Ma'ili Walk -- 1/18/01

Big Mike at Ma'ili

After passing the waiting period due to large surf, the last day of the Mike Stewart International Pipeline Pro was finally a go. Because the Pipeline permit had expired and the City was unwilling to grant an extension, Mike had to make the painful call of moving the show to the Westside of Oahu.

Early in the morning, I dropped my daughter off at school in Town, called in sick from work (actually, I took a half-day of annual leave), then blasted west to cover the event

In an effort to support Mike, I had gloriously called myself his "media director." A dubious title to say the least, I just wanted to just help him out in some small way. Our coverage was decent, but I felt to accurately report on the event I just had to get my a$$ over there.

I made it to Kea'au's at 8 AM only to find the beach park empty. What the...? They must've headed further west I surmised, so I gunned it all the way to Third Dips. But they were nowhere to be found.

I was ready to head back when I saw some familiar faces at Guardshacks. A couple of Japanese national friends were on the pay phone. Apparently, they were looking for the contest too and had just found out that it was going to be run at Ma'ili Point.

"Ma'ili?" I thought. I don't really care for the spot because it's not really conducive to performance bodyboarding. But it turned out to be the right call.

When we got there, everyone was beginning to congregate in the parking lot. The final decision to run the contest there was quickly made by Bob Thomas, and soon afterwards everyone settled in. Mike was really bummed, but he understood that these things happen.

I decided to forego using my crutches and just limped around in my leg brace. It worked out pretty good except when I had to rush to cover the crowning of the new tour champ.

Many of my sponger friends hadn't seen me this whole winter so when they saw the cast, they gave that incredulous look, along with the inevitable, "What happened?" Even though I had to explain it over and over, it was so nice seeing the boys (and girls) again, both the old crew and new.

In the end, everything turned out OK. The contest went off and I got the photos and story. It was very tense and exciting as the world title went down to the wire, but the humble Brazilian Paulo Barcello took the GOB championship. And Aussie up-and-comer Andrew Lester won the event.

As for me, because of my lack of exposure to sunlight, I ended up getting a serious sunburn all over, except for where my sunglasses were. Just call me limping raccoon face!

Aloha from Paradise,