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The World Title may have already been decided (Congrats, John John!), but high drama - from surfers closing in on qualification to who will win the Vans Triple Crown - still remains as the 2016 winter season kicks off. Koa Rothman Photo: Shane Grace
TABLE OF CONTENTS 20
News & Events
WSL Behind the Scenes
134 Environment 138 Andy 140 She Rips 144 Grom Report 152 Top Parties 154 Pau Hana 158
166 5 Rules 168 Shoots 170 Industry Notes 174 Last Look 152 Pau Hana 156 Surf Art 168 Events Calendar 170 Industry Notes 174 Last Look
Natalina Photo: Mike Latronic
FEATURES VTCS EVENTS & LOCATIONS Previewing the 2016 Vans Triple Crown: the Hawaiian Pro, the Vans World Cup, and Billabong Pipe Masters.
WSL TITLE RACE RECAP Event by event, we look back at the high drama of the 2016 Title Race for both Men and Women.
88 1 12 HO: A FAMILY LEGACY Derek, Michael, Mason and Coco: examining the timeline and collection of stories of a family that made and continues to make an immense impact on the sport of surfing.
PROFILE: SEBASTIAN ZIETZ From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, Sebastian has allowed his rollercoaster experiences to chisel the positive character he posses today.
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Publisher Mike Latronic Managing Editor Cash Lambert Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock Ambassador-at-Large Chris Latronic West Coast Ambassador Kurt Steinmetz Staff Photographers Brent Bielmann, Tony Heff, Chris Latronic, Mike Latronic, Tyler Rock, Keoki Saguibo Free Thinkers Kyveli Diener, John Ellis, Tiffany Foyle, Kahi Pacarro, Lauren Rolland
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By Mike Latronic I could spend countless words and sentences describing how amazingly lucky we are to witness, document, and live the wild ride known as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for the next six weeks.
Humans like to have fun. Just ask John John Florence, who said in a pre final interview before he clinched this year’s WSL World Title in Portugal: “I just wanna have fun …” And he did!
The drama, performances, points, prize money and prestige will certainly create excitement and sports fans will “oh” and “ah” throughout. The images and video clips will reflect the best athletes doing, what most consider, superhuman feats in a massively powerful ocean. The webcast will document the play by play with colorful depictions and insightful commentary. The waves will march in. The surfers will surf. The judges will judge. The media will relate and reflect. I could outline this more, but let's head a different direction.
So you know the youngest members of the boating parties were exhilarated coming in through the surf after a fishing journey, but it's quite likely that even the crustiest old tribesman or woman felt a pang of excitement riding the surf.
In this issue of Freesurf, you have in your hands 176 pages of our most prized edition to fill your mind and take you away to a wide variety of stories, people and events surrounding this year’s epic Van’s Triple Crown. Let’s talk about the dream, exploring why we as surfers do what we do. Surfing, in its purest form, is mankind’s communion with nature. It is free and unscripted. No two rides ever precisely the same. Large planetary storms create wind and energy driving ocean waves to almost every mile of coastline on the planet. Somewhere along the line, human imagination and ingenuity combine with a sense of funloving adventure to get amongst it. Not sure the first humanoids caught on, but just as soon as man invented a boat or other floating craft to fish or travel with, you can bet they began to realize the ebb and flow of the water and the all important glide. The glide helps you get where you were going faster and easier and hey… it was kinda fun! Whether it was navigating through running rapids in fresh water or coming in through waves in the ocean, the first water gliders were likely fishermen.
It would be tens of thousands of years before rudimentary surfboards came into the picture but whether you're riding a 45 pound piece of wood or a 5 pound modern thruster, can we all agree we are doing this to have fun? Every single surfer competing in this year’s triple play that is the Vans Triple Crown is here because they are obsessed with having fun in the ocean, first and foremost. For surfers, it is the ultimate expression of joy and communion with nature. The high-level training, equipment, media following and logistics are merely that. Logistics. But logistics can’t measure obsession, passion and instinct. Why are we here? It is part instinct, part passion and part obsession. Everyone has their own fractional divide. While we enjoy the performances and score and results that come with, remember to acknowledge the obsession and the passion for playing in the sea that brought all these players here in the first place. Recognize this and parlay a general feeling of well being for those performing and yourself simply watching what we would consider the greatest show on Earth. Feel the stoke? That is why we are here.
AMPLIFIRE The Amplifire Model evolved e from Eric Arakawa’s popular K4 design that was modified for Joel Centeio. The tail rocker is slightly more relaxed than the K4 and the concave is amplified through the mid-section of the board. This increases forward lift for more front foot acceleration and speed. The position and shape of the concave creates better grip and drive through bottom turns with more speed heading into the lip and beyond. The Amplifire is a great high-performance shortboard for intermediate to advanced skilled surfers. Available Tail shapes: Squash, Thumb, Round Pin and Swallow.
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BANDIT The Bandit breaks all the rules as to what type of waves a mini-board can be ridden in. Designed to be ridden 3-6” shorter than your everyday shortboard, the Bandit catches waves easily and grovels well in small mushy conditions. However, this design should not to be regarded as a groveler only, it is a high-performance shortboard in a mini-board disguise. It is fast and loose, it squirts through flat sections and powers through the pocket. Ride it as a 3-fin or 4-fin, the Bandit is a barrel of fun and plenty of fun in the barrel. Available Tail shapes: Squash, Bat Tail and Swallow.
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JOHN JO HN FL O R EN C E CL I NCH E S 2 0 1 6 W O R L D S U R F LE A G UE T IT L E
John John Florence won the 2016 WSL Title in dramatic fashion with a victory at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal in Peniche on October 25, marking the first time a Hawaiian has held the world surfing crown since the late Andy Irons in 2004. “I honestly can’t believe it right now, it’s obviously not sunk in just yet,” Florence said, a smile spread across his face. “I know my mom and family are watching online right now and I really wish they were here with me. I’m so stoked. I’ve worked my whole life towards this and I have so many people to thank for this.” Florence’s season started out slowly with mid-range results across the Australian leg before posting a victory in Brazil in May. The Hawaiian carried the momentum of his Rio de Janeiro win to strong showings in Jeffreys Bay (2nd), Tahiti (2nd) and France (3rd) while challengers Gabriel Medina, Matt Wilkinson, Jordy Smith and 11-time WSL Champion 30
Kelly Slater failed to maintain consistency, all eventually falling out of reach in Portugal. “It’s been a long year, but one of the best years in my life, so many fun events and just having a really good time all together and I’ve learned so much,” he continued. “I was expecting it to go to Hawaii and I was just trying to keep surfing through heats.” A six-year competitor on the elite WSL Championship Tour, the Hawaiian had been threatening the throne since his inception in 2011 having previously finished 4th (2012) and 3rd (2014). “My whole life has gone into this, everything I’ve done but just this year especially, learning so much about competitive surfing, focusing completely on it and having so much help and support, it’s been amazing.” Florence added. “The title was my goal this year so at this point I’m just going to go out and have fun.”
FLORENCE 2016 WSL CT RESULTS Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 5th Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 13th Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: 13th Oi Rio Pro: WINNER Fiji Pro: 5th J-Bay Open: 2nd Billabong Pro Tahiti: 2nd Hurley Pro at Trestles: 13th Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal: WINNER Billabong Pipe Masters: TBD FLORENCE CAREER WSL CT FINISHES: 2011: 34th 2012: 4th 2013: 10th 2014: 3rd 2015: 14th 2016: WSL CHAMPION
NEWS & EVENTS
F E A T U R I N G
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NEWS & EVENTS
N O A M IZUN O , B R I S A HENNES S Y W IN REG I O NA L CHA M PIONSHIP TITLES AT 20 1 6 T U RTL E BAY RESO RT PR O JUNIO R Photos Tony Heff and Keoki In the most anticipated Pro Junior event of the season on Friday, October 14, Noa Mizuno and Mahina Maeda captured the win at the Turtle Bay Resort Pro Junior, the last World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) of the year. The day’s success saw Mizuno advance past Cody Young for the Regional Junior Champion title, while Brisa Hennessy grabbed the title in the women’s division and runner-up place behind Maeda. Mizuno and Maeda’s performances catapulted them into the qualifying slots for the World Junior Championship in Australia this January. With so much at stake during this event the upsets were inevitable, but ultimately 8 surfers stood atop the podium to be awarded with checks, leis and scholarships. Joining Mizuno, Maeda, Young and Hennessy in January’s World Junior Championships were Noah Hill, who placed third in today's event, and Christopher Bluthardt. Hennessy was a standout during the event and talked about what it means to secure the Regional Junior Champion title: “It feels so good. It was kind of stressful going into this event knowing that there’s so many amazing surfers trying to qualify so I was kind of nervous, but it feels so good to come out on top.” The Men’s Final saw a nail-biting back and forth battle between Mizuno and Young, while the coastline crowd cheered and whistled as 4-6 foot sets marched through the lineup. Mizuno dropped the highest single wave score of the heat, a 9.15, and backed it up with a 6.20 to take the 32
CRE ATORS & INNOVATORS
NEWS & EVENTS
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lead over Young, who stayed equally busy but ultimately fell short by a point. “I’m just stoked, I worked hard for this,” said Mizuno. “This is my first big win and to just take the regional title and go to Australia as the top Hawaii contender is probably one of the best feelings for me. I’m just stoked how this day turned out because a lot of hard work was put into this and it’s good to know it paid off.” The women’s Final saw four out of the top five ranked junior women
battle it out for the title, but Maeda’s backhand proved unbeatable in the challenging conditions. Hennessy, Summer Macedo and Zoe McDougall fell to the former WSL World Junior Champion in second, third and fourth place respectively. “The final was really intense and the girls that I went up against were the team that I traveled with back in Azores, so it was kind of like a Hawaii surf team class, it was just super fun,” said Maeda. “All of us were pushing each other and Brisa just came back from the Azores as the ISA World Junior Champion, so she was definitely the one person to beat. I’m just really glad I redeemed myself in that heat.” Maeda had the strongest wave of the Final, an 8.0, and backed it up with a 4.75, however Hennessy nipped on her heels with a 6.90 and 5.50, only .35 points behind Maeda. Macedo showed true grit in the lineup after injuring herself a day prior to the competition. Although her performance was not enough to take the win, this was a personal victory for the event. Finn McGill threw down the highest heat total of the event, a near perfect 19.00 in the first round after nailing a 9.75 and backing it up with a 9.25. RESULTS
NEWS & EVENTS
MENS FINALS 1st – Noa Mizuno, (Men’s Regional Champion) 2nd – Cody Young 3rd – Noah Hill 4th – Barron Mamiya WOMENS FINALS 1st – Mahina Maeda 2nd – Brisa Hennessy (Women’s Regional Champion) 3rd – Summer Macedo 4th – Zoe McDougall MENS SEMIFINALS – 1st and 2nd advance SF1: Barron Mamiya, Cody Young, Ocean Macedo, Brodi Sale SF2: Noah Hill, Noa Mizuno, Logan Bediamol, Finn McGill WOMENS SEMIFINALS – 1st and 2nd advance SF1: Mahina Maeda, Zoe McDougall, Honolua Blomfield, Gabriela Bryan SF2: Brisa Hennessy, Summer Macedo, Vahine Fierro, Summer Ivy MENS QUARTERFINALS – 1st and 2nd advance QF1: Barron Mamiya, Brodi Sale, Kaulana Apo, Dylan Franzmann QF2: Cody Young, Ocean Macedo, Tony Nunez, Sammy Gray QF3: Finn McGill, Logan Bediamol, Kala Willard, Cole Alves QF4: Noah Hill, Noa Mizuno, Wyatt McHale, Cole Frye WOMENS QUARTERFINALS QF1: Mahina Maeda, Gabriela Bryan, Aloha Lopez, Izzi Gomez QF2: Zoe McDougall, Honolua Blomfield, Luana Coelho-Silva, Angelina Yossa QF3: Summer Macedo, Vahine Fierro, Savanna Stone, Kelta O’Rourke QF4: Brisa Hennessy, Summer Ivy, Leila Riccobuano, Keala TomodaBannert MENS ROUND of 32 – 1st and 2nd advance H1: Barron Mamiya, Ocean Macedo, Kyle Tester (USA), Jake Riccobuano H2: Brodi Sale, Tony Nunez, Noah Beschen, Christopher Bluthardt H3: Sammy Gray, Kaulana Apo, Kelson Lau, Koa Yokota H4: Cody Young, Dylan Franzmann, Makana Pang, Keoni Picollo H5: Finn McGill, Cole Frye, Luke Swanson, Dante Silva H6: Cole Alves, Wyatt McHale, Wolf Wertheimer, Ty Simpson-Kane H7: Noa Mizuno, Kala Wallard, Kainaru Kato, Kainehe Hunt H8: Noah Hill, Logan Bediamol, Jackson Bunch, Ryder Guest MENS TRIALS FINAL H1: Cole Frye, Kai McIntyre, Robert Grilho, Christopher O’Donnel MENS TRIALS ROUND 1 – 1st and 2nd advance H1: Kai McIntrye, Christopher O’Donnel, Kade Ketcheson, Zac Hedemann H2: Robert Grilho, Cole Frye, Diesel Storm-Butts, Gavin Hogan WOMENS TRIALS ROUND 1 – 1st advances to main event H1: Summer Ivy, Nicole Fletcher, Alexa Muss (USA), Tegan Harrs
NEWS & EVENTS
40TH AN N UAL N ORT H S H OR E MENE H UNE S UR F I N G C H A M P I ON S H IPS Photos Tammy Moniz Stretched across two weekends in October - 15-16th, 22-23rd - tents and scaffolding lined Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach Park, with children and parents teeming through the makeshift alleyways during the 40th Annual North Shore Menehune Surf Contest. This year marked an unprecedented 40 years of the contest that provides an introduction into competitive surfing for those who call Hawaii home. Over 430 competitors lined the sand throughout the 4-day event.
“As a kid growing up, you look forward to the Menehune contest,” said Joel Centeio, whose two sons were surfing in the contest. “The waves here are always fun, there’s big waves on the outside and small waves inside. The kids love it, it’s such an user-friendly place.” As Joel alluded to, playful swell filtered into the beach, with kokua and their parents charging into small range swell and the menehune battling back and forth in waist high set waves. For Centeio, Surf Team Manager at Hurley and a handful of other parents, the Menehune Classic isn’t something they’ve only brought their children to. The contest marks the humble beginnings of Joel’s competitive career. “My first year was almost 25 years ago,” he continued. “I grew up on the west side, so coming over here, this is where you learn to compete. It’s so special.” 38
For Freddy Patacchia, who competed on the World Tour from 20052014, the biggest change he’s seen at the Menehune Classic is the size of the crowd. “This year marks the 40th Annual, and it was the most entries ever,” he said after surfing with his daughter in the kokua division. “This event gets the kids in the water,” he continued. “My daughter, when I bring her here she wants to surf, and I get the ability to surf with her. She brought her trophy to school for show and tell, she’s always so stoked about this. And we did great, we caught a lot of waves, she threw a shaka. Maybe next year she will surf on her own, and you can already see the kids thinking about that progression.” Besides surfing, the event included a host of other activities to keep the children busy in between their heats, including Ocean Safety Clinics, presented by Hawaiian Water Patrol and Billabong, Makahiki Games, football, and more.
NEWS & EVENTS
In front of a panel of judges that included pro surfers, standout surfers included Makana Franzmann carving his way to the win in the 11-12 Boys Shortboard division, Betty Lou Sakura Johnson laying claim to first place the 10-12 Girls Shortboard, young Stone Suitt showing nerves of steel and coming in first in the Boys 7-8 Shortboard division, and Kelis Kaleopaa wielding her repertoire to lay claim to first place the 10-12 Girls Longboard division. Prizes for surfers included trophies, surfboards and other giveaways. Surf N Sea also presented laptops to 4 surfers with the highest GPA’s in the 10 and older division. “Surfing here when I was young and then taking my daughter surf, it comes full circle,” said Patacchia. “I didn’t understand things like packing a cooler and why we came down to the beach back then, but now I do. For 15 minutes, you’re out there with a jersey and it’s all for the smiles. As a parent, that’s the coolest thing in the world.”
