaii island

Every so often, when a tsunami warning or incident occurs, talk ensues about the history and potential calamities of the next tsunami to hit the Hawai’i Islands. One of the quandries debated among the surfing community is what one should do if a tsunami takes place while out in the water (only people who do not surf -and usually into superhero fantasies- imagine the “wave” as potentially “surfable”). While the impetus generating these natural disasters often occurs at a great enough distance to where there is a few hours warning time (and at least here sirens around the islands would give proper notice), some tsunami that are generated locally could hit within a matter of minutes, leaving little time to react.

While working on an article for another “publication”, I decided to slide the question in to Dr. Stuart Weinstein, Asst. Director at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center located on Oahu:

If a surfer is out in the water and the tide starts sucking out, should they paddle out to sea, or inland and hope to make it to high ground in time?

Dr. Stuart’s reply: “I don’t know if there is an expert answer to this, and the question hasn’t been put to me before. For a destructive tsunami that produces a strong draw-down, you might well exhaust yourself paddling against the draw-down to get back to “dry” land. Even if you were successful in getting out of the water, you would then have to traverse the newly expose muddy sea-floor as quickly as possible. You have maybe 20 minutes to complete this, sometimes more, sometimes less. The alternative, going out to sea, isn’t more attractive in my opinion. If you don’t get out to sea far enough, the tsunami that comes following the draw down will simply carry you with it; in this case your chances are not very good either. If you’re fairly close to the coast when the draw-down starts your best bet is to head to shore. Other than that, it seems there are no good options here.”

Well, I always imagined paddling towards deep water was the best bet (besides incited chompin’ sharks occasionally invading the imagery). At least it seemed the more romantic option — perhaps influenced by my fave tsunami story, of the school teacher from Laupahoehoe who got carried out to sea by that 1960 tsunami and was rescued via boat by her future husband… but there you go.

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