| SURF OBSERVATIONS|
No Contest/Jawing/Old Dog -- 5/23/98
Every year, I try and maintain my competitive fire by entering at least one surf contest, usually the Aloha State Games. This year, however, the Games decided to drop both bodyboarding and surfing from their list of events. I still wanted to enter something... anything. It didnít matter if I won or lost--I just wanted to be in a heat. Nah, who am I kidding? I wanna win!
Fortunately, I found another venue in the Local Motion Surf into Summer. Billed as the largest amateur surf contest in the world, the SIS always draws the top competitors from around the state to Waikikiís Queens surf. I actually placed third in the bodyboarding division of this event once, but that was many moons ago.
However, I decided it was time for a change, opting to compete in the menís longboard. I figured Iíd have just as much chance of success in either division--which would be slim to none.
As luck would have it, family matters intervened, barring me from competing. Some things are more important. No real regrets about missing my heat--surf was small and competition probably too good anyway. For the $25 entry fee, at least I got a contest tee-shirt. Iíll give them a run for their money next time. Yeah, right!
So I headed back home to Kauai to attend to the family affairs. Although it was just a one-day visit, I managed to squeeze in two fun sessions at Shipwrecks, my home break.
Called Roy and Charles a couple days before, and we planned on meeting on the beach at 7 AM. As expected, the surf was small (1-2+í Hawín) and windy (15-30 mph sideshore). But it didnít matter--we just wanted to get out there and enjoy a few.
Prior to the session, we conversed via email, jawing about what each of us would do. Now face-to-face, we continued right where we left off. Roy squawked about being so camera-shy. Chas defended his suspect wave-height measuring. And me, well, I just hassled both of them, laying down the bulls#!t of all my surfing exploits.
Later, I talked story with this bodysurfer, the only guy nuts enough (besides us) to be out in the marginal conditions (actually, he was out before we were). We reached common ground after finding that we had a mutual friend/nemesis; and we eventually got to comparing notes about the local situations (not locals situation). It was a refreshing conversation with a truly core surfer.
Best rides? Well, Roy got a nice closeout tube that nobody saw. Chas got a really long barrel that shut on the inside reef--mustíve been about a one footer, huh Chas? And me, I got a small wide open one where I felt the decompression and light mist on my back--no bull!
However, we all balked on my dare of jumping off the Shipwrecks cliff--not enough time (I jumped it years ago). Yeah, we were chickens#!t! Watch for the cliff in Harrison Fordís new movie, "Six Days, Seven Nights."
Lots of talk, but in the end, we were "only mouth."
I decided to go for one more session before heading home. Shipwrecks was looking a little bigger and a lot more crowded in the early afternoon. I immediately hooked up with Joe Kelling, a "kid" I met back in Ď83. We talked loud and hard while the others in the water took notice, quickly reestablishing myself to "old local of the lineup" status. Joe used to bodyboard, but now he mostly drives a fish--surfs pretty good too.
I also hooked up with Sascha Lipinski, who used to be this lanky, freckled-face "haole" with a solid bodyboard style. Now, he's a muscular 6' 3" plus, and was simply tearing up the inside, standing on his bodyboard sans swimfins. Damn... when did these guys go from boys to men?
I caught some surprising gems in the even-windier afternoon conditions. Most notable was this cute tube that I cleanly made it out of. Right on exit, a crumbling windswell hooked right at me. Spontaneously, I just ramped it up into an attempted backflip. Guess what? I launched cleanly and rotated it midair! Iíve tried this maneuver only a couple of times, but have never come even close. This time, I was actually doing it! Unfortunately, my rotation was off-axis. That, coupled with my utter disbelief made me flub the landing. But the revelation came to fore--I CAN do that maneuver!
So I decided to try a repeat performance. The windy conditions allowed me two more tries. I got good rotation on both of the others, but couldnít ride either one out. My last attempt was on my last ride, and after wiping out and scrambling to the beach for my board, a passing kid said, "That looked nuts!" Made my day.
Hey, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks after all. Arf!
Aloha from Paradise,