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NEWS & EVENTS
40th Annual North Shore Menehune Surfing Championships Results 4-6 BOY & GIRL SHORTBOARD 1 Skai Suitt 2 Pax Tybuszecaski P 3 Colin Sloan 4 Kamakani Fukumitsu 5 Levi Swanson 6 Aria Sarinas 7-9 GIRLS LONGBOARD 1 Gemma Gause 2 Ashley Bogart 3 Leina’ala Foster 4 Hanako Dougherty 5 Jordan Lee Stant 10-12 GIRLS LONGBOARD 1 Kelis Kaleopaa 2 Keani Canullo 3 Haley Otto 4 Journey Regelbrugge 5 Sophia Culhane 6 Olivia Yossa
7-9 BOYS LONGBOARD 1 Beau Spradlin 2 Mala’e McElheny 3 Kaneloa Lane 4 Kai Dowis 5 Enzo Rose 6 Kalanoweo Desoto
10-12 GIRLS SHORTBOARD 1. Betty Lou Sakura Johnson 2. Luana Silva 3. Kailey Bogart 4. Eweleiula Wong 5. Puamakamae Desoto 6. Natalia Wunderlich
10-12 BOYS LONGBOARD 1 Tamaroa Kalama 2 Nate Delamarter 3 Tristan Rizzo-Murray 4 Fletcher Shumow 5 Tevaiari’i Foster-Blomfield 6 Kai Owens
7-8 BOYS SHORTBOARD 1. Stone Suitt 2. Braedon Harris 3. Olan Kokoro Johnson 4. Dylan Gazzola 5. Niko Fernandez 6. Sawyer VanSteenkiste
7-9 GIRLS SHORTBOARD 1. Oaka Wong 2. Vahitimahana Inso 3. Scarlett Schremmer 4. Coco Hakikawa 5. Malia Deodato 6. Haven Ingbino-Francisco
9-10 BOYS SHORTBOARD 1. Nalu Deodato 2. Nikoa Gazzola 3. Paumalu Malone 4. Kaden Russi 5. Teahi Fukumitsu 6. Dylan Sloan
11-12 BOYS SHORTBOARD 1. Makana Franzmann 2. Clive MacMurray 3. Diego Ferri 4. Shion Crawford 5. Lohe Laanui 6. Luke Swanson
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R O S S W I L L I AM S ’ T O P 5 FA NTA S Y S U R F E R P I CK S F O R T H E VA N S T R I P L E CR O WN
Ross Williams needs no introduction, but deserves one anyway: 9 years on the contest circuit, heralded as one of the best all around surfers in any condition, both smooth and powerful on waves, and color commentator for the World Surf League. Given his resume and eye for talent, we picked the 43-year-old’s brains on who he’s picking to win this year’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
John John Florence
Why this selection? “They all perform in all three venues - Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and Pipeline, and they’ve all had big successes in the Vans Triple Crown,” Ross says. “John, Ezekiel, Mason, Sebastian and Julian all surf well in both big and small waves, and this is key. Most Vans Triple Crown winners can rip and more importantly compete in any conditions on the North Shore. This is a rare trait.”
20 QUESTIONS with Tatiana Weston-Webb By Kyveli Diener
Photos Brent Bielmann
You have dual citizenship with the US and Brazil — who would you surf for in the 2020 Olympics? If I was surfing for Brazil, I’d have to switch my flag sooner than later. I’d really love to surf for America because I was raised here and it's what made me a surfer. It’s a really complicated question because I really feel half-and-half. The WSL recognizes the Hawaiian flag, but in the Olympics you’d surf under the US flag. What do you think about that distinction? I think it’s the fact that Hawaii was the birthplace of surfing and we really want to represent that, and the fact that we could have been our own nation by ourselves…we’re really united and we want to represent the same things. I would love to see the Hawaiian flag in the Olympics…maybe I’ll just carry a little one around if I do get to go, which would be awesome. Women’s surfing has seen a lot of advancement recently. Can you comment on women’s surfing finally getting recognized? I think women deserve every inch and centimeter of the recognition that they’re getting now because of the fact that we’ve pushed ourselves beyond the limits of how women’s surfing has been. We’ve advanced it to a different level and I think it’s motivated both men and women alike. Women have made an amazing statement and women’s surfing will only get better from here. It’s really fun to be a part of this level of surfing right now.
Who was your first sponsor? My first sponsor was Roxy. Body Glove is my most recent and biggest sponsor along with Rockstar and Smith Optics. I’d say they’re the top three. There is a model aspect with sponsorships, and Malia Manuel has said she loves that fashion side of the job. Do you as well? Honestly I’m a big fan of turning athletes into models because I do think they deserve the recognition. I love the fact that they chose me because it feels like more of an honor. It’s like they recognize that I’m more than just an athlete — I’m an all around person. In the marketing aspect that makes me feel bigger and I’m really thankful for that. You obviously take really good care of your body, but what’s your favorite guilty pleasure food? Ice cream, for sure. I’m a huge fan of ice cream. What are the gnarliest conditions you’ve ever surfed in? I remember there was one year at Sunset in a junior pro. I caught one wave in the final and the whole rest of the heat I was just getting pounded. That was the worst…EVER. I was on the bottom of Sunset. I just remember getting so drilled and thinking, ‘This is for sure the worst heat of my life.’ I was maybe 16 getting beaten by all the younger surfers.
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20 QUESTIONS with Tatiana Weston-Webb
What is the biggest difference for you between this year and your rookie year?
Who are the competitors you get most stoked or most nervous to pull in a heat draw?
Honestly I still feel like I’m a rookie. These last two years have just zoomed by — I’m still learning so much day by day. I think the biggest difference is the experience that I’ve gotten throughout surfing the heats in the first year, learning what my strengths and weaknesses are and learning how to push competitors buttons and make them a little frustrated, just little tactical heat strategies.
I get really nervous to draw any of the top five. They’re always so good and it’s so hard to beat them, so it makes you try that much harder to beat them. It really pushes my surfing to the next level. I get really pumped when I need to surf against someone in the top five.
What are you favorite Hawaii breaks? I love Pipe, but it’s kind of hard to get that without a lot of people out and I think it’s really dangerous when it is really crowded. Basically the whole Seven Mile Miracle, it’s just amazing over there. I’m not going to talk much about Kauai because… …secret spots? Secret spots. It seems like everyone is visiting Kauai right now. As a local on an island that’s only 20% inhabited, how does that make you feel? It’s pretty crazy. You really can’t keep tourism away from such a beautiful place and I think a lot of the tourists are actually not surfers, which is a good thing. We just don’t want Kauai to turn into a Lowers kind of place. We want to keep the respect in the water and enjoy each other’s company instead of having a really hectic session and being yelled at and dropping in. We just don’t want any of the negativity over there.
What’s your favorite non-surfing sport to watch and do you have a favorite team of that sport? Favorite sport is probably tennis. I love watching tennis because of my mom and I like watching football because of my dad, and basketball. I love Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, Cam Newton…I love [Belarusian tennis player Victoria] Azarenka. I love Serena Williams, I love Michael Phelps. I’m a huge fan of all sports, and I would watch whatever comes my way. I’m a huge fan of gymnastics too, so I really like Aly Raisman and Gabbie Douglas and Simone Biles. What’s your favorite non-surfing ocean activity? I love snorkeling, and I love going on my dad’s boat. They go fishing — I’m not a big fisherwoman but I love being on the boat with my dad and brother. It makes everyone bond and it’s a fun time. If you weren’t a pro surfer, what would you be? I would probably be in school studying my butt off to be…I think
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20 QUESTIONS with Tatiana Weston-Webb
maybe I would be an interior designer or a doctor or something. If there were 48 hours in a day instead of 24, how would you fill the extra time? Probably another surf session, and I would definitely have some classes to study. What’s your favorite thing about visiting Brazil? The culture and how much I feel like it’s home away from home. I feel really blessed to be able to go there and spend time with my family and eat good food and catch good waves. Where is your mom’s family from? I was born in Puerto Allegre. That’s where my mom and my grandma were raised. What cracks you up every time? There’s this Instagram called #localmaddas and she is just great. Her Instagram is @wenpash. Every time my boyfriend and I watch that we crack up, it’s just great. What’s the most important thing to you with regard to fitness? For me the most important part of conditioning is being able to prevent injuries and be really ready for whatever is going to come your way. For me, that’s a lot of cardio and long surf sessions. You’re doing great on the ‘CT, but still take advantage of getting points on the ‘QS. Do you think there will be a time where you’ll just focus on the ‘CT? For sure. The ‘QS does take a lot from you and it’s a lot more traveling. My goal in the future is to not really need to worry about ‘QS [events], but for the time being I still do waiver in my surfing and I’m not the best yet, so I just want to back myself up as best as possible. pau
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CHARITIES TO MAKE C O N T R I B U T I O N S TO DURING THE H O L I D AY S E A S O N NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY LAND TRUST The NSCLT seeks to protect the lands that make up the North Shore of Oahu. Since the organization’s founding, they have been involved in saving thousands of acres of open space, including picturesque hillsides, coastal farms, beaches, coconut groves and more, doing so in one of the world's most expensive and popular coastal real estate markets. Using funds from private donors, the organization moves quickly to help purchase critical open spaces as opportunities arise. The NSCLT’s Campaign for Pupukea Paumalu attracted support from people who love the North Shore’s open spaces, raising over $8 million to secure permanent protection of 1,129 precious coastal acres. Visit northshoreland.org for more information.
WAVES FOR WATER W4W’s mission is simple: get clean water to every person who needs it. The organization’s goal is to access to clean water that “improves personal and civic well-being, increases overall health, reduces poverty and increases opportunities for education and employment, contributing to the overall advancement of individuals and their communities”. The nonprofit, led by Jon Rose, is continually on the front lines, distributing portable water filters, digging and renovating wells, and so much more. Jon Rose founded W4W in 2009 as a way for travelers to “do what they love and help along the way”. Since then, their programing has touched over 7 million people in more than 27 countries, including Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil, Liberia, Mexico, India, and Colombia. The organization was also the first non-profit to team up with a U.S. Military battalion, in an active war zone nonetheless, to help people in need along the Kunar River in Afghanistan. Over the past four years, the W4W team has responded to almost every major global disaster, earthquake or tsunami: in Nepal, Bosnia, Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti, Japan, and Chile; in Pakistan, India and Mexico; and on the east coast of the United States with a comprehensive initiative in response to “Superstorm-Sandy." Visit wavesforwater.org for more information. Mauli Ola Foundation: Founded in 2007, The Mauli Ola Foundation (MOF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hope and confidence to individuals living with genetic diseases. By “harnessing the healing powers of the ocean”, the organization introduces surfing and ocean-based activities as forms of therapy. Visit Mauiola.org to vounteer, donate or become a member.
CHARITIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
ACCESSSURF Since 2006, AccesSurf has aimed to fulfill its mission of helping children and adults with disabilities, and wounded veterans to discover their level of abilities in the ocean. Their programs include “Day at the Beach”, a free monthly service, Wounded Warrior events, and as well as a Paralympic Sport Club. Visit accesssurf.org to see a schedule of events, how you can get invovled and how you can donate.
SURFING THE NATIONS STN is a non-profit, humanitarian organization, run by volunteers and based in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Their motto is “Surfers Giving Back.” STN desires to see lives changed on both a local and international level, and acquired property in Wahiawa, opening STN Coffee Bar. Visit Surfingthenations.com for more information.
SURFERS HEALING Simply put, Surfers Healing takes kids with autism surfing. The organization's tenured volunteers have been paddling out together on tandem boards to catch waves for over 15 years. The organization gives over 4,500 children with autism and their families a fun, engaging day at the beach. “When we help kids get up on a board, we're challenging preconceived notions of capability. When we encourage participants to dive in, we're empowering them to engage with the world. And when we ride the waves together, we're affirming that every person is a gift.” Surfers Healing is the original surf camp for children with autism, and they’ve been serving the community since 1996. It's a completely different sensation and environment for our participants. Since 1 in every 68 US children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (CDC report, March 2014), their work is more vital than ever. In the words of one volunteer, “For parents to see their kid up on a surfboard … sometimes, it's nothing less than a miracle.” Visit SurfersHealing.org to join one of the surf camps, make a contribution, or serve as a volunteer or sponsor.
BACK IN THE DAY: ZEN YOSHIFUKU, JESSIE AQUIN, SEAN MOODY & FRED PATTACHIA
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WELCOME By Lauren Rolland WSL Hawaii Media & Communications Manager Welcome to the North Shore! Seven miles of sand, a smorgasbord of locally grown food options, and thousands of flawless waves. Host of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for 34 years and home of the professional world tour for 40, the North Shore is a hallowed beacon for surfers and equally precious place for residents. While this issue of Freesurf celebrates the coveted surf series that descends upon our small rock in the Pacific, we'd like to glorify the people and place that make it possible as well - from the international team members of World Surf League and the 400+ local vendors and contractors that help frame the Vans Triple Crown, to the non-profits like Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and North Shore Community Land Trust that help keep our land guarded and gorgeous, to the core sponsors like Vans and HIC, to the new partners like Farrington High School and North Shore Marketplace for their inspiring direction, to every resident from Waialua to Laie, your support and enthusiasm make our purpose achievable. Charged with the kind of electricity that can only come from twenty foot waves shaking the shoreline, the Vans Triple Crown sparks much more than surf competition. Initiatives like event sustainability and coastal stewardship are core values of the series, along with culture and community.
Made up of a constellation of waves along a country road, the North Shore is an exceptional place to live, work and surf. WSL and Vans Triple Crown help provide a happy lifestyle not just to resident employees, but also to the state of Hawaii and island of Oahu by generating more than $10M in direct spending during the six consecutive weeks from November 12 - December 20. WSL also delivers one of the most professionally robust sports broadcasts to surf fans through top-notch commentary, unique entertainment and over 800 hours of live global action in a year. The Billabong Pipe Masters alone produces more content than an entire season of Monday Night Football. It's no surprise that waves like Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline are some of the sport's most celebrated, each demanding respect from both surfers and spectators. Whether you're enjoying the North Shore as a visitor or hunkering down for another season of big surf at home in Hawaii, please keep in mind the vision of the Vans Triple Crown and WSL Hawaii - a sincere belief that Hawaii's culture can be perpetuated through its original sport of kings, a like-minded community that works toward sustainability and environmental protection, and a future generation of champions that choose a positive lifestyle and career path made possible through surfing.
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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH WSL HAWAII By Lauren Rolland
Photos Tony Heff
Ask any World Surf League (WSL) employee what the typical response is when asked what they do for a living… “That sounds like a dream job!” And it is. WSL’s Pacific region, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui, is comprised of five individuals who travel to Teahupo‘o, witness firing Pipeline on the regular and consider watching the live broadcast R&D. We produce the Vans
Triple Crown of Surfing, work personally with the world’s best athletes and hold board meetings in the lineup. But let me be the first to tell you that our jobs are not just all fun and play. Nor is WSL Hawaii only about surf competition. In fact, our events merely scratch the surface of what the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region truly undertakes. Our internal team of five (and crew of more
JODI WILMOTT GM OF WSL HAWAII/TAHITI NUI AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF VANS TRIPLE CROWN OF SURFING Hats: Deliver our surfers and sport the opportunities and recognition they deserve. Lead an extraordinary and hard-working regional team. Honor our members and the birthplace of surfing by producing professionally run events, broader-vision programs, and community partnerships. Project ahead to ensure we continue to maximize opportunities for people to explore life through surfing. Balance budgets. What makes this your dream job? It takes me out of my comfort zone on a daily basis and presents endless opportunities for personal growth. I feel most alive in situations that are highly challenging and I was born with a crazy passion for surfing. I’ve never been a big wave rider, but my job is my personal “Waimea", and my team is the Hawaiian Water Patrol of the office. World title and/or Vans Triple Crown season prophecies… John John will win both the Vans Triple Crown and World titles and this will be the beginning of a new era that will see local surfers and the sport of surfing gain an elevated level of support in Hawaii. Carissa will bring the women’s title home in 2017.
than 200 during the winter) works around the clock to safeguard local representation in the sport, produce sustainable surf events, mentor youth, offer career opportunities, and organize new ways to engage and stimulate the community and our state’s economy. We partner with non-profits like Sustainable Coastlines and North Shore Community Land Trust, spearhead projects like bathroom renovations and small business workshops, and foster youth programs like Farrington High School’s Academy of Business and WSL Hawaii’s unique Junior Development Day program. Our region also runs a 501(c)(3) nonprofit – Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization – that dedicates 100% of funds to improving career and competitive opportunities for local Hawaii junior surfers. You cannot have a dream team without a fearless leader. Trailblazing the region is Jodi Wilmott, a South African-born Australian who has spent most of her life in Hawaii, grew up around the likes of Eddie Aikau, Shaun Tomson and Rell Sunn as mentors, and traveled with the professional tour for eight years as its international Media Director. A familiar voice amongst the North Shore community, Jodi serves her second year as ringleader of the WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region with a backup of 25 years in the industry.
