Boogie Behind the Scenes -- 3/9/97

Jerry went away on travel, so I was left to my own devices. Decided to give my old friend Ivan Okuda a call. Ivan is one of the few people in bodyboarding I can really relate to. He's a tad younger, but has been competing in the amateur ranks as long as I have.

Well, there's a little more difference between us. Ivan kills it in the drop-knee. He has a very stylish act that has put him on many mag covers and spreads. Me, well, I try hard.

Nowadays, Ivan is into giving back to the biz--he has his own cable access bodyboarding show (Exposed, Wednesdays at 7:30 pm on Oceanic channel 53) and has been promoting the kids and bodyboarding in the islands. He's truly a good guy.

We met at Ehukai Beach Park at around 7:30 am. Ivan planned to shoot some young riders who ride for Yikes Bodyboards and I was going to tag along. The two kids came with none other than Gary Morihara, owner of Yikes.

Gary's company is one of only two bodyboarding manufacturers in Hawaii. Although I met him a couple of times, I never really got a chance to talk story with him. Gary is a also budding photographer, and he took a photo of me that ran in BIM mag (under "Meet the Staff"). I was honored, to say the least.

Then, another car rolls up, and a couple more kids jump out with Bob Sato. Bob is the brains behind the Kauai Classic bodyboarding team, which actually is more like an ohana (family) which preaches a positive lifestyle in competitive bodyboarding, heavily inspired by the Lord.

I actually competed a lot with the original Kauai Classic crew in the late eighties (even though I was way below their skill level), and am really tight with all of them to this day.

There are always people behind the scenes who contribute to success, and these guys are exactly that for bodyboarding in Hawaii. Although there is a bit of money to be made, most of the effort is out of pure love of the sport and its participants.

But the order of the day was riding the waves, and ride we did. Ivan and Bob took strategic locations on the beach to shoot video, and the rest of us hit the water.

The surf was only shoulder-high with some bigger one (but mostly smaller ones). The kids tore into the small surf. Must be nice to be young, full of energy, and be very skilled at waveriding. A lot of them were from Kauai, so we had a good rapport.

The waves were pretty dismal--so much so, that I started doing stupid things like attempting my weak drop-knee attack. I even started counting the amount of times surfers dropped in on me (4) and paddled directly into my line (3). S#!t happens. Usually, my mind focuses only on waveriding, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it.

Eventually, I found myself on the beach, talking story with Bob and Gary. Ivan had left earlier, taking some of the kids to a local contest.

We started conversing about board designs, up-and-comers and the general challenges facing the bodyboarding industry. It was really nice tuning in with minds that thought alike. Eventually, we were chased home by a short rain squall.

Although the surf wasn’t all that great, hooking up with some old friends and making some new ones made the session satisfying. When it comes down to it, sharing the stoke is what it's all about.

Aloha from Paradise,