Jack’s New City -- 6/28/02

Jack in the bowl

The first time I met Jack he was cruising on Sunabe breakwall in Okinawa nearly 10 years ago, checking out the surf. I was there for work on a trip, and we got to be good acquaintances, surfing several times together among the various reefs over there.

We kept sparse contact through the years, but it seemed our lives had diverged paths. Until this summer.

Jack was looking for a change and he decided to try and find a job in Hawaii. Amazingly, he got a job working for my outfit! Small world.

During his second week of work at office function, I asked him if he wanted to surf with me in the afternoon, hoping to nab the beginnings of a tiny south swell. Of course, being the hardcore surfer that he is, he was rarin’ to go.

Our first target spot just wasn’t working, so we decided to check out Diamond Head. Driving through the rush hour traffic was maddening, but when we saw the fun peaks, we knew we made the right call.

Just as we were about to go in, we saw Buddy hiking up the hill. I introduced Jack, and we continued down while Buddy packed up.

The surf was maybe shoulder-high with some bigger ones, but it was crowded. In fact, the lineup ballooned to like 30 people, by far the most I’ve ever seen out there. We tried to get our share out there, but in all honesty it was a bit frustrating.

Early in the session, I started hearing someone ranting on the inside. My fears were realized when I found out there was a verbal altercation between a local and Jack. Jack was pretty cool about it, but this guy was just going off, getting all aggro. Jack could easily have taken care of himself, but was pretty restrained. I paddled nearby to investigate and things quieted down a bit.

Unfortunately, apologies were never accepted. Bad vibes persisted. “Welcome to surfing in the big city,” I half-jokingly offered.

We continued to ride for a couple of hours, neither of us having a stellar session. Despite the bummer altercation, it was still good to just get wet.

On my way back up the hill, I noticed this familiar face walking down. Seeing the single Quiksilver logo on his board confirmed it--Kelly Slater was about to surf Diamond Head.

Following him was Matty Liu and Ross Williams, two local boys who I was distant acquaintances with (from the amateur surfing days). Shook hands and said my howzits as I passed them. Heard that they put on quite a show out there, though I didn’t stay to watch.

Will probably be surfing more with Jack in the days to come. Looking forward.

Aloha from Paradise,