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BERT ISHIMARU TOUR MANAGER Hats: Manage all entries, seeding, heat draws, and rankings. Service all member questions and inquires. Oversee events and competitors, and monitor that all rules and regulations are followed. Organize regional tour schedule and support all event planning and logistics. What makes this your dream job? The sport of surfing has been a big part of my life and I'm super stoked to still be a part of it after all of these years. Being involved with something you’re passionate about makes it fun and exciting. I've been lucky over the years to be given the opportunities to get where I am today, so it's always a priority of mine to give back to the next generations so they can fulfill their dreams in this industry as well. World title and/or Vans Triple Crown prophecies… will be decided on the final day of the Pipe Masters in epic 8-10 foot Pipe!
LAUREN ROLLAND MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Hats: Manage the media team during events. Constantly wrangle images, video and edits. Produce press releases, press conferences and press opportunities. Interview athletes. Work with local media to develop stories around our region and athletes. Work with sponsors on messaging. Help organize community events, outreach and youth programs. Approve (or deny!) media access for the Vans Triple Crown and manage the trailer during the six-week series. Be a voice for our sustainability initiatives. Ensure my team is aligned on media topics and talking points. Celebrate the sport of surfing through all creative media outlets. What makes this your dream job? Putting my Communications and Creative Writing degree to use on the North Shore of Oahu is a remarkable opportunity I feel extremely fortunate to have. When you enjoy your career and love where you live, the work/life balance all comes together. Plus, I’m a writer at heart, and you can’t beat a job that combines that with beach time. World title and/or Vans Triple Crown prophecies… John John will become Hawaii’s next World Champion and end our 12-year drought. Leonardo Fioravanti will win the Triple Crown title. Brazil will account for the most spectators on the beach.
ROBIN ERB OPERATIONS AND MARKETING MANAGER Hats: In a nutshell, let’s call mine “the 4 Ps:” Permits (securing for Oahu events, and ensuring that we’re well up to snuff before, during, and after every contest). Paperwork (agreements and other required forms). Production (to an extent, supporting Danny with event logistics as appropriate). Partnerships (working with, activating, and helping to grow our network of regional partners and supporters). What makes this your dream job? Surfing combines so many of the things I enjoy — the ocean, being active, having fun, constantly learning — and working in this industry connects me to those sources of enjoyment every day. I’m incredibly grateful for that, and proud to be part of this team and our North Shore community. World title and/or Vans Triple Crown season prophecies… Whatever puts my fantasy team at the top! Nah — John John Florence and Tyler Wright for the world titles, Dusty Payne for the Triple Crown.
DANNY ECKER EVENTS MANAGER Hats: Manage event timelines and priorities. Plan with WSL Global Events Team. Manage day-to-day suppliers and vendors. Oversee production/delivery deadlines. Basically, I oversee the planning, implementation and loadout process for the Hawaii, Tahiti Nui and Fiji events. What makes this your dream job? The people, the places and the culture. Nothing beats the feeling when an event comes together, and when you can share these moments with a team of like-minded people. World title and/or Vans Triple Crown season prophecies… Keanu Asing will win the Triple Crown and upset World Title contenders.
TRIPLE CROWN BREAKDOWN
Previewing the 3 Gems of the 2016 Vans Triple Crown
HALEIWA ALI‘I BEACH, HALEIWA NOVEMBER 12 – 23 Featuring the top 128 surfers in the world, the Hawaiian Pro takes place at Ali’i Beach Park in Haleiwa, a town known as the gateway to the North Shore. The Hawaiian Pro - a QS10,000 with a $258,000 prize purse - marks the first contest of the Vans Triple Crown, and the second to last event of the WSL Qualifying Series. The event is a spectator’s dream, allowing front row seating with the world’s top echelon of surfers only a few yards away. Looking into the history books, far more regular footers have won here than goofy footers. In fact, only two goofy footers have won the event: Barton Lynch (1988) and Conan Hayes (1999). Sunny Garcia, one of Hawaii’s greatest power surfers, has won five titles at Haleiwa, not to mention six Vans Triple Crown titles and one World Champion title. Wave heights can range from 2 foot to 12, so there is a variety of opportunities from full blown power carves to barrels and progressive aerials. Last year, dark horse Aussie Wade Carmichael bested the talented Filipe Toledo (Brazil), Ezekiel Lau (Oahu) and Dusty Payne (Maui) for the win. Will we see another dark horse win, or a patented vet? The challenging conditions at Haleiwa may be the decider.
WAVE BREAKDOWN - Haleiwa is a dominant right breaking wave. On smaller days, a left breaking wave is on tap. On 4-foot and under days, Haleiwa offers a fun hotdog of a wave in both directions. - The wave breaks best with a west swell. - A reef appears on the North side of the break, which forms Peaks, a fun right-handed wave. Under 4 feet, the intersections of Haleiwa come to life. In these conditions, the wave becomes critically steep and hollow, especially on those ideal west swells. - The venue includes the notorious Toilet Bowl, an inside section of the right-hander wave that drains over a shallow reef. This sets the stage for finishing big maneuvers along with dramatic wipeouts. - Conditioning and strategy are critical here because of the Haleiwa riptide. On bigger northern swells, the riptide becomes more difficult and powerful, challenging surfers’ endurance and athleticism.
TRIPLE CROWN BREAKDOWN /
SPECTATOR NOTES - Public restrooms, showers and picnic tables are available. - Trees and shrubs border the beach, providing respite from the sun.
DO’S AND DON’T’S - Do tune into the event, whether it’s in person or on the live webcast and/or replays. The start of the 2016 VTC, the Hawaiian Pro sets the stage for the prestigious points race that ends with one man hoisting the VTC trophy. - Ali’i refers to royalty, so it is critical to treat the famed beach park, as well as all beach areas, with care. Don’t litter. There are multiple trash bins around the park.
WHERE TO PARK
Each year, the Hawaiian Pro - the first gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing - sees talented host of competitors (such as Ezekiel Lau, right, Sebastian Zietz, bottom left, and Billy Kemper, bottom right) battling in challenging Haleiwa conditions to win the QS10000.
- Located off Haleiwa Road, enter Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park (the park itself offers rows of parking stalls) from the west end of the harbor. Be sure to not confuse this with Haleiwa Beach Park, located next to Pua’ena Point on the north end of the harbor. - When the parking lot fills up, you can park on Haleiwa Road along the wooden curb head. Be sure to heed all ‘no parking’ signs and respect the neighbors that live in the Haleiwa community.
SUNSET BEACH NOVEMBER 24 – DEC 6
Sunset Beach is truly an arena unlike any other. With a confluence of ideal swell, wind and tide, the venue lives up to its big wave reputation by funneling powerful right handers across an enormous playing field. While the crowds and competitors share close proximity at the other Triple Crown spots of Haleiwa and Pipeline, the competition at Sunset runs about a hundred yards off the beach for the Vans World Cup of Surfing. This deep water venue not only challenges competitors’ mental fortitude, but also a surfer’s fitness level, which may be the difference between who advances and who goes home.
VANS WORLD CUP OF SURFING
WAVE BREAKDOWN - Sunset is a dominant right breaking wave ideal for high performance surfing. - Most consistent big wave on the plant, notorious for breaking anywhere between 2 to 15 feet before maxing out. - Sunset Beach is located the farthest north of all three event venues and breaks with any swell direction ranging from west to northeast. The quality of the ride depends upon wind conditions and the tide as opposed to swell direction. The peaks at Sunset may be beautiful to watch, but are treacherous to ride.
WHERE TO PARK - If you want a parking stall bordering Sunset Beach or across Kamehameha Highway in the lot, the best bet is to arrive early. - Turtle Bay Resort offers a shuttle service
SPECTATOR NOTES - Public restrooms and showers are across Kamehameha highway. - Front row seating is available on the sand, with spots of shade provided from beach bordering shrubs and trees. - It’s recommended to bring binoculars, given that the surfing takes place more than 100 yards out to sea.
DO’S AND DON’T’S - Do bring an umbrella for shade. - Don’t slow down traffic along Kamehameha highway looking for a parking stall. - Don’t play near the surging shorebreak. - Do be mindful of uneven sand grades and fragile coastline plants, as this shoreline is a work in progress. - Do pack your trash.
What’s the secret to success for winning the Vans World Cup? Channeling power surfing: both Mick Fanning (bottom left) and John John Florence (right) did just that last year in daunting Sunset Beach conditions, finishing first and third overall respectively.
In 2015, Mick Fanning used his patented power surfing to launch himself onto the podium for his first ever victory at a Hawaii venue. In waves 2-3 times overhead, Fanning out surfed an action packed final: Julian Wilson (2nd place), John John Florence (3rd) and Matt Wilkinson (4th). While it is unknown what conditions will look like on contest days, we can expect big names and even bigger storylines.
between their property and the Triple Crown venues. - Pack a bike or skateboard in your car, since you will likely park a distance from the venue utilize the North Shore bike path!
Similar to the Hawaiian Pro, regular footers have dominated this event, which is considered the proving grounds for modern day surfing.
TRIPLE CROWN BREAKDOWN /
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS EHUKAI BEACH PARK DECEMBER 8 â€“ 20
What started with a few folding chairs, a half dozen or so surfers and $1,000 in prize money decades ago - thanks to visionaries Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarick - is now the third event in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing as well as the conclusion of the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour.
TRIPLE CROWN BREAKDOWN /
WAVE BREAKDOWN - A predominant left hander, Pipeline also includes a barreling right hander called Backdoor. From the surfer’s perspective in the water, the left breaking wave is Pipeline, and the right breaking wave is Backdoor. - Waves pump best on a west or northwest swell. - Pipeline is made of three reefs: first reef, second reef, third reef. - Whether its 2 foot or 15, equipment consists of the best barrel riding boards.
SPECTATOR NOTES - Restrooms, showers and picnic tables are available at the beach park.
DO’S AND DON’T’S - Do bring a camera. The wave breaks only 30 yards from shore, providing the ultimate viewing experience. - Don’t park where there is a NO PARKING sign. Police patrol during the contest and will write tickets. - Don’t approach the shorebreak. On bigger days, be cautious about even walking near the water’s edge. With strong swell, event structures have been known to get pulled into the ocean. Stick to dry sand.
WHERE TO PARK
Both the culmination of the Vans Triple Crown and the WSL competitive year, the Billabong Pipe Masters will see the best surfers (including Mason Ho, right, John John Florence, bottom left, and Mick Fanning, bottom right) take on the world's most dangerous and most exciting wave: Banzai Pipeline.
- Ehukai Beach Park, across from Sunset Elementary, offers several parking spots. If this lot is full, there are multiple places to park on the side of Kamehameha highway. - Heed all ‘no parking’ signs and use good judgement when parking on the highway to avoid being ticketed or towed (i.e. don’t block driveways, stop signs or crosswalks). - The North Shore bike path is a great method of transportation, just bring a bike, skateboard or simply a good pair of walking shoes.
masurel / WSL
Spectators will watch the world’s top surfers throw caution to the wind, drop off towering ledges and slide through churning, blue barrels that break atop a razor sharp reef, all a mere 30 yards away. Indeed, all of this makes Pipeline, well, Pipeline – surfing’s IMAX theatre experience and the ultimate proving grounds.
Cestari / WSL
Pipeline is the center stage for both the Vans Triple Crown as well as the proving grounds for Hawaii surfers on the North Shore. Both collide at the Pipe Invitational, an event that will run on the first day of the Billabong Pipe Masters (December 8-20) at Ehukai Beach Park.
even injuring himself at the end of the heat. This further proved just how treacherous the conditions on hand were. Pipeline maestro Jamie O'Brien proved his meticulous wave selection would earn him a spot in the Semifinals and the highest heat total of the event - 18.00.
The Pipe Invitational gives 32 of Hawaii’s surfers a chance to earn the golden ticket: Entry into the 2016 Pipeline Masters for both the winner and runner up of the event. The seeds for the Trials are based off a combination of results, including the 2016 Volcom Pipe Pro final results - a contest that ran back in February - the International QS year end rankings, the Regional year end rankings, as well as sponsor seeds. The Trials also includes the women’s Pipe Masters Specialty event, comprised of the top women surfers dueling in surfing’s greatest arena.
If you were a betting man, picking the winner of the final would have proved difficult between Jamie O’Brien, Mason Ho, Kekoa Cazimero, and West Oz’s Jack Robinson. There was a standing room only crowd and an electric atmosphere as the four contestants entered the water in proper Pipeline conditions. At the end of the heat, the youngest of the group took the win - 17 year-old Aussie Jack Robinson, who exhibited a level of boldness and courage rarely seen in those his age. Jamie O’Brien took second, and also gained entry into the 2015 Billabong Pipe Masters.
It’s often said that the best indicator of the future is indeed what transpired in the past, and following this formula, the 2016 Pipe Invitational is set up for high drama at the world’s most exciting wave.
We can expect all of this: the talent, the renown names, the pumping swell, and so much more at this year’s Pipe Invitational.
Win, and you’re in: both the winner and the runner up of the Pipe Invitational, a single day event that provides Hawaiians and other sponsor seeds with the opportunity to compete in the Billabong Pipe Masters, will run on the first day of the aforementioned contest. Last year, the actionpacked final included winner Jack Robinson (top), runner up Jamie O’Brien (middle), Mason Ho (middle) and Keoka Cazimero (bottom right).
Last year’s action saw some of the most intense competitive battles in recent memory. North Shore’s Luke Shepardson scored the only 10 of the day, pulling into a heavy barrel. Honolulu-native Kekoa Cazimero exchanged his Town boards for his country quiver, charging the gnarliest waves in the Semifinals,
COMING IN HOT: BREAKING DOWN WQS CONTENDERS + HAWAII’S DANGER MEN by Tyler Rock
LEONARDO FIORAVANTI 18 (ITALY), CURRENT WQS RANK #1
Sloane / WSL
COMING IN HOT: TOP WQS CONTENDERS
Masurel / WSL
As the only surfer to come out of Italy and make a presence in professional competitive surfing, Leo may have something to prove and the 18 year old has definitely made his mark this year. While Leo has yet to lock in a win on this year’s WQS, his consistent string of runner up and 3rd place finishes has all but guaranteed his spot on the 2017 Championship Tour. But chances are that won’t stop the Italian from proving he has the chops to perform in Hawaii as he’s been spending a number of winters here tackling the powerful surf of the North Shore lineups.
Heading into this year’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, there are the obvious top contenders; John John Florence, Julian Wilson, and Gabriel Medina have all won the coveted Triple Crown title in the past few years and come into this Hawaii year end leg ranked at the top end of the WCT list. But surfing is unpredictable, Mother Nature calls the shots and as we’ve seen in the past, anything can happen. Any number of competitors can step up to the plate, have the cards fall in their favor and find the winning waves to upset the pack and take home the crown. Besides vying for the Triple Crown title, there are many other scenarios and situations going on in this all important year end leg of the WSL tour.
CONNOR O’LEARY 21 (AUSTRALIA), CURRENT WQS RANK #2 While not a big name in professional surfing just yet, Australian Connor O’Leary is looking to change that. The goofy-footer has put in some impressive performances on this year’s WQS including a big win at Ballito Pro in South Africa. While Connor’s qualification position is good, he’ll be looking for some results in Hawaii to solidify his spot on the coming year’s Championship Tour. And having yet to finish well in the Triple Crown events, this year will be time for him to step up.
Cestari / WSL
Cestari / WSL
We decided to take a look at the surfers the general surfing public might not be thinking too deeply on. We breakdown the top ranked surfers on the Qualifying series who are coming in hot and looking to capitalize on these season ending events to lock in their spots on next year’s Championship Tour. We also highlight the always dangerous local threats, Hawaii specialist who live and breathe North Shore waves all season long. While the favorites are favorites for a reason, look to this list to find who just might be a spoiler and who is looking for that all important result to make it to the big leagues.
