Right Said Fred -- 3/29/98

Fred, about to go deep

Went for a Sunday morning surf. Weather was a little funky, with a rain squall running over the island. Apparently, this was a good thing, because conditions were decent, with lighter winds than the previous days. Surf was again in the 1-3' (Haw'n) range.

By the time I hit the water at 7:30 AM, a couple of bodyboarders were already leaving! Didn't realize they were into dawn patrols over here. I paddled out with "Cat" and Kirk, and we scored some nice ones.

Then, I noticed another surfer joining us. For some reason, I knew he was a bit different from the other locals. Soon after paddling out, he came up to me and asked me if my name was Neal! I finally recognized him as Fred Mendiola, an acquaintance from Hawaii. Fred used to compete regularly in amateur contests there; contests in which I competed in and even helped run.

Fred was originally from Guam, moved to Hawaii, then returned back a couple of years ago. He now helps run a local surf shop and is a local distributor.

We ended up surfing some really good waves together. Fred was ripping it up--you could tell that he drew different lines than the others, with a top-to-bottom style and good tube savvy. Nice barrels were had by all, and we all got our share.

Fred later introduced me to Carlo, the local bodyboarding "stud" who I've had this silent competition with the past few days. I guess Carlo saw me as a threat to his dominance, so he had to ice me. No big deal. We ended up talking story and I think we vented a lot of the tension between us.

The highlight of the session was a visit from some special friends. A small pod of spinner dolphins came near us in the lineup. Apparently, they were showing around a baby dolphin, maybe only three feet long. The adults were lolling playfully and jumping, doing effortless 720's. They were even throwing some dead fish around as if it were a game.

We were all just cheering them on every jump they made. The dolphins swam inside the mouth of the channel, before finally being chased off by an offending motorboat.

Unfortunately, the good conditions didn't last (typical of Guam). The winds picked up and the waves started losing their shape. We eventually bailed, but at least we got a chance to get tuned in with nature, if only for a brief moment.

I promised to hook up with Fred again. Maybe next time I head out there, we can do some serious searching with the bros. Until then, I better brush up on my reef dancing technique.

Kirk, off the bottom

A backlit "Cat"

This guy had the smaller, inside waves all to himself

Carlo, my nemesis

Hafa Adai from Paradise,