Mixed Plate
The Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters Kick-off Party -- 12/7/02

Kelly Slater drops in (literally) to a chlorinated wall

I've been invited to several "surf event press parties," but never took them up on it. But for some reason, the thought of a wave pool exhibition at the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park piqued my curiosity. I think that since I've tried bodyboarding this weak wave, I wanted to see how the pros would fare. Anyway, it would be a good opportunity to get some photos, and some free grinds (food) too!

Jodi Young of Hawaiian Ocean Promotion extended me the invite for the December 7th event, and I finally got a chance to meet her in real life. She really took care of me, giving me the wristband that allowed me to get free food and beer. Stoked!

Admittedly, I'm a bit out of touch with the comp scene nowadays, but I still hooked up with some of my old compadres, including: Reid Inouye, Rabbit Kekai, Surfer Joe Teipel, and others.

The wave pool surfing exhibition started off looking like a bit of a farce, with the weak wave being the same size as when they do it for regular park users (not to mention the poor lighting). However, the park pulsed out the waves in short bursts, creating a peeling right that could (if you were good and lucky) peel all the way across the length of the pool.

The standout was Kelly Slater--apparently his familiarity with Disneyworld's Typhoon Lagoon carried over to this pool. He was the only one who successfully jumped off the wall and right into the wave, gaining some good speed in the process.

Other standouts were former world champion C.J. Hobgood, local kid Kekoa Bacalso, and this little amateur kid who used his light weight to shred the waves. Disappointingly, Andy and Bruce Irons did not participate as billed, instead just signed some autographs.

The event also featured a game where people could challenge Kelly Slater himself to the Xbox Kelly Slater Pro Surfer video game. I didn't watch this.

There also was a big stage which featured a dance contest for an Xbox game. It got pretty raunchy and the crowd loved it. After I left, I believe the rap group Naughty by Nature came out and performed for the crowd. Local radio station I-94 took care of this part of the festivities.

All in all, it was a pretty fun event, although I don't think they had the turnout that they hoped for. Everyone who was there seemed to be having a good time. Look for it on a future E! cable channel show.

Btw, Andy Irons went on to complete surfing's ulitmate trifecta, winning the Xbox event, the Triple Crown and the ASP WCT world championship.

Shown below are some of the photos that I took during the wave riding exhibition. Some were taken with my 35 mm SLR (200 mm, f4.5, 1/30 sec, ASA 1600), with others taken with my digital cam. Sorry, but the lighting was pretty bad.