Poullenot / WSL
JOAN DURU 27 (FRANCE), CURRENT WQS RANK #3
Poullenot / WSL
As the elder surfer on this list, Franceâ€™s 27 year old Joan Duru has been competing on the WQS for 6 years, with this year being his best shot at WCT qualification yet. Having yet to crack the quarter finals through his past Triple Crown campaigns, Joan will be needing a result, not only to prove to himself, but also make the dream of qualifying for the Championship tour a reality. A semi-final finish at the Volcom Pipe Pro in the beginning of the year will do good for his confidence as the skill set is there for the Frenchman to perform in solid surf.
Cestari / WSL
ETHAN EWING 17 (AUSTRALIA), CURRENT WQS RANK #4
The 17 year old Australian, Ethan Ewing, is the youngest on this list, but so far has made one of the biggest jumps on the WQS. After doing a few events and finishing 257th on last yearâ€™s tour, Ethan has found his stride this year to put himself into a promising position for qualification to the Big Leagues next year. His biggest result this year has been a runner up finish at the highly rated US Open in Huntington Beach, proving his competitive savvy in the the smaller stuff. But the work isnâ€™t done yet, Ethan will have to prove himself in the powerful Hawaiian waves, surfing in his first Triple Crown.
Hawaii’s next WCT hopeful, Ezekiel Lau, carries big weight on his solid shoulders. Zeke has been campaigning hard for the last several years to join the WCT ranks and after a close finish last year, he’s looking for redemption with a good shot this time around. No stranger to Hawaiian waves, Zeke has proven himself in the past, cracking the final at last year’s Hawaiian Pro in Haleiwa and winning the World Cup at Sunset Beach in 2013. Much of the hard work is done already for Zeke this year but he will need another solid finish in the final two events to confirm his spot for the 2017 Championship Tour.
Poullenot / WSL
Poullenot / WSL
EZEKIEL LAU 23 (HAWAII), CURRENT WQS RANK #11
TORREY MEISTER 28 (BIG ISLAND), CURRENT WQS RANK #44 The Big Island’s Torrey Meister has been a QS tour campaigner for close to a decade now. Torrey has had some good event runs in the past, cracking the semi-finals multiple times at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach. He’s comfortable pushing over the ledge in bigger surf and can mix it up with the best of them in the ripable stuff. With a little luck and momentum, a solid run for Torrey through the Triple Crown could be in the cards.
COMING IN HOT: HAWAII’S DANGER MEN
BILLY KEMPER 26 (MAUI), CURRENT WQS HAWAII REGIONAL RANK #2 The biggest result of Billyâ€™s career thus far came during a Big Wave World Tour event at his beloved Peahi Jaws. While his focus is more suited towards the BWWT, Billy has always kept his smaller wave game sharp and makes a point to compete at Hawaii regional QS events. With his skills in waves of any sizes and having made finals at Sunset Beach numerous times, including a win in 2010, Billy is always a threat in Hawaiian waters.
MASON HO 28 (OAHU), CURRENT WQS HAWAII REGIONAL RANK #38 With lineage of Hawaiian surfing in his blood, the North Shore’s Mason Ho is one of the most enigmatic characters into today’s professional surfing arenas. Whether it be his small wave antics or charging the West Peak at Sunset or Second Reef Pipe, Mason thrives on it all. Finding success over the last few years, winning at Sunset Beach and going deep through the rounds at several Pipe events, Mason is a definite danger draw for any competitor. The bigger the stage, the more Mason seems to shine and this year’s Triple Crown venues could be the Mason Show.
ELI OLSON 24 (OAHU), CURRENT WQS HAWAII REGIONAL RANK #1 As a born and bred North Shore native, Eli is a staple that can be seen in any lineup along the North Shore and sparring partners such as the John John Florence and Koa Rothman has pushed the regular-foot to elevate his game every session. With competitive success this year, taking out the Local Motion Surf Into Summer Pro and a 5th place at the Papara Pro in Tahiti, Eli sits atop the Hawaii Regional ratings. Having only had one shot in a Triple Crown event in the past, Eli will be hungry to prove his local status in this yearâ€™s series.
JOSH MONIZ 20 (OAHU), CURRENT WQS RANK #47
Following a long legacy of surfing in his blood, young Josh Moniz has already competed in 4 seasons of the Triple Crown. Spending all winter posted up at the Billabong team house at Off The Wall, heâ€™s afforded ample time to practice in the venues of the trifecta and it seems he has been spending his whole life surfing for these moments. With a steady climb up the WQS rankings, Josh will be looking to go big in this yearâ€™s series with the hopes of propelling himself into a Championship Tour qualifying spot.
2016 WORLD TOUR RECAP by Tyler Rock
CT #1 QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA MARCH 10-21
Top to bottom: Matt Wilkinson, Kirstin / WSL | Cestari / WSL | Kolohe Andino, Kirstin / WSL | The beach, Brett Skinner
The season opener brought the world’s top 32 surfers to Snapper Rocks on Australia’s Gold Coast. With everyone looking to start the season with a statement, it was the backhand attack of Matt Wilkinson that stole the show, earning the Aussie his first Championship Tour (CT) victory. Coming in a close second was California’s Kolohe Andino, proving this year’s tour would have some new faces on the podium to set the stage for an interesting year. Stuart Kennedy (Australia) put on an impressive performance, making it all the way to the semifinals. Defending champ Filipe Toledo looked deadly on the rippable right handers as well, but unfortunately suffered a groin injury that cut his run short in the semifinals.
CT #2 RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH, AUSTRALIA MARCH 24 - APRIL 5
Top to bottom: Jordy Smith, Cestari / WSL | Matt Wilkinson, Sloane / WSL | Matt Wilkinson, Sloane / WSL | Lineup, Sloane / WSL
Bells Beach once again featured a premiere right hander, along with some familiar faces like Mick Fanning and Jordy Smith who both picked apart the lineup and made it to the semifinals and final respectively. Big upsets of the event included John Florence and Gabriel Medinaâ€™s fall in Round 3 while rookies Conner Coffin, Caio Ibelli and Davey Cathels pushed through to prove the new class was ready to compete. In the end, Matt Wilkinson once again utilized his unique backside approach to win over the judges. Wilko took out a second victory in a row, showcasing he was no fluke, and firmly stamped his name at the top of the rankings.
CT #3 DRUG AWARE MARGARET RIVER PRO MARGARET RIVER, AUSTRALIA APRIL 8-19
Top to bottom: Julian Wilson, Sloane / WSL | Sebastian Zeitz, Sloane / WSL | Sebastian Zeitz, Cestari / WSL | Lineup, Sloane / WSL
For the third and final stop of the Australian leg of the 2016 CT Tour, the world’s best traversed to the wild west of Australia where swell and conditions often call the shots. The Margies results would see some shuffling on the ranking’s board, as this time wildcard Sebastian Zietz (Kauai) added to this year’s bag of surprises. Seabass took out his first ever CT event win over Julian Wilson to put himself in the #2 position on the Jeep Leader Board and earn a solid shot at re-qualification to the big leagues. Points leader Matt Wilkinson would see his winning streak come to an end in Round 5, but leave him still sitting with a solid points lead in the rankings. Also of note was an impressive performance by wildcard Leonardo Fioravanti (Italy), who upset 11x World Champ Kelly Slater in Round 2, Caio Ibelli, who sent John Florence packing his bags once again after a Round 3 defeat, and tour vet Taj Burrow announcing his retirement after the upcoming Fiji Pro event.
Top to bottom: John Florence, Morigo / WSL | John Florence, Cestari / WSL | Jack Freestone, Morigo / WSL | Rio / WSL
CT #4 OI RIO PRO POSTINHO, BRAZIL MAY 10-21 Bouncing over to the beach breaks of Brazil, the fourth stop of this year’s CT saw even more shakeups atop the podium, reinforcing the uncertainty of a year full of surprises. A Round 2 loss by ratings leader Matt Wilkinson further opened the door for title hopefuls to edge closer to his lead. While John Florence’s second victory at the Rio Pro might not have been a surprise, the performance catapulted him back into the limelight after two subpar finishes at events prior, proving to be a turning point in the touted Hawaii surfer’s year. Also making the final was rookie Jack Freestone, who had yet to win a heat in his previous starts, a result he surely needed. Gabriel Medina clawed himself back up the ranks, eager to put himself back in the hunt for a second world title. Unable to back up his victory, Sebastian Zietz’s Round 3 loss dropped him back down the rankings.
CT #5 FIJI PRO TAVARUA, FIJI JUNE 5-17
Top to bottom: Gabriel Medina, Sloane/ WSL | Gabriel Medina, Cestari / WSL | Matt Wilkinsonon, Cestari / WSL | Lineup, Cestari / WSL
Heading back to the Tourâ€™s first truly dreamy stop of the year, the Fiji Pro boasted perfect barrels as the title race began to pick up some fire. The three top title contenders all delivered massive performances, making it a real battle for the points lead. Finally finding that winning feeling once again, Matt Wilkinson turned in a crucial performance to keep his top position, cracking into the final and proving his frontside barrel riding is on par with the best. Taking out the win in Fiji for the second time in his career, Gabriel Medina firmly stamped himself into the title hunt, besting event favorite Kelly Slater who also saw a return to form with a semifinal finish. Perhaps the heat of the event came between John Florence and Taj Burrow, with Taj competing in his last world tour event. The two traded barrel for barrel averaging a 9.34 wave score and both cracking into the 18 point heat total. Ultimately, it was John who took the heat win and took it all the way to the Quarterfinals, adding to his position on the title race. But all would agree, the event was an amazing send off for Taj, one of the tourâ€™s favorite surfers.
CT #6 J-BAY OPEN JEFFREYS BAY, SOUTH AFRICA JULY 6-17
Top to bottom: Mick Fanning, Cestari / WSL | John Florence, Kirstin WSL | Mick Fanning, Tostee / WSL | Linep, Kirstin / WSL
The story surrounding J-Bay was all about Mick Fanning. Taking a part-time approach to this year after the turmoil surrounding last year, including his infamous shark encounter, Mick made sure to mark Jeffreys on his events calendar. Taking over where he left off in last yearâ€™s final, Mick blitzed through the field, looking unstoppable en route to victory. Also cracking the final was an in-form John Florence who would take the momentum to propel to #2 on the rankings, getting even closer to Matt Wilkinsonâ€™s rating lead, which at this point, started to dwindle, especially following a Round 3 exit in South Africa. Gabriel Medina also locked in a Quarterfinal result which would help in his collection of points in an attempt to catch Wilko at the top.
CT #7 BILLABONG PRO TAHITI TEAHUPOâ€™O, TAHITI AUGUST 19-30
Top to bottom: Kelly Slater, Poullenot / WSL | John and Zeke, Cestari / WSL | John John, Poullenot / WSL | Lineup, Cestari
The Billabong Pro Tahiti would prove to be the biggest shift of the season so far. Suffering another Round 3 loss, Matt Wilkinsonâ€™s dream start to the year became a distant memory as his closest competitors capitalized to gain points. Gabriel Medina and John Florence did battle in the Semifinals, where they went head to head for the first time all year; their clash did not disappoint, as both dropped near perfect heat totals with John just edging out Gabriel. The final showcased another modern day rivalry with John Florence taking on Kelly Slater, who had been on fire dropping near perfect rides in almost every heat for an average heat score of 18.29 points. With plenty still left in the tank, King Kelly disposed of John in fine form to take out the win, nabbing the 55th elite tour win of his illustrious career. But with his second final showing in a row, John cracked the ratings lead for the first time all year, securing the yellow points leader jersey, and putting himself in new territory.
CT #8 HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA SEPTEMBER 7-18
Top to bottom: Jordy Smith, Cestari / WSL | Joel Parkinson, Kirstin / WSL | Jordy Smith, Kirstin / WSL | Trestles, Rowland / WSL
With John Florence now wearing the yellow jersey, Matt Wilkinson in second, and Gabriel Medina close behind in third, the Trestles stop looked to be a showdown for the title contenders. But what transpired was upset city. Wilkinson once again suffered a Round 2 loss, furthering his slump and now adding another dreaded 25th finish into his tally. In Round 3, John Florence and Gabriel Medina both fell victim to local wildcards Brett Simpson and Tanner Gudauskas, a slight slip up that would open the door for those under them to gain some ground. Notably, Kelly Slater, a long shot in the title hunt, saw some light in the tunnel and made it to the Quarterfinals. Filipe Toledo also looked deadly on the rippable walls taking his act to the semi-finals only to be stopped short by Jordy Smith. In the final, Jordy edged out veteran Joel Parkinson and gained enough points to also enter the title race with a chance.
CT #9 QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE HOSSEGOR, FRANCE OCTOBER 4-15
requalification on the WCT, Keanu Asing finally cracked a result, taking out John Florence in the Semifinals and Gabriel Medina in the Final for the big win. However, both results by Florence and Medina would serve to strengthen their title contentions by maintaining current positions, with Medinaâ€™s second place tightening up the point spread even more as they headed into the penultimate event.
Top to bottom: Keanu Asing, Poullenot / WSL | Keanu Asing, Poullenot / WSL |Gabriel Medina, Kirstin / WSL | Photo Cestari / WSL | Lineup, WSL
Nearing the homestretch of the tour and with the title race tightening up, France proved to add more fuel to the fire. The decline of Matt Wilkinson continued with yet another Round 3 loss seeing his title hopes further slip away, although still maintaining his 3rd place rank. Round 2 losses by Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith put a damper on their title chances. While the top two contenders both capitalized on gaining points, the event winner was perhaps the biggest underdog of the field. After a string of poor results saw him outside of
CT#10 MEO RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL, SUPERTUBOS, PORTUGAL OCTOBER 18-29
Top to bottom: Connor Coffin Poullenot / WSL | John John Florence, Cestari / WSL | John John Florence, Cestari / WSL | John John Florence, Poullenot / WSL
As the end of the Euro leg, Portugal has served to make and break title hopes in the yearâ€™s past, and this year was no different. The big shockers of the event came early with the wrecking ball that was Jeremy Flores eliminating world #2 and #3, Gabriel Medina and Matt Wilkinson. This left the momentum with rankings leader John Florence, effectively able to clinch the title by making the final, with only Jordy Smith able to keep the title race going into Hawaii by winning the event. In the semi-final in-form Connor Coffin beat Jordy, giving John his first World Title and bringing the trophy back to Hawaii for the first time since Andy Irons last won over 10 years ago. The day would prove to be forever Johnâ€™s, as he capped it all off with another event win against his buddy Connor in the final.
Rowland / WSL
WOMEN'S TITLE RACE RECAP Since 2007, the Women’s World Title Race has followed an unique trend: the title has been won by either Stephanie Gilmore or Carissa Moore. This changed in 2016 with the emergence of Tyler Wright. The Aussie came out with guns blazing to win the first event of the year - the Roxy Pro Gold Coast - but Courtney Conlogue, the fierce regular footer who finished runner up in the Title Race last year was hot on her heels, coming in second at the event. This set the stage for what the 2016 Title Race, made up of 10 contests, would become: a dogfight of power and consistency, and the lady who made the least mistakes in such a tight points race would reign victorious. Although it started with Tyler snatching the momentum at Snapper and the yellow jersey, Courtney earned both back with a victory at Bells Beach. The yellow jersey traded hot hands for the rest of the Tour, as Tyler won the
next two events - Margaret's and the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil. But the 22-year-old ran into a buzzsaw at the Fiji Pro named Bethany Hamilton, and after losing in the early rounds, Courtney once again retained the yellow jersey. As the two-horse race continued, other surfers were forced to watch from a distance. Carissa Moore, last year’s champ, surfed smooth and powerful, but her results didn’t seem to emit the ferocity she’s showed in years past. She started off her year finishing 3rd at the first four events, and young gun Tatiana WestonWebb was right behind her, scoring a 5th, two thirds and a 5th before winning the US Open at Huntington. Midway through the season, it became evident that a deep chasm existed between the top 5 and the remainder of the field. While the Men’s Tour saw wildcard picks (Sebastian Zietz, Keanu Asing) passionately battle to the winner’s podium, the Women’s Tour saw the same collection of aforementioned surfers
(including Johanne Defay) maintain their high leads with first place wins. By September, with the Tour beginning to wind down but the battle between Tyler and Courtney continuing to rage, Tyler won CT #7, the Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles. This marked her fourth win on the 2016 Tour, but amazingly, Courtney (who had only won one event) still mathematically had a chance to catch up. Instead of feeling the pressure, Courtney applied it at the Cascais Pro in Portugal. She surfed on point, winning the event, but coming in runner up was Tyler, further making her case for the World Title. It was on the sands of the Roxy Pro France that Tyler’s point lead became untouchable, giving her the 2016 World Title. “I always knew I would win a World Title,” Tyler said. “It was just a matter of deciding I was ready to do it. I’ve grown up a lot in the last year, and because of that I decided that it was time to put my mind to it, to really throw everything into it – and now that I’m here, I
Clockwise : Tyler Wright Photo: Rowland / WSL | Mick Fanning, Cestari / WSL | Mick Fanning, Kirstin / WSL
Poullenot / WSL
Poullenot / WSL
Cestari / WSL
Poullenot / WSL
feel like it’s right where I should be. It hasn’t come too soon and it hasn’t come too late.” As all eyes shift onto the last CT event of the year: the Maui Women’s Pro at Honolua. It’s a critical time for the women on the cusp of qualification, including a few who call Hawaii home. Women’s WCT Qualification Scenarios for Hawaiian Talent Each year, the top ten surfers from the WCT and top six from the WQS qualify for the following year’s World Championship Tour. Carissa Moore, sitting at 3rd going into the Maui Women’s Pro, will be a contender for next year’s World Title, so her, along with Tatiana Weston Webb (4th) are safe bets for next year’s Tour. Malia Manuel, currently sits at 7th, but a poor showing at Honolua could push her closer to the cutoff. The picture gets murky for the surfers below that mark: on the CT, Coco Ho sits at 13th, with Alessa at 15th, certainly below the cutoff. Both need a strong showing at Honolua Bay. Shifting to the QS, Coco sits at 7th, and because more than one competitor above her is double qualified, there is a high probability that Coco will indeed shift a spot or two up, just making it onto next year’s Tour. Alessa sits at 10th on the QS, seemingly out of reach to qualify for 2017’s Tour via the QS.
Photo: Tony Heff
Koa Rothman Photo: Brent Bielmann
Kekoa Bacalso Photo: Ryan Chachi Craig
Josh Moniz Photo: Brent Bielmann
Tom Dosland Photo: Shane Grace
Gavin Gillette Photo: Sash Fitzsimmons
HO A SURFING LEGACY by Chris Latronic When you think of history’s greatest surfing families, there’s no doubt that the Ho family is near the top of your list. With 4 iconic members: Michael, Derek, Mason, and Coco in their dynasty, they are all still individually distinguished amongst the surfing world, together participating in nearly every aspect of surfing to this day. Now with Mason and Coco taking the reins on main stage, Michael and Derek spend most of their time hunting barrels. Fortunately, the family was in town and eager to share a little of their story from their fruitful life on the North Shore. How did the Ho surfing legacy all begin? DEREK: It all started with our Dad, Chico Ho. Edmund Chico Kaho’olauli’i Ho. It all started in Waikiki. He was a typical beach boy, raking the beaches, taking out umbrellas and chairs for the tourists, teaching people how to surf, canoe ride, dive, fish, and enjoy the simple things in life. It was typical Hawaiian living. MIKE: We grew up in Waimanalo, my dad was an avid waterman and took us to the beach all the time. He shaped surfboards, so we spent most of our childhood at the beach and playing around on all my Dad’s surfboards. We would cruise with Pops Aikau, Buffalo Keaulana and family. We would camp West Side and surf all over. Growing up surfing, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. DEREK: Dad taught us to surf before we could walk. As soon as we could stand, he was taking us out on the surfboard. After that my older sisters would be teaching me. I remember 2 girls would push while 1 would catch me at Queens. It wasn’t “can we go to the beach today, Dad?” it was “When can we go home Dad?” We stayed all day and sometimes all night. Our Dad taught us to get in and out of the ocean safely. Surfing was the bonus. Safety in the water was priority one. It's always better to surf smarter rather than be careless. Mike knows all of it and is one of the most intelligent guys in and out of
Michael and Derek Ho, brothers in arms since the very beginning and still to this day. Tom Servais / A-Frame
HO / A SUR FIN G LEGACY back then, I definitely can’t name them all. Kainoa Downing, Guy Pilar, Robert Kaui, Sam Malama, Craig Wilson, The Chings from Town. I was just surfing for the love of it. We didn’t even know what a professional surfer was. I remember talking with Rabbit early on, and we would count our stickers and sponsors and the money we would get and we kinda justified to ourselves that we were professional surfers. It is a serious professional sport now! Taken to a whole new level. How did it evolve from there? MIKE: When I was 15, I surfed my last world contest and joined the professional tour at 17. Did that until I was 30, then stopped right before Mason was born. It was a bit tougher than now, running around and making your own flights. We didn’t have it easy by all means, but it was still worth doing. It use to be a lot easier to get into contests with the trials system. Everywhere I'd go, you’d have the chance to make it through the trials. That helped in my final ratings points at the end of the year and eventually my run on tour. I feel like those older world championships were more legit, because you were challenging a more extensive field. I think it was more of a true world championship. Mark Richards and Tom Curren, those titles were well deserved.
Do you remember the first time Mike won the Triple Crown?
the water. He’ll know the conditions out there better than you and he’ll be sitting fully clothed on land. Let’s talk about surf competitions. How did that all begin? Was there an instant rilvalry?
DEREK: The year Mike won his first Triple Crown, I felt like I was just a baby. Then the next year, I win the next Triple Crown! I still try to look back and fathom how time flew by like that. I was about to graduate
MIKE: I feel like I started competing when I was seven, doing the HSA’s and the menehune contests… All of them. We surfed comps at Queens, Chun’s Reef, Haleiwa, Ala Moana, and Makaha. DEREK: Michael dominated from the early menehune days. Boys, Jrs, Mens, it seemed like he won everything. Our house was full of 1st place trophies. It was inevitable where he was going. MIKE: I took Derek to Japan when he was 14-15 where he did well. He advanced into the main event with me and had a really strong start. From there he never looked back, he remained a fierce competitor up until this day. I don’t even know how many events he won at Ala Moana Bowls. I just remember him and Ronnie Burns constantly battling. It was a privilege to see him grow up and progress into the surf nazi that he is today… I expected nothing less. DEREK: My key was my brother. I coattailed him as much as I could and he showed me every lineup I know today. He was my secret to success. Derek
MIKE: There were so many guys that I surfed with and looked up to
high school and was literally building sand castles on the beach while my brother was winning the Pipe Masters. Then the next year I’m winning the Triple Crown. It happened so quick. But from then on, I was becoming more and more fond of surfing Pipeline. It’s seriously an addiction. A natural drug. It's hard to describe unless you are doing it yourself.
MIKE: The first Triple Crown was a showdown. Haleiwa, Sunset, and Pipeline. Best 3 results wins. For anybody, its an a honor to win any of those events. Fortunately, I came out on top for that. I almost always came home needing results and the Triple Crown has always helped me re-qualify each time. Winning the Triple Crown has been a bonus from my efforts working towards re-qualification.
DEREK: He didn’t have a lot of money so he really had to hustle to travel around the world, but he succeeded. He was one of the only Hawaiians to make it happen abroad and when the comps came to Hawaii, he dominated. He’s the only one to win all 3 venues at Sunset, Haleiwa, and Pipeline, countless times.
How did Mason’s surfing roots begin?
DEREK: Mason was a character since he was a baby sitting on my shoulders. He’s probably the most passionate surfer in the world. To me, that says a lot.
Michael and Coco Ho.
MASON: When I was really young I remember drawing myself on my Dad’s or Uncle Derek’s magazine pictures and posters. I would always get yelled at for doing that because I pretty much ruined them. But not matter how much I got in trouble I would keep doing it. That was the beginning because I didn’t even know they were pro surfers. But as I grew a bit older I began to realize who my dad was, who my Uncle was, then I was like, I wanted be like them!
MIKE: Mason really got stoked on surfing when he was 8 or 9 with Cheeseburger (Keoni Nozaki). Before that, he would play with his bikes and skateboards with our neighbors the Latronics. But then he just took off. He’s grown into his own man and taking things to new levels. He’s amazing and I’m super proud of him.
Mason and Michael Ho.
MASON: I did my first contest at the Haleiwa Menehune comp which is pretty much the first one for anybody who grew up on the north shore. Then I was super hooked at 5, 6 years old. Then at 7, I got kinda over it and started dirt biking but then I broke some bones. But then I remember on my birthday when I was 9, Cheeseburger (Keoni Nozaki) took me to go surf at Shores and I was instantly hooked again and forever. Nowadays, we get pressured away from the water to go do inland stuff and keep the sponsors happy. Made me think of the few years when I was young that I did not miss a day at the beach all year. I'm trying to get that going again now.
HO / A SUR FING LEGACY
Still pushing limits at the ripe age of 59, Michael Ho continues his quest to be forever barreled, a passion both his children took hold of as well. Photo: Clint Kimmins
Mason, let’s talk about your Dad. How has he influenced your surfing?
MASON: I call my father POPS, or DAD, or POPPO. POPPO when I’m nice and snapped into the home vibe. He’s my hero. He’s actually my best friend, I hang out with him more than I do my other friends. He’s pretty much everything to me, definitely one of the coolest Dad’s ever. He gets sooo barreled! I mean, I don’t like it sometimes when he goes out in the big stuff and does it. I almost wish it was someone else’s dad instead at times because he’s just pushing it so hard. It’s a bit stressful being Mike Ho’s son. At an earlier age I really liked it when he went big but then he’d end up in the ambulance or something bad. Sometimes I ask him on the plane, do you really like it? But then he’s like “Yeah! What!? You getting weird on me now!? He’s just one of those heroes that just keeps breaking the boundaries by blowing it open all the time. Just when you think he can’t get any gnarlier, he just does it. He definitely has some grom issues that he has to sort out at his ripe scary age of 59-years-old.
And what was it like growing up around Uncle Derek? I got scoldings from a lot of adults growing up but the one man I was always afraid of was Uncle Derek Ho. At the time, it seemed like the gnarlier the person was scolding me the funnier I found it. I don’t
know, maybe because I knew I could get away with it. But with Uncle Derek, his scolding would shake me down to the bone. So any time I seen him I’d be on my best behavior. But then I slowly grew up to realize why he was like that...World Champ, etiquette master, World master, guru. Even until today I still trip out on how special and gnarly he really is. I just look up to him for so many reasons. He’s a great speaker with a nice vocabulary, I always wanted to speak like him. He just does everything that I think is cool.
What was the best thing about growing up as a Ho?
MASON: I got extremely lucky growing up as a Ho, because I had access to secret places that no other grom had. I’d have my little partner in crime for the day it'd be like “we're gonna go hang out with Andy (Irons) and the Boys today.” They’d totally put up with us. I almost forget how important those little moments were and are to young groms coming up like myself back then. I remember watching Andy do things that would totally change my perspective and direction in life. Now when I'm hanging out around the young groms I always try to make sure it's perfect for them because you might just do something that will change that kid’s life forever.
Airs, barrels: What’s your favorite thing about surfing?
HO / A SUR FING LEGACY
Derek Ho in his hanai home on the North Shore: Banzai Pipeline. Photo: Keoki
MASON: The barrel is one of the most special feelings in the world. Don’t get me wrong, it feels great to land a huge air clean and pull off a crazy power turn, but there’s just something about riding the barrel that gets me and my family. We barrel hunt all time for that feeling. Uncle D had some of the best barrels in the world along with my dad and I'm just trying to catch up. Getting barreled is definitely in our legacy. It's not scientifically proven, but in the barrel there's a vacuum suck-back that really stings your lips and face. Maybe it's secretly keeping my family young forever wink wink. Barrel is botox. I just try to relate everything to the barrel, It's my favorite thing to do.
What was the Triple Crown like for you growing up?
MASON: To me, when I was young, the Triple Crown used to be a maze of trouble. I used to dig holes under the scaffold and bury big cases of soda there. Then when the contest moved, I’d have all my marks set up and I could just dig up a case of Mountain Dew and drag it over to my spot. The best was when the contest was on a weekday, my Dad would take us out from school. So yeah, at first, it was a carnival of fun. But that’s because it always was a special time for me. After watching my Dad and Uncle Derek compete more, I began to take the competition side more seriously.
What kind of mistakes do surfers commonly make? 118
MASON: I feel like if you are not born and raised here on the North Shore, it's easy to feel obligated to go surf when the waves are not ideal or way too big. I see it on guy’s faces. It’s cool I respect it, but I’m not that into it. I got my own theories to follow.
So when did Coco come into the surfing picture?
DEREK: Coco was just trying to keep up with Mason. Catching his skateboard, falling on her face, skateboard in her teeth. One day she came back from the beach and wanted to be a surfer.
MIKE: Coco did not want to get left behind. She would just say “I’m going to the beach with you guys!” and I said “Okay.” When Mason started doing all the NSSA contest, Coco would start following Mason and Cheeseburger down to the beach and surfing.
MASON: So my Dad started becoming proud of me because I started winning contests and Coco wasn’t gonna sit by let me take all the glory. I gave her a board that was a little too small for me and she picked it up instantly. She went into a contest her first week and made the final. Then she just went on a roll, made a bunch of finals throughout the year and qualified in the top of her division at 8 years
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HO / A SUR FIN G LEGACY
old. She wrecked it all throughout the amateurs, then right out the gate she qualifies for the world tour and the rest is history. I always found inspiration from her performances, while I’m over here chucking away. Coolest little sister ever, that's for sure.
MIKE: She picked it up pretty quick and was really good right away. Before I knew it, she was doing turns around me saying “Sorry Dad.” She got on Tour really quick too, when she was 17 and has been on ever since. But it's tough. You make mistakes here and there and misjudge your decisions, but you can’t know if it's right or wrong when you’re competing in a subjective system. There’s only 10 spots, there should maybe be 16 at the cut off. There are way too many girl surfers that could be on tour.
Coco, at what point did you realize that your Father and Uncle were icons and legends of the sport? Was it something you learned over time?
COCO: It was definitely something I learned over time. At home they will always be Dad and Uncle Derek. Once I started to travel and hear stories from fans on the other side of the globe I was like “Woah they are the real deal.” Nowadays I realize they’re both icons of the sport because I could be hundreds of miles away in another country check my Instagram and see that they’re getting the waves of the day.
How was growing up with Mason Ho for a brother?
COCO: Growing up with Mason, everything was funny. I swear his goal in life was to have me constantly laughing still to this day. I have so many funny memories though- posting up at Shores in this little bush we carved out into our hut. We’d load up on goodies from Ted’s Bakery or Poptarts and stay there and surf all day. I don’t even think that’s funny. It’s just a really fond memory I have growing up with Mason.
What are some life lessons your family has taught you, both in and out of the water?
COCO: Every year of my career I feel like there has been a theme and a huge lesson they’ve all collectively taught me… recently it's been don’t get down from losses. No matter what someone is going through it’s sick, because there are 3 of us to console and compare to. This year, my Dad kept reminding me of this year he lost first round every country and how he didn’t let it discourage him. It’s little advices like these that help so much, makes me feel human.
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HO / A SUR FIN G LEGACY
Coco and Michael Ho
Mason and Michael Ho
What do you think of the WSL World Tour format presently?
MIKE: Today’s format right now is great. You have 2 chances to surf! I don’t remember ever having that. It was normal for me to fly halfway across the globe, surf one 20-25 min heat, top 3 waves, no priority. If things didn’t go my way, I was going home. Airplane. I just spent $2,000… Now you got 2 chances to surf, priority, 30+ min heats. Qualifying is still the hardest part. You have to grind hard. It seems like staying on tour is pretty tough also, because every guy rips.
How often does surfing come up at meal time?
MIKE: We talk about surfing everyday we have a meal. Surfing in general and competing always comes up. We talk about lineups while we’re out in the water and little things here and there like tides and conditions. But when it comes to the surfing part, that’s their deal. They have to watch and learn.
What more do you want for your family now?
DEREK: I’ve been getting good waves out here for 20 years. I get the same feeling every time I go out to Pipeline. It's what keeps me ticking.
MIKE: Nowadays, I just want my kids to land in airplanes safely and stay home when they can. I’m over all the traveling, I’m over the airplanes and airports. These contests are driving me nuts. I just want them home so I can be with them and surf. Everyday's an adventure. Nowadays we got Coco, we got Mason, and me and Derek constantly checking conditions. It’s unreal. We just go surf. Love of surfing is our legacy. pau
Cole Alves, photo: Dayanidhi Das
“Support your l cal”
H AM M E R I N G A N D FO RGI NG T HE CH A RA CT ER OF
By Cash Lambert
A goal without a plan is a wish. Sebastian Zietz understands this and has been using it to his advantage, methodically planning and working to sharpen his repertoire at WQS and WCT event locations around the globe. Photo: Ryan Miller
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. Henry David Thoreau said that, and I know what you’re already thinking: the poet and philosopher, who lived in the 1800s, has nothing to do with surfing, athletic prowess, or anything close to today’s culture. But, as time moves in its only direction - forward - the past frequently comes back to life in multiple areas: fashion, thought, ideas and so forth and interestingly, this quote couldn’t better signify the life and times thus far of Hawaii’s own Sebastian Zietz. Growing up, many create an identity based on their location and its surrounding culture, but not young Sebastian. In his most formative years, Sebastian and his family lived as vagabonds. He moved from idyllic Kauai and road tripped to Maine at age 10, returning 4 years later. That’s when, after having seen more forests, deserts and road signs than most his age, he inebriated himself in the Kauai lifestyle. They say in life there’s two kinds of people in this world: hammers and nails, and if this is indeed true, Sebastian is certainly the former. Year by year, he began to hammer hammer hammer away at his surfing skill: sharper turns, processing wave selection faster. Contest after contest, his calloused hands slammed the proverbial hammer harder harder harder, forging a career out of surfing. Today, Sebastian sits on the precipice of requalification on the prestigious World Championship Tour. Through it all - the highs, the lows, the grinding, the winning, the years - Sebastian not only forged himself a career; he also forged himself into a character. Fans, athletes and sponsors alike have nothing but positive things to say about the beloved 28-year-old. He’s someone of pure stoke, someone you’d like to have a beer with, someone who livens up WSL webcasts during interviews and someone who despite negative situations, chooses to see things in a positive light. You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. Henry David Thoreau may have said that, but Sebastian Zietz has lived it. Here’s how, in 5 different times of Sebastian’s life.
Sebastian’s highest achievement came in 2012, when he won the Vans Triple Crown in dramatic fashion. On the precipice of requalification going into the 2016 winter season, the 28-year-old has been training to achieve his own second coming, in search of that winning feeling again and again. Photo: Ryan Miller
Sebastian Zietz is grabbing rail with a smile spread across his face. It’s December 2012, and he’s being
carried across the beach on a bright green surfboard from a team house to the Vans Triple Crown podium in front of Pipeline.
The contest series, often known for breaking boards, bones, confidence and careers instead made Sebastian’s career in 2012. Made him a topic of discussion amongst the surf media, made him the hottest name in surfing.
It was an unprecedented entrance into an awards ceremony for an unprecedented run of results. After, frankly, a subpar year on the World Qualifying Series, Sebastian locked in and finished 1st in the Reef Hawaiian Pro in tricky Haleiwa conditions, 3nd in the Vans World Cup of Surfing at daunting Sunset Beach and 5th in the Billabong Pipe Masters.
His victory lap on the green surfboard became immortalized, a photo forever depicting the dream of winning the Vans Triple Crown. On the podium that year could have been Joel Parkinson. Could have been John John Florence. But it was frothing Sebastian. And no matter where his career went in 2013 and beyond, into the record books or into the depths of the rankings, the win could never be taken away.
He held the trophy high, was handed a lucrative check, had his name inserted into the likes of past winners, including Derek and Michael Ho, Sunny Garcia, Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson, and if that wasn’t enough, he was allowed entry into the following year’s World Championship Tour. Was it truly rags to riches? Not necessarily, but it would have taken an incredible amount of time, energy and finances to continue grinding on the WQS to achieve as many points as his Vans Triple Crown win allotted. “Winning the VTC, it definitely requires some luck,” said Sebastian, looking back on his win. “Wave knowledge is critical for sure.”
Sebastian Zietz once snapped on Andy Irons. It’s true. But first, the backstory. See, when Sebastian was 4, his family (he had 9 brothers and sisters) moved to Kauai and it was only natural for young Sebastian to slide into the beckoning waters of Hanalei Bay every day. At age 10, Sebastian entered in full grom mode. But the family suddenly picked up and made a cross country move, and the story sounds like something straight out of a Jack Kerouac novel. Extended members of the Zietz family had passed away in Maine, so family flew to California, bought a Winnebago and began the trek. Once in the icy northeast, they continued living out of the van, later buying a sailboat and sailing it from the winter haven of Maine to
the Sunshine state. The family wanted to stay on the East coast, so Sebastian’s older brother, Billy, made a pitch to let Sebastian live in Kauai with him. “My brothers Billy and Max, they have had the biggest influence on me,” Sebastian said. “I moved in with Billy when I was 14... the only reason he took me in was to help me have a future in surfing. At the time he wanted me to succeed more than I did. I still look up to them.” Sebastian picked up where he left off on the surfboard, and a fiery side began to show. “At Pine Trees, yeah I snapped on Andy,” Sebastian said. “I was totally out of line but I was just frothing to catch a ton of waves.”
Sebastian Zietz looks frustrated.
It’s 2015, and the year marks his third year on tour, three years removed from winning the coveted VTC trophy. His first year on Tour looked promising, you know, the new guy getting his feet wet: he finished 16th. The following year, 20th. And 2015, 25th. It was at the Hurley Pro at Trestles in 2015 that Sebastian looked frustrated, and man, there was reason to be. A controversial interference call sent him home, and as he was packing his bags, the WSL grabbed him for a live interview.
How did A.I respond?
Now, this could have been the perfect opportunity for Sebastian to lose his cool and light the place up!
“He slapped my head! The next week I actually won my division at the Irons Brothers contest,” Sebastian continued. “As he handed the trophy to me in front of all the parents and kids he said ‘F@#ker’! I will never forget that moment.”
I mean, the guy was in dire need of a solid result. During the contest - perhaps it was the conditions on hand or his Top 40 fire playlist - he was feeling that swagger, surfing loose and surfing confident. But then, his heat with Michel Bourez.
Another moment Sebastian won’t forget is after turning 16, he again moved, this time under the same roof as Dustin Barca. “He lived in a 5 by 10 laundry room, that was his nest,” Barca said in an interview with the WSL. “There was greatness in the kid.”
“...Twenty seconds to go [in the heat], and as we paddled over a wave I thought I was going to get another wave in the time limit, but I don’t know if the beach announcer’s time was off, I don’t know so I was paddling hard to get a wave,” he said, his demeanor stern. “I didn’t know what Michel was doing, I was paddling so hard to get wave...I
Falling of the World Tour crushes dreams and breaks careers, but Sebastian used it as motivation, re-evaluating his strengths and weaknesses. Photo: Rowland / WSL
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The WSL reporter noted that despite his frustration, Sebastian still went up to the judges and spoke with them, even shaking their hands. Sebastian’s response: “That was one of the better heats I’ve surfed all year, I got some good boards under my feet. There’s no hard feelings, it was one of these weird things, my mistake, I should have let Michel go on that wave. I’ll take it as a positive. I surfed good, I wish I was still surfing but hopefully Michel rips the rest of the contest.” Pure professionalism.
taking out Mick Fanning in Round 3, I was invited to a few more CT events. With Taj Burrow retiring and all the injured guys, I’ve been really lucky.” He capitalized on that luck at Margaret River, winning heat after heat, sliding into the quarterfinals as a darkhorse, the semifinals as a ‘good for him’ story and into finals - against Julian Wilson - as an underdog. “I’m just trying to put on more of a show this year,” Zietz told the WSL after being chaired up the beach victorious at Margarets. “I had such bad wave selection and heat strategy last year, I know I can do better.” Indeed, 2016 has been a better year. Even though Sebastian isn’t on the CT and has competed due to both injured and retired vets leaving slots open, he scored a 13th in Brazil and a 9th in France, among others.
At the end of the year, Sebastian’s frustration would continue. After surfing his heart out at the Pipe Masters, he lost his final heat by .21 points, narrowly missing re-qualification.
Sebastian Zietz is on a jetski, and he just heard he’s ranked number two in the world. His reaction? “Woah, RADICAL, yeah number 2!” You’d think a lot had happened in between Sebastian following off Tour in 2015 and him suddenly thrust limelight at cold Margaret River, Australia, in April of 2016. But in such a short time span, not really. “The 2016 year started with me just being really focused on my surfing for the WQS,” he said. “After the wildcard into Snapper Rocks and
What helped Sebastian Zietz navigate from falling off Tour to becoming second in the world in just 4 months? A grand collision between preparation and opportunity. Photo: Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller / WSL
didn’t know what Michel had gotten on wave before, it wasn’t the greatest wave but Michel is such a powerful surfer and could’ve gotten a good score with cutbacks. I paddled for the wave way too long, didn’t hear the horn at all I was just thinking paddle... I’m happy for a good performance, I’ll go to Europe and perform.”
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Whether he’s on Tour, off Tour, at home in Kauai or sleeping in a terminal en route to a contest, Sebastian radiates a positive, glass half full, stoked out perspective. Photo: Ryan Miller
“After my win at Margaret’s, I’ve been feeling the pressure to get results to qualify,” he said. “I put pressure on myself for the QS at the beginning of the year and ended up doing pretty bad at the first couple events. I was stoked to get into the events on the CT, so I was just letting it flow. That seemed to work a lot better but after winning Margies, I felt the pressure to have one of my best years.”
Sebastian Zietz may be feeling the pressure, but he’s smiling.
It’s mid-October of 2016, and although he sits at 13th on the CT, he still needs a solid result at the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal. A solid finish could ease the tension as afterwards, he heads back into familiar but challenging territory: the 2016 Vans Triple Crown. Four years post his incredible celebration to the podium, Sebastian still serves as an example of what winning the Vans Triple Crown can do for one’s career. “I’m still reminded of the Vans Triple Crown win in 2012 every time I go home and see my house, my truck and my jet ski,” he said. “All the things I would have never been able to have without that win.” There’s a good chance that win also was instrumental of him starting Fit Lab Kauai. “A lot of people invest in the stock market or real estate, but the gym gives back to the community and that’s what matters to
me,” he said. “Cycling is apart of my training, so being able to jump into a class on Kauai is pretty sick. We didn’t have anything like it on the North Shore.” When Sebastian’s feet hit the golden-laced sand on the 7-milemiracle, from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach and everything in between, including Pipeline, he’ll be riding an updated quiver. “I’ve been riding a lot of Channel Island Protons,” he said. “My two victories and my perfect 10 at Pipe were all on Protons. I’ve been trying to dial in a perfect shortboard.” And in late December, as he dials up his Protons the night before a heat at the Pipeline Masters, what will drift into his mind after hammering and forging during the 2016 year? What thoughts will he use for motivation? “My win at Margaret River was the proudest moment,” he said. “I need to work on consistency for sure... I’m pumped for the rest of the year, and my next goal is to win the Pipe Masters.” pau
C A LL TO A CT I O N : HOW TO BE A CHAMPION FOR THE OCEAN AT THE VANS TRIPLE CROWN By Kahi Pacarro
With O’ahu’s population generating 1.6 million tons (3,200,000,000 pounds) of debris annually, you’d have to multiply that by 5 to represent how much trash was dumped into our ocean last year. That number is only set to increase this year. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s waste diversion program during the 2015 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing collected 10,000 pounds of debris and diverted 55% towards recycling and compost. To put that into perspective, six weeks of back-breaking work to keep our beaches clean and more importantly to raise awareness about plastic pollution represented by 20 seconds of trash being dumped into the ocean. Our huge effort is simply a drop in the bucket, and work beyond waste diversion needs to be incorporated into the surf industry. It all starts with consumers using less and brands eliminating unnecessary plastic, building quality, and incorporating renewable alternatives into their products. Going on four years of partnership with the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii will once again help to divert waste at contest sites. We will be separating and quantifying the amount of debris diverted by our team. Beyond just being the waste management team, we are actually trying to educate people that “away” could be our ocean and that a large percentage of what we are throwing away is actually valuable. Most importantly, we aim to inspire you to take this practice into your own homes because clean beaches actually start there. The public has dramatically improved from a 29% diversion rate at the 2013 Vans Triple Crown to a 55% diversion rate last year. In 2015 alone, we diverted 5,650 lbs, which would have otherwise gone into the incinerator and landfill. A lot of this simply comes from you putting it in the right bin. 134
This winter, help us reach our goal of a 65% diversion rate. Every time you come to watch the Vans Triple Crown, be sure to consider what you bring to the beach before you get there and adopt a leave no trace mentality. Make sure the area surrounding you is left cleaner than when you arrived. It’s your kuleana. Consider the following: Two out of next three breaths you take originated from the ocean. Our current pace of ocean protection is not happening fast enough. As a society we continue to consume single use plastics, buy bottled water, drive gas guzzling lifted trucks while never take them off-roading, and simply use too much plastic. Behaviors like these are estimated to result in more plastic - by weight - than fish in our oceans by 2030 and currently, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. What we are seeing is just the surface and ironically most of the trash in the ocean has sunken, out of sight out of mind. Quicker change is needed and the surf industry can lead the way. There are brands that understand the necessity to change their corporate culture and product deliveries to sustain company relevance and existence. For example, the continual denial of bottled water sponsors by the World Surf League or Vans with their Protect Our Winters and Positive Vibe Warriors campaigns show that putting the environment before the bottom line can sustain long-term returns and sustainability. A brand marketing their socially responsible actions and holding up their surfers as champions for the ocean can improve sales while also improving brand image and recognition. Sustainability is not a marketing term, but rather a long-term financial requisite. We see tremendous opportunity for a quicker change of pace towards ocean stewardship by inspiring sponsored surfers to utilize their influence on consumers. Their dream jobs allow them to make a living through surfing, but when you really dive down to what they are
getting paid for, it’s to sell product. The millions of Instagram followers give them direct and continual access to the consumers that gobble up almost anything their favorite role model puts out while brands leverage this influence to drive sales. We want to encourage our surfing leaders to use their influence to protect our oceans while also driving sales. A surfer having a passion towards social issues should be seen as an attribute, not a liability, while brands should utilize this passion and even encourage it. If the industry can become environmentally-driven and hoist up the best surfers in the world as champions for the ocean, not of the ocean, we can speed up the change needed to sustain that which we love most: surfing.
It’s also up to us, the readers/consumers to recognize the void in the area of leadership pertaining to the environment and demand it is filled. We can’t only blame the pros and brands because at the other side of the cash register is us. We need to take responsibility for the decisions we make and recognize they are only making what we demand. What we need to be demanding are quality products that can be incorporated into the circular economy. So let’s help our favorite surfers and heroes by demanding quality and more environmentally friendly products. It sure is a lot easier to stand for something you believe in when you’ve got an army of loyal fans standing right behind you, armed with wallets of green. Come and learn more at our Education Station at the North Shore Marketplace during the Vans Triple Crown. It will be open daily to all ages and feature movie nights every Saturday during the holding period. Also please be sure to continue using our waste diversion systems during the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Let them be a catalyst to take the next step towards sustainable surfing. At the end of the 2016 Vans Triple Crown, who will be the Champion For the Ocean? It might be you. Kahi Pacarro is the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.
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In October, TetonGravity released the much anticipated trailer for ANDY: The Untold Story of Andy Irons. The Andy Irons Story is a documentary film that focuses on the untold story, with the intent of the film to show the unfiltered life of Andy Irons, one that was filled with energy, passion, success, and challenges. Steve and Todd Jones, the filmmakers, aimed to create a film that captured the true essence of Andy Irons: his family, his friends, and those who later realized a friendship that at times was hard to understand. “The time to tell Andy’s story is now, not because we want to glorify his life or accomplishments but because Andy wanted to share the truth of his struggles to educate future generations,” said Bruce Irons. “This project is the hardest thing I have ever done. We wanted to shine an honest light on the truth, both the struggles and the triumphs, and tell an accurate story of who Andy truly was.” “Andy was looking me in the eye, talking to me like I was his best friend. So loving and happy, just beaming with life he had never known,” said Kelly Slater. “He came up to me and he goes, ‘Hey can we talk?’ He said to me, ‘Look, you know I have had this crazy thing.’ He goes, ‘I want to make a movie with you.’ He's like, ‘What do you think about doing a movie? I want to tell my story.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ He goes, ‘Even if I just change one kid's life. Even if I can just change one kid's life, I'll feel like I'm a success in my life.’ He goes, ‘I really wanna do this with you.’ And I said, ‘Man you got my word, I'll do anything you want. I'll do whatever.’ He's like, ‘I've never 138
AN D Y: T H E UNT O L D STORY OF A N DY IRONS
felt like this in my life.’ He goes, ‘I didn't know I could feel like this. Had never knew life could feel the way I feel right now... I can't believe I'm alive.’” The film features interviews with his wife Lyndie Irons, Joel Parkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, and more. Andy’s friends, family, and competitors share their stories of intimacy and fire with Andy Irons throughout the film. The testimonials reveal the real side of Andy. This film focuses on the person that lived life to its fullest at the top of his industry, doing so while facing insurmountable internal challenges. This story is about everything that made Andy Irons the man he was. “With a story as emotionally charged and layered as this, it is extremely important to us that we get the film right and that every level of the film is detailed and polished,” said the film’s Kickstarter page. “This project has been a true labor of love for the team here at TGR, it’s a project that has been independently funded without any corporate involvement and influence. We have traveled across the world to capture Andy's story, finding any piece of relevant footage through a sea of tapes and images.” Expect the film to drop sometime early next year, and visit TetonGravity.com for more information.
Morissette / Rip Curl
so I was kind of born in the water. I don’t actually remember my first wave…all my waves blur together since it’s always been a part of me. I just remember that I was just so addicted and I knew I wanted to be a surfer. I know I stood up when I was 3. When did you first start competing in events? I moved to Hawaii when I was 8-years-old, so I think I started when I was around 9 or 10. I got a lot of inspiration from my Uncle Greg Nakamura. He showed me all his trophies and I was like, ‘Oh my, I want to get trophies!’ That was actually my mentality about that. What has been your most memorable competition this year? All them were so special and unique…and I learned so much from all of them. Gosh, this is super hard! Probably the Bells competition since that was the most amazing experience. It was really good to be with Rip Curl and all those great surfers and the amazing break known as Bells. Being against Sally Fitzgibbons and Carissa Moore was incredible. I’ll never forget it. Who do you count among your toughest competitors? I think the next generation is really inspiring and I really look up to them all. I think when I go into a heat with anybody I’m going to surf my best and not really think about who I’m competing against. What’s your pre-heat pump-up music? ACDC, The Beatles, things like that. Hell’s Bells was played every morning at Bells Beach and it was so great, it pumped me up a bunch!
S HE R IPS / B R IS A HEN N E S S Y By Kyveli Diener
Brisa Hennessy’s 16th year was more than sweet. She dominated in junior events worldwide, winning the Sunset Junior Pro in January and a gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, while also battling in Qualifying Series events. The Kailua native even competed in her first Championship Tour stop at Bells Beach. Brisa is looking ahead with a sunny attitude, a clear and open mind, and grateful determination as she continues her climb to CT qualification one day. We caught up with one of the island’s most exciting up and comers as she prepared for yet another junior contest on the 7-mile-miracle. What’s your first memory of surfing? I grew up off the grid in Costa Rica where my Mom and Dad were both surf instructors,
Can you give us your laundry list of sponsors? Rip Curl, Makani Shapes, T&C Surf Shop, Prolite, Smith Optics, Vertra, Futures, and others. I ride Makani Shapes T&C 5’6 H-mod. What inspires you the most? I think the most inspiring thing is when a person doesn’t only surf incredibly in the water, but they’re also an amazing person. That’s what I want to be when I grow up. I think Carissa is a really good example of that. When I see people like that I go, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to be.’ What are your favorite surf spots on and off Oahu?
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My favorite spots on Oahu would probably be Bowls, Kaiser’s, V-land, Sunset. And off Oahu: Lowers, Lakey Peak in Indonesia, and Bingin in Bali. Also swimming pools and Wilkes in Fiji. What is your favorite non-surfing thing to do? I love to cook any kind of food. My mom was a chef…I love eating, I consider that one of my hobbies. I think when I’m in the kitchen it’s my outlet. I pretty much cook like every meal for my parents for fun, just totally out of enjoyment. I think maybe after I have a surfing career I’d like to go to culinary school. What’s the biggest wave you’ve ever paddled into? I was 12 or 13 and I was at Sunset Beach with Kahea Hart. It was a pretty big day, I remember we were surfing West Bowl and there were some pretty big sets coming and Kahea said, ‘You need to go on this one, because the next one’s bigger.’ So I went…It was maybe 8 to 10 foot Hawaiian, or 7 to 8, but for how little I was I just remember going down the wave and it taking forever. I made the drop and paddled back out and everyone was like, “Thank goodness you weren’t on that next wave, we got so worked!’ Last words for the Freesurf audience? Enjoy each moment, because we’re so lucky to be surfers.
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G R OM R EP O R T / KA I NE H E H UN T By John Ellis
A 6'4" grom tucked deep in an Off the Wall barrel is anything but the "gentle sea" of which his name implies. Kainehe Hunt is a 14-year-old regular footer that is humble by nature, with a personality that trumps his wave-hacking stature. As a toddler, he was given inspiration by his father, Kelley Hunt, who took 3-yearold Kainehe to Shipwreck's on Kauai. Unknowingly, Kainehe's dad was establishing the first taste of a life-long sanctuary as they slid down a head-high wave. Kelley continued to make an impression on the young grom as they took surf trips to Indonesia and neighboring islands. It gave young Kainehe motivation and drive, and he’s quick to affirm his father's teaching of fundamentals but at the same time, he acknowledges everyone who has influenced him. “Everyone says their dad, which is true, but the surfing community as a whole has given me so much advice, they've been a big influence,” he says. As he grew in height in age, Kainehe also developed a respect for surfing by the 144
poundings he received from the ocean, along with friendships gained in the lineups across Kauai. He began to compete at 8-years-old locally, loving the rivalries against his friends. Kainehe had the ability to out paddle his friends for waves, because of long arms. That’s how he got the nickname “long”: by having such a wide wing-span. Kainehe may be humble, but his competitive drive definitely isn't lacking. Today, his sponsors include Volcom, Superbrand surfboards and Matunas surf wax. His motto, “you'll be on the beach”, refers to his eagerness to win over everything. He's compelled to push his surfing to the limits, trying to replicate the strength of Andy Irons, who he's always looked up to. How would you define your style of surfing, Kainehe? I'm a power surfer, I guess. When I was little I could paddle for more waves, because I had longer arms. Now, I'm bigger, my size is really good for bigger waves, like Sunset or Pipe. It really helps me out with being confident in
those conditions. The airs came later for me. I was trying to rip on waves twice my size; it looks good in competition, but it's hard to find a wave that looks bigger than me. It was difficult getting use to my size all over again...I've had to rework everything because of my size.
Did you take any trips over the summer? Yea, Indonesia. It was super fun. The traveling was gnarly with an 18-month-old little brother, but my whole family went and some friends from Kauai. Each wave was like a 5 or 10 minute boat ride, so not too bad. I liked Rifles a lot. It's usually pretty fickle but we caught it at a good time. It was so fun!
What’s your favorite wave? Usually your favorite wave is the one where you learn most of your stuff. I don't really have a favorite wave, maybe I would say PK's here on Kauai. Every wave in general is fun to me. It's about making it fun for yourself.
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Tai Van Dyke
GROM REPORT: KAINEHE HUNT
What about wipeouts during last year’s El Nino winter? Have any crazy ones? I would say the scariest day this past winter was a second-reef break right on my head at Pipe. I went straight down to the bottom, and got pinned. I rolled around for a bit, came up, and paddled as hard as I could to get under the next one. My long twig arms help me, I guess. What’s it like staying at the Volcom House during the winter? I just try to show respect, so they know I'm not some spoiled brat from home that just wants to surf and not do my part. I’ve got a lot of stories from staying there. First time being in the house, I went to sleep and was supposed to be up at 6 in the morning, but didn't wake up until 7. I went out to the porch and sat on the couch. Some guy was just staring at me and not talking. I'm like uh-oh. Did I do something wrong? Kaimana Henry looks at me and says, 'Are you long?' I was so scared, because I thought I did something wrong. He literally turned out to be the nicest
guy ever. Scariest moment of my life.
myself. I'm not trying to be someone I'm not.
Didn’t Tai VanDyke give you a haircut to remember last year at the Volcom House?
What do you feel is the biggest takeaway from surfing?
Yeah, it may happen again. Tai was giving this other guy a haircut that was supposed to look like Mikey Wright's mullet, but it looked more like a rat's nest. Then Tai turned to me and said, 'Long you want a mullet?' I'm like, umm, I guess, sure. My hair was super long at that time. I told him to give me a mohawk. I didn't realize right away, but he left my hair long in the back. So, I had a mohawk-mullet. I ran with it for a bit, but every girl I knew started to tell me to get rid of it.
I love being in the ocean. Any problems I have, whether injuries or family stuff, I jump in the water. It releases all the stress. You know, you catch that one wave, and you're like ahhh that was worth all the drama. You come in a happier person every time.
How do you balance school and surfing? I do home school. You don't go to class but you still have the same amount of work. The kids go to high school here and sometimes get sucked up into bad things. That's why I never wanted to go to high school. I don't want to go to school and feel I have to dress a certain way, or be concerned about those things. I want to be unique. I want to be
Any advice for future groms? Be yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not, don't get sucked up in that scene. Work hard, because when you do it gives you that drive toward what you like doing. Work hard and make money to get into contests. I've done roofing and whatever else to help with surfing. Do anything that will help, it will build strength for your surfing. Just try and surf your brains out until you don't want to anymore, but keep going. Be confident and be stoked.
ON LY A S U R F E R CA N C A R VE THE F E E L I NG By Tiffany Foyle
Imagine paddling out in the early afternoon at solid Pipeline, and you are in the channel about to get out to the peak. A good one comes in, but the pack of surfers misreads it and the wave goes under everybody, loading up on the reef and pitching out towards the beach. The backlit lip throws out before it hits the trough, and those in the right spot can see through the barrel to the land as it folds over. That is the power that captures the feeling that the North Shore energy is all about. And that is what you will see on Vans Triple Crown paraphernalia this winter. The Triple Crown piece is collage on mirror. Artist Patrick Parker prints out on photo paper textures and colors from previous artworks that he has done, cuts them into specific shapes, and glues them layer by layer on the mirror. After the whole mirror is covered, he uses an X-Acto knife to cut and expose key areas of the collage to act as a light source or create movement. In essence, he carves out an image from layers of collage on a mirror. Perhaps the written word doesn’t do the process justice. You can go to Wyland Gallery in Haleiwa this winter and see the original collage made for the Triple Crown in person. “In addition to the collage medium, I love painting acrylics on reclaimed wood and more recently have been into wood burning, called pyrography,” explained Patrick. “It’s always fun to try new mediums and incorporate ones that connect with your style.” Patrick Parker moved to the North Shore of Oahu six years ago from the Los Angeles area. Since he was a teenager he knew he wanted to live in Hawaii. He learned to surf when he was 9 during Junior Lifeguards at Torrance Beach, California. Those thick blue foam paddle boards that were easy to catch waves on and the small and closed out beach breaks became his world. “I have always been an outside kid, growing up playing soccer, baseball, and going to the beach. It seemed natural for me to get on a board and get out in the water,” he recalled. “Once you are out there in that environment it is so addicting to experience that kind of nature. The power of the waves and currents, the sea life, the sunrises or sets, the colors, it’s all so energizing.” It became the inspiration for his art. Patrick attended Loyola Marymount University in West Los Angeles where he majored in Fine Art and Graphic Design, while also playing for the Men’s Division I Soccer team. After a stint as an art director at a boutique advertising agency in Santa Monica and some traveling, the 34-year-old is now a full-time artist.
SURF ART / PATRICK PARKER
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“It requires way more work than any other job I’ve had in the past,” he admitted. “Always creating, and when not creating, then promoting, and when not promoting then shipping, or packaging, or picking up supplies, or researching. It keeps you on your toes and makes every day unique and interesting.” While his art is ocean-inspired, Patrick is just as moved by the human talent when the waves are firing. He makes it a point to watch the winter events on the North Shore to see some of the best local and international talent show off their skills. “I have played sports my whole life and to see the level of commitment and skill these surfers display inspires me to push my art to new levels,” he said. “Just like a surfer wouldn’t want to surf the exact same wave every day for the rest of their life, an artist doesn’t want to paint the same thing every day.” Patrick has been involved in art shows in Las Vegas, Hawaii, New York, San Diego, Long Beach, and Newport Beach. He has been fortunate enough to have his work reproduced on skateboards by GLOBE International, and in publications such as LongBoard Magazine and MorSurf. He is also featured in a book released in late 2009 called Surf Story Project. He dabbles in the freelance design world where he creates everything from CD covers to wine labels to magazine and advertising layouts. “To be the featured artist for the Triple Crown has always been an art goal of mine and to achieve that is really gratifying and motivating,” Patrick said Senior Manager of Global Surf Marketing Scott Sisamis had a hand in picking Patrick as the featured creator for this year’s Triple Crown: “When considering an artist for Vans Triple Crown we always look for vibrant, dynamic art that best represents the beauty of Hawaii,” Sisamis explained. “Patrick’s work contains a certain energy we felt conveyed this nicely.” To see video of Patrick’s unique creation process or learn more, visit www.patrickparkerart.com
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Have you ever seen Steve Van Doren, Mr. Vans himself work a grill? The man is a master! This much is evident at the Vans BBQ party that takes place early in the winter season, where Vans team riders such as Leila Hurst, Dylan Graves and the Gudauskas brothers eat and drink with a host of industry professionals. If you don’t have an invite in your inbox, hook your arm around someone who has that plus-one golden ticket.
SURFER POLL Notably the biggest night in surfing, the Surfer Poll at Turtle Bay provides a definitive reader-based ranking and awards ceremony on the popularity of pro surfers, waves, wipeouts, aerials and more. Besides looking back on the year that was 2016, the event also gives the surf community the unique chance to see how each competitor cleans up.
VOLCOM HOUSE PARTY “Three, two, one…” The moment the horn sounds for the conclusion of the Pipeline Masters, signifying the conclusion of the 2016 World Surf League Championship Tour race, the party begins at the Volcom House. If you don’t see it, you’ll hear it first: music begins blasting from the hallowed deck and crowds flood into the yard as well as the nearby beach access path. This is where Bruce Irons, Kaiborg, Dave Riddle and company celebrated the wins of the late Andy Irons in the early 2000s. This year, expect sights, sounds and serenades from Volcom’s eclectic group of team riders, and just remember: it all begins when the final horn blows.
NSCLT BENEFIT FOR THE COUNTRY The North Shore Community Land Trust Benefit for the Country is just as the name insinuates: a party to benefit the beloved country that is the North Shore. Every dollar raised during the benefit and the silent auction are funneled back into the pockets of the non-profit organization. While you peruse the auction items, you’ll have the opportunity to talk story with industry bigwigs and hear more about how the community plans to keep the country, well, country.
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KI MO L E ON G By Cash Lambert
The scene surrounding Kimo Leong is a postcard. It’s a warm October morning, and remnants from a North-northwest swell are reaching the West side, giving Maili Point and its picturesque blue water life in 2-3 foot form. Kimo is standing with his arms crossed, watching cameramen in the lineup film longboarders for an upcoming commercial. To his left are other members of his security team, wearing the same black shirt that reads “KANAKA SOLUTIONS, REAL HAWAIIANS DO REAL THINGS” and to his right are mountains that define the beauty of Oahu’s West side, green and brown cathedrals reaching skyward. Kimo may be intimidating, but chances are he’d be front and 154
center of the postcard with a welcoming grin. Immediately upon meeting him, there is warmth, kindness and humor. Or as he calls it, “aloha.” Aloha is Kimo’s mantra. We sat down with the 48-year-old at Maili Point to discuss his roots and what goes on behind the scenes at the Vans Triple Crown, where Kanaka Solutions provides priceless leadership and works in tandem with KT Protection Services: Dave Fuga and Joy Hodel. Take us back to the beginning, Kimo: I was going to college in southern Oregon, and had
the homeless, we feed them breakfast and tell them they have to move down a bit because of the film shoot...stuff nobody really sees, you know. People get to go home, but security doesn’t get to go home. We’re making sure there’s peace and aloha. That’s our main goal.
Seventeen years working as the security team at the VTC is impressive. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned throughout this process? People skills, that’s the number one thing the VTC teaches. You have to know how to talk to a diverse group of cultures. Like I said, we share aloha. That’s the biggest thing... the people skills can solve pretty much everything. How do you control your attention amid all the excitement?
already been doing security there. I came home and did a couple nightclub gigs here. I started working for China Uemura at amateur contests, and China gave me his blessing to go out to the North Shore and start doing some security. Kanaka Solutions’ first gig was at the Eddie Aikau. Glen Moncata came to Makaha and asked for 12 guys to do security at the opening ceremony and the event, and the rest is history. In essence, it’s about making sure everyone’s safe at the contest, and we’ve gained a good reputation. We’ve been working 17 years now and when we go to the North Shore, it’s like family out there. We also do security at the Volcom Pipe Pro. Kaiborg picked us guys out for that, and we take care of the Vans house and it’s our 4th year helping with the Billabong house. At Kanaka Solutions, we’ve been blessed to take care of these people and these companies. We don’t change our family style. When we BBQ, we BBQ big and when we make food, we do it big, that’s how we do it at home on the west side and that’s how we do it on the North Shore. We spread aloha. As Hawaiians, we get to spread aloha. Sometimes we have to teach what it means. But it’s like my shirt says: real Hawaiians do real things. It’s our job as Hawaiians to share aloha and make sure when you visit Hawaii, you enjoy yourself. Take us behind the scenes at the VTC: what are some of the tasks your team does on a daily basis? Sometimes, not even the guys who run the contest see what we do, they might find out a week or two later. We go up to the North Shore early, find out what’s going on and try find solutions before the problems even start. When we have to do security for commercials and other shoots, roll call may be at 6:30 am but we’re down here at 5:30 helping
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One of the most exciting things at VTC is the Brazilians. Their culture is just like Hawaiian culture, they always will back up their guys. The last two years it’s been awesome to see how Brazilians celebrate and they get everyone excited. At Pipeline...it’s a small area with 7 or 8 thousand people. We’ve worked the Eddie and it’s been over 20,000 people in that one little area. When the World Title comes down to Hawaii it’s a great thing, it just makes us work harder and be more alert. Sometimes with everyone pushing it’s easy to lose your cool but that’s when all years of experience with people skills come to play. Nowadays security is about knowing how to turn it on and off. You’ve been front and center for some of the greatest heats in surfing history. What are some of your favorite memories from working the VTC?
The first year of Gabriel Medina winning was the craziest year ever. I stood at that gate when they brought Medina in and I told everyone what we were going to do and how going to do it, you can still see videos of me in crowd of thousands pushing people back and holding people back. I thought I was playing college football again. I have some great memories of taking care of Kelly Slater, too. He’s the only guy I know of during the year that can’t walk around, everyone wants his autograph. They put him on a pedestal but he’s just another human being. I’ve got 2 of Kelly’s jerseys right off his back, didn’t even wash them after his wins at the Volcom Pipe Pro. I told him congrats and he said thank you boss and I said hey either give me your jersey or the trophy, and he gave me the jersey. When he won last year, I didn’t even ask. He took his jersey off, asked for a pen and I
PAU HANA / KIMO LEONG
hugged him and he said thank you boss. I’ve met a lot of good friends through Kanaka Solutions. This year’s VTC will see an international crowd flood into the North Shore to watch an international field of competitors: what are some things we all should avoid to help you guys out in the mayhem?
1, people always park and then they come back and grumble. It’s just like in kindergarten. N-O means no, so don’t park there. Number 2, show respect. Come say hi, say aloha. If you come with respect, you’ll get respect back. And number 3, enjoy yourself but don’t throw rubbish on the ground. Pick up your own trash. My mother doesn’t pick up my rubbish, and I know your mother isn’t going to either.
One, don’t park where the signs say no parking. That’s number
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NOVEMBER 5 Surfrider Foundation HIC Pro Beach Cleanup at Mokuleia Army Beach.
NOVEMBER 12 Hawaiian Pro begins at Ali‘I Beach, Haleiwa, Oahu-Hawaii. First jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The QS10,000 takes place at Ali’i Beach Haleiwa and will run on the four biggest days 8am to 4pm. Surfrider Foundation John Kelly Awards at Waimea Valley. Tickets available for purchase at johnkellyawards.com. Turtle Bay Resort and Night Market present Surf Season Kick Off Party Celebrating Vans Triple Crown.
NOVEMBER 13 Na Kama Kai Ocean Clinic at Ewa Beach Park. Visit nakamakai.org for more details.
NOVEMBER 19 Kellogg’s Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour Miller’s Surf Big Island Challenge. Visit the Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour Facebook page for details.
NOVEMBER 22 Window for Maui Women’s Pro, the final event of the Women’s Championship Tour, begins. The contest will run at the famed Honolua Bay, Maui. The event window concludes on December 3.
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NOVEMBER 24 Vans World Cup begins. Second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The Vans World Cup takes place at Sunset Beach and will run on the four biggest days. 8am-4pm. Event window closes December 6.
NOVEMBER 26 Thanksgiving. No events will run on this day. Enjoy the holiday!
NOVEMBER 28-30 Big Wave Safety Summit at Turtle Bay Resort.
NOVEMBER 30 Books & Spirits speakeasy event at RevoluSun in Honolulu featuring author Kaui Hart Hemmings. Visit the Books & Spirits Facebook page for more information.
DECEMBER 2 Red Bull Film Premiere at Turtle Bay Resort Surf Night at Sunset Beach Elementary School
DECEMBER 3 6th Annual Benefit for the Country at Mokuleia Polo Fields.
DECEMBER 6 46th Annual SURFER Poll Awards at Turtle Bay Resort.
DECEMBER 8 Billabong Pipe Masters begins. The third and final jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and culminating event of the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. The Billabong Pipe Masters will run on the four biggest days and is held at Ehukai Beach Park from 8am to 4pm. Event window closes December 20.
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By Cash Lambert
There’s so much beauty on the North Shore during the winter season: the rustling palm trees, the endless swell peeling left and right, the blues and hues around every corner. But just as good comes with the bad, just as the glory comes with the gore, there is a dark side of the North Shore and that dark side consists of maxed out swells, churning rip currents, and razor sharp reefs protruding from the sea. These dangers, when combined with an influx of international visitors, creates a deadly narrative woven into the tapestry of surfing on the North Shore.
When caught in dangerous shorebreak at places like Keiki Beach, as you said, what should a person do? If you’re in trouble, I recommend letting the waves pound you back to shore. We have this saying: whitewater in, bluewater out. The whitewater is going to push you in, and the blue will pull you out so you want to avoid the bluewater as much as you can. If you’re in a rip current, swim to the right or left and try and get out of it. But remember: white water in, blue water out. If someone from the beach sees a person facedown in the water, what’s the plan of action?
That’s why Oahu has some of the world’s best lifeguards, patrolling the 7-mile-miracle and beyond. During last winter’s El Niño winter If you see someone face down in the water, first get someone to season, these lifeguards saw some of the biggest swells in history, call 911. Second, if you’re capable, swim them back to shore. Third, but were also called in frequently to help in near death situations. do chest compressions until we arrive. Remember, it’s 100-120 compressions per minute, and you want to get 1 and a half to two Talk with any lifeguard, and they’ll say that being educated on life inches deep, letting the chest rise and fall non stop. saving techniques, along with rules to avoid, are imperative during such times. Thus, we sat down with lifeguard Noland Keaulana, For surfers who may see someone in the water unconscious, what a 27-year-old who is “carrying on the tradition and helping save is the best thing to do? lives” like other members of his iconic family. Noland ran us through scenarios and prevention tips pertinent to situations that It can be hard to get a person with dead weight on a surfboard. may happen during this winter season. There’s a maneuver we do where we roll the board upside down, grab the person’s arms and put their hands on the rail of the board. You have to make the board roll underneath the armpit, and once the What are the 3 most common situations that you, as a board is flipped, you straddle the person and paddle them to shore as lifeguard, see during the winter season on the North Shore? fast as possible. That’s what we do, either way the best thing to do is bring them in. Get them in as fast as you can and try your best to keep Making poor choices. For example, at Keiki Beach there may be a their head above water. 15-foot swell, but there’s intervals that make it look flat. Sometimes tourists will go into the water at those times because they don’t have the knowledge to identify the hazards. We get people breaking their necks in the shorebreak or the rip currents taking them out. Another call we get on a regular basis is at Shark’s Cove and Three Tables. People want to be spectators and stand on the rocks, they want to get as close to the big waves as possible for that selfie and they get blasted off the rocks. Third, there’s situations at Pipeline too. We even have professional surfers out there getting injured. People underestimate the power of the wave and can get knocked unconscious. Last year we pulled two guys out, performed CPR and brought them back.
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What about stabilizing on shore? If a surfer brings someone in, should he or she attempt to stabilize? If he’s unconscious, it’s life over limbs. If he’s conscious, there’s a maneuver we do on the shoreline where we come underneath the armpits facing the person’s back, come around the head and stabilize the person’s head and neck. We try and then carry them up the beach. Either way, if you see someone floating in the water, get them in as fast as you can and we will arrive and take spinal precautions.
Should beach patrons do anything during a time like this to help? Or stay out of the way? If we ask, they can help us by supporting the weight, holding up our arms because sometimes we have to carry guys up steep inclines. But we ask politely for them to not help us, because we don’t want them to get hurt in the process of saving someone too.
How much of the accidents are preventable during winter season on the North Shore? It’s preventable if you listen to warnings and read the signs. People see signs and think ‘oh there’s good waves today’ they walk past it. For tourists coming to visit, just check the surf reports, check the dangers. Understand conditions of where you’re going to go, identify hazards and if you can’t get more knowledge ask the lifeguards at the tower what’s dangerous and they’ll tell you. Sometimes amateur surfers become pros in their head, paddling out at Waimea, Sunset and Pipeline. If you have to buy your board from 7-11 or Foodland, you’re not capable of being the water and we highly recommend you don’t go in. If it’s your first time out here on the North Shore, don’t even think about going out. Come during the spring, summer seasons, snorkel and study the reef and know before you even try to go out there. Read the signs and take warnings seriously, it’s no joke out there. You’re putting our lives in dangers too.
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During the winter season, Pipeline acts as the epicenter of the surfing. Looking for the best waves, hoping to snap a selfie with the celebrities of the sport like Kelly Slater, John John Florence or Gabriel Medina or want to be entertained by watching epic barrel rides and painful wipeouts? The houses that line the grass just above the centrifugal force that is Pipeline offer an opportunity rarely seen in any other sport. Each house is rented out by different sponsors - Volcom, RVCA, Quiksilver, Vans and more - and this is where surfing’s top competitors eat, sleep and drink. There are no barricades, there are no walls and there are no high-priced tickets keeping you from entering. But, before you get too excited and barge into one or all of the team houses, there are some unspoken rules. Tai Van Dyke has been instrumental in taking care of the famed Volcom House, and we asked him to translate these unspoken rules.
1 There’s no rules about who can’t come into a team house, but if you don’t know someone inside I’m not sure you should go in. I wouldn’t want to go into a house where I didn’t know anyone.
2 Don’t be cocky, don’t try to be “the guy”. Act right, and let your surfing do the talking for you. 3 If you clog the toilet, you’ll definitely get booted out of a house. If you eat everyone else’s food without pitching in or sharing, you’ll get booted. You can’t be jonesing everything. And if you’re acting weird, you’ll get booted.
4 Help out. Help clean up, clean up after yourself, and do your part. 5 Respect the house and the locals, and that starts with taking your shoes and slippers off at the front door. It’s a tradition in Hawaii, that’s just how we do it.
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I N DU S T RY NO T E S Congratulations to Local Motion Hawaii’s Keanu Asing on winning the 2016 Quiksilver Pro France! “I’m stoked and this is a dream come true,” said Asing after his win in October. “The work’s not done yet but I hope I did something good for John (Florence) maybe and helped him with the title race. I’m super happy and I feel like I’m dreaming right now. I’m stoked to see my other Hawaiian competitor and childhood friend, Carissa (Moore), also win. I’ve never even made a QS (Qualifying Series) final so this is crazy. Having all my friends on the beach is even more ridiculously unbelievable.” Another congratulations goes out to Hurley’s Carissa Moore, a fellow Kewalos regular, who won the Roxy Pro France. “I’m so stoked, it’s been an incredible day, I’m so happy for Tyler Wright and Courtney Conlogue, they’ve had an incredible race until France and it was nice to share the final with Tyler,” Moore stated. “I’m over the moon to see Keanu (Asing) in the final, he’s such a good human, he wears his heart on the sleeves and we’ve been friends since we were little. I actually have to thank him for pushing me to be where I am today. I want to thank my family and everyone at home for staying up countless nights.”
From October 17-26, the first Billabong Bloodlines Girls camp landed on the North Shore. Billabong Bloodlines is a unique camp experience, taking young surfers to premiere waves around the world. The week saw a field of international talent - including Hawaii’s own Luana Silva, recently signed by Billabong - sharpen their repertoire at Off the Wall, Sunset, V-Land, and Town locations including Waikiki and Kewalos. Those who watched from the beach and those who shared the lineup with the girls shared the same sentiment: the future of women’s surfing has never been more exciting.
WSL Hawaii and Mizu are partnering this surf season to sustainably hydrate athletes and staff throughout the Vans Triple Crown, with a signature V6 stainless steel water bottle that protects our coastlines and oceans by reducing waste from single-use plastics. The entire Mizu collection is designed to withstand the rigorous action sports lifestyle while continuing their environmental and humanitarian commitment to Protecting Where We Play. Mahalo Mizu!
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Maui’s young gun Eli Hanneman gained a new sponsor this winter. “I’m so stoked to officially be with RedBull,” he said. So honored to represent the two best companies in the industry. Thanks Redbull and Hurley for all the support.”
A 2-mile run, a 1-mile swim and a 4-mile paddle, from Sunset to Ke Iki Beach, Waimea and Haleiwa: this was the grueling course of the first ever 7-Mile Miracle Challenge, which ran on Sunday, September 25th. In the summer months prior, a handful of lifeguards had discussed conducting a triathlete-type race, one to further prepare them for the daunting winter conditions on the North Shore, so they planned a race that would stretch the entire span of the 7-mile miracle. A group of 32, with 14 being lifeguards, met in the dark, early morning hours on the cool sands of Sunset Beach, and after a meeting and a brief ceremony, the race began, taking anywhere between and hour and a half to two hours. “Lifeguards from around the island chose to have it at 6 am so that lifeguards could get to work on time,” said Paul Smith, who played a part in organizing the event. “This was a test run, so we took down statistics about how long each discipline - run, swim paddle - took, so in the future, we can build on it, maybe even making it a team event.” Results, such as first, second and third place were indeed taken, but because there were no specific regulations (for example, all divisions: surf ski, paddle board, SUP and rescue board all ran at once) more emphasis was placed on finishing. “Finishing was the feat we were after,” said lifeguard Kai Hall. Since this event was the first of its kind, Paul noted that the overarching goal was safety, and everything else came after that. “We had the perfect number of contestants, and we had two jet skis for assistance,” Paul said. “Leading up to it, I was making sure we weren’t racing each other. We were looking out for everyone’s safety, and finishing was winning. A big thanks goes out to Cholos for the burritos, and we even had prizes, painting some fins and other items gold. At the end of the race, everyone left stoked.”
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Itâ€™s been said that winning isnâ€™t everything, but wanting to is. Expect Sebastian Zietz - the 2012 Vans Triple Crown champion - to put this saying into action during freesurfs throughout the winter season at Pipeline and Backdoor. Photo: Daniel